Hard Water – What is it and What Problems Does it Cause?

Have you been noticing that your soap isn’t lathering very well? Are there unsightly white deposits on your faucets and showerhead? If you answered “yes” to either question, then you most likely have hard water. But, what does that entail, exactly? Let’s talk about what hard water is, and what kinds of problems it can cause. Then, once we finish that, we’ll talk about what you can do about it.

What is Hard Water?

Hard water is water contaminated with minerals. The two most common mineral culprits in hard water supplies are calcium and magnesium. Hard water is primarily a result of water that has permeated through limestone, gypsum, or chalk deposits. There are two types of water hardness. They are:

  • Temporary Hardness
    Temporary hardness refers to water that contaminated with dissolved bicarbonate minerals. The two most common ones are calcium bicarbonate and magnesium bicarbonate. However, unlike permanent hardness, water considered temporarily hard can be ‘softened’ by boiling. The heat releases the bicarbonate solids and leaves behind nothing but pure water.
  • Permanent Hardness
    Permanently hard water is contaminated with calcium sulfate/chloride or magnesium sulfate/chloride. Sulfates and chlorides do not precipitate out with temperature increases. So, boiling this type of hard water will not improve the situation. Instead, you can filter permanent hardness by using a water softener (ion exchange) machine.

What Problems Does Hard Water Cause?

Hard water is the culprit behind many home issues. Some of the more common problems caused by hard water include:

  • Difficulty lathering soap
  • A dingy and slimy feeling to your water
  • Foul tasting water
  • Hard water deposits and stains on plumbing appliances
  • Clogged pipes, leaks, and water damage
  • Damage your washing machine and dishwasher

How Do You Get Rid of It?

If you’re facing issues with temporary hardness in your water, then the solution is as simple as boiling your water before use. You can accomplish this by using a boiler instead of a traditional water heater, and you can always boil water before doing the dishes. However, this won’t solve issues with permanent hardness.

If you have permanent hardness issues with your water, then you’ll need a water softener. End of story. While hard water may have some health benefits (debatable), it can wreak utter havoc on your plumbing system and appliances.

So, if you have permanent hardness, then contact Scott English Plumbing, Inc. We provide professional water softener installation, repair, and replacement services!