Water hardness is used to describe high levels of dissolved minerals. In most instances, these include magnesium and calcium; however, other minerals may be present, as well. When water is hard within a home (or, even a commercial or industrial structure), the soaps that are used react with the high levels of calcium and creates what we all know as “soap scum”. As a result, larger amounts of soap are required in order to ensure complete cleanliness, be it laundry, your body, the dishes, or your hands or hair. If you are here, it is likely that you have noticed something unusual about your water in your home.

faucet with hard water

What are the Differences Between Hard Water and Soft Water?

Water is considered to be “hard” if it contains large levels of magnesium and calcium. If water is considered to be “soft” it means that it contains high levels of sodium, or of salt. Usually, you cannot just look at the water to determine if it is hard or soft. There are signs, though, that indicate the differences between hard water and soft water.

Washing with Soap

Do I Have Hard Water?

If you are reading this, it is obvious that you are seeking the answer to the question of, “How can I tell if I have hard water?”. We have just that. It is nearly impossible to look at water to determine whether or not it is hard; however, there are some signs that indicate that you are dealing with hard water. When wondering, “Do I have hard water?’, consider the following signs:

  1. You’ve noticed a white-colored scaling around your faucets.
  2. You constantly struggle with soap scum in the bathtub, shower and sinks.
  3. When you wash whites they come out discolored.
  4. Your dishes (particularly, glasses) look as if they have spots or residue.
  5. When washing your hair, hands, or body, it feels as if soap residue is left behind.
  6. You feel like you just aren’t getting clean enough so you use more soap.
  7. It seems as if your clothes do not last very long.
  8. When you run the water in your home, it seems there is enough pressure.

If this sounds like your home, it is quite likely that you have an issue with hard water. In terms of faucets, the minerals that accumulate in hard water will discharged when water is used in the home and may result in scaling and the development of soap scum. Additionally, when the excess minerals accumulate in the pipes, it builds up on the inside of the pipes and results in less water flow.

Because of the interaction of built-up calcium and soaps, you will find that more is needed to clean yourself and your laundry. Also, the minerals are known to stain clothing and make whites very dingy. When washing dishes, the spots and film that may be present afterwards is residue left behind by the minerals. Also, the minerals that are dispersed in the washing cycle while doing laundry will wear out faster because of the hardness of your water. If you have asked yourself, “What are the signs that I have hard water?”, the previously outlined answers that question in completion.

drinking water

Can You Drink Hard Water?

Generally speaking, drinking hard water is acceptable and is usually considered to be safe. In fact, many believe that it may benefit the health by providing the nutritional needs of incorporating essential minerals into the diet. Case studies have even indicated that hard water may lower one’s risk for dying from a cardiovascular-based disease; however, there seem to be many more benefits associated with the consumption of soft water.

Is Well Water Hard Water?

Well water is not always considered to be hard; however, it does have a higher risk of being hard because of the fact that the water is pulled from the ground instead of treated reservoirs that contain higher levels of salt. When you have a well, the water that comes from it will actually take on the general characteristics of the soil that surrounds it. In most instances, there are excess minerals found in the soil. As a result, the water coming from that well will include excess minerals.

Showerhead

How to Remove Hard Water

If you have stumbled upon this page because you were looking for the answer to the question, “How can I tell if I have hard water?”, and you are still reading, it is likely that you have established that fact that you do – in fact -have an issue with hard water. Now, it is time to determine how to remove hard water. There are many steps that may be taken for basic stains and build-up. These include using vinegar to remove stains, washing clothes in cold water, using a rinsing aid product, and purchasing special appliance cleaners that advertise the removal of hard water stains.

The truth of the matter is, though, there is a more effective solution. First, you will want to have a plumber do a complete flush of your piping system in order to remove all minerals that have built up. Then, you will need to have a water softener installed. These are designed to trap the excess minerals and provide clean, soft water inside of the home. Finally, reduce the temperature on your hot water heater. When minerals are heated, they harden and create scale. Not only will this negatively impact the lifespan of your hot water appliance, but it will result in larger levels of scale making it inside your home. If you would like assistance with hard water elimination, contact us here at Reynolds Plumbing today by calling: 765-966-0994