We know hydration is important, but you might be wondering about the water coming from your tap. Due to the journey water takes - from its source all the way to a treatment facility and then to your home - water may be "hard" or "soft." This is determined based on the mineral content in your water, including the types and concentration of minerals. Here's what you should know about hard water.
What Is Hard Water?
Hard water pertains to the concentration of calcium and magnesium present. Higher levels results in hard water. Soft water, meanwhile, has a lower concentration of these minerals and a greater percentage of salt.
What Does Hard Water Mean?
Hard water is found in homes and communities across the United States. Generally, most people living with hard water are unaware of it, until they find they can't efficiently wash dishes or clothing, or their skin is consistently dry.
Understanding hard water starts with its trip to your tap. Beginning from the source, water collects and holds onto various minerals with which it comes in contact - including from pipes and wells. Although treatment helps remove these particles, some remain. Meanwhile, passing through your community's infrastructure can introduce additional minerals and impurities. This aspect increases based on the age of your region's pipes and sewer system.
Hard vs. Soft Water
Softening, on the other hand, decreases the concentrations of these minerals. Water softeners do this through exposure to sodium. However, this pattern then increases the content of sodium present in the water.
For differentiation, the water hardness scale defines these types as:
- Soft: Consisting of 0 to 60 mg/L of calcium carbonate
- Moderately hard: 61 to 120 mg/L of calcium carbonate
- Hard: 121 to 180 mg/L of calcium carbonate
- Very hard: Above 180 mg/L of calcium carbonate
Hard Water Concerns in Your Home
When it comes to living your life, water hardness tends to be more of an inconvenience than anything else. It can affect or contribute to:
- How soap dissolves: You'll notice a film after washing your hands - this is a result of the reaction between the water's calcium content and the soap. This same process can cause dish soap and detergent to clump up and lose efficiency as you're washing dishes or clothing. However, as you take a bath or shower, this reaction can leave bacteria on the skin and alter pH level, decreasing its acidity.
- Mineral stains: You'll see white spots on your dishes or clothing due to deposits of calcium carbonate. You'll also notice this combination around the shower head and sink taps.
- Water pressure changes: Mineral deposits, however, aren't always an aesthetic issue. They can build up in the pipes leading to and traveling through your home, affecting water pressure in turn. Water that passes through these pipes picks up more minerals in the process.
- Decreased efficiency and wasted water: Due to these factors, you may find yourself washing dishes and clothing for longer, and appliances may break down sooner or require more frequent repairs. You may also notice that clothing doesn't last as long or loses color fairly quickly.
Although hard water won't make you sick, it can have the following effects on your body:
- Your skin and scalp may become dry and itchy, as a film of minerals decreases the amount of moisture your skin receives and makes its pH less acidic.
- Shampoo and soap may not wash out as easily, leaving bacteria and debris behind in the process.
- Skin's dryness and decreased ability to produce natural oils could worsen existing skin conditions like dermatitis and eczema.
- Changes in pH balance may weaken the skin's barrier mechanism, in turn increasing your risk for infections.
Addressing Water Hardness
While you can apply more moisturizer in the meantime, it is advisable for you install a water softener into your home.
The RO Water Filtration System, which uses advanced reverse osmosis technology to remove 98% of all chemicals and contaminants, requires fewer filter changes and is supported by a five-year warranty.