Hard water is water that has a high level of dissolved minerals in it. Minerals found in hard water are usually magnesium and calcium with a few traces of iron and manganese. These minerals present in the water can cause hard water stains and mineral deposits. The stains, lime scale, and deposits can be seen once the water evaporates. Hard water can also clog drains, leave stains on glass and tiled floors or kitchen tiles, leave a grainy residue on hair, completely ruin your water tank and filtration system, create bacterial growth in drinking water pipes, and prevent soap from foaming.
There is less health risk associated with hard water but is found to be highly inconvenient to normal living conditions. Usually, local water treatment companies will have Reverse Osmosis (RO) treatment, water softening processes, or scale-less (no-scale) treatments already installed. These water treatment processes significantly reduce scaling and purify water considerably, but there might still be a buildup of minerals in the water. If you live in New England, there are chances that you will have a supply of hard water.
Effects of Hard Water
There are no damaging effects from hard water on your health and overall condition. It is usually only a nuisance during cleaning the stains and mineral deposits that clog your pipes and drains. Hard water is actually healthy since the minerals present in hard water are the ones recommended for consumption. These recommended minerals actually help prevent diseases and increase the immune system of the body. The only notable effect seen is in dry and dull hair and increased sensitivity of the skin.
While these minerals are helpful for your body, there have devastating effects on electrical appliances, glassware, silver, sinks, and so on in your home. They can also cause rusting of pipes, clogging, and reduce the effectiveness of cleansing agents. Heaters and electrical systems start consuming more energy due to the increase in load, and will eventually reflect on higher electricity bills and maintenance cost. It is better to treat the hard water and rid yourself of the additional burdens that hard water causes.
There are several ways to deal with hard water in your home. Let us look at some of them.
Salt water softener:
A saltwater softener efficiently takes out the excess calcium and magnesium from the water. When hard water enters the salt water softener, it goes through resin beads that attract positively charged ions of magnesium and calcium (hard ions). The softener then adds soft ions of sodium that convert your hard water supply to one of soft water. This process of water softening is done with the help of salts.
These salts have to be cleaned and replenished once the resin beads are full of hardened minerals. This process of cleansing the water and converting it to soft water helps eliminate undesirable minerals and salts from hard water. Invest in a good quality salt water softener for home use and enjoy the benefits with none of the disadvantages of hard water.
As the name suggests, salt-free softeners work similar to saltwater softeners but use potassium chloride instead of salt. Salt-free softeners also differ from saltwater softeners in their functionality. They prevent minerals from creating excess buildup inside tanks, pipes, and drains but do not reduce the mineral content in the water. The absence of buildup and limescale helps in keeping pipes clean and requires less maintenance than saltwater softeners in the long term.
This method is usually not as effective as the saltwater softening method but is an excellent choice for people who prefer low sodium intake. The potassium, however, could be a cause for concern for people with high blood pressure and other health concerns. Always conduct thorough research of softeners and filtrations systems for your home before investing in one.
Reverse Osmosis (RO) purifier:
For clean drinking water, install an RO water purifier system in your house. A Reverse Osmosis water system can be easily installed above or below your kitchen sink with its own water dispenser or one that connects to the drinking water dispenser already present. The RO water filter purifies the water further by removing any additional chemicals present in the treated water. It then converts the treated water to into super clean drinking water that is entirely safe for consumption.
Many companies worldwide use RO systems to manufacture clean drinking water for large masses. With a few minor changes in plumbing, you can convert your hard water to good quality healthy and pure drinking water.