Did you know that 85% of US homes deal with hard water problems?
Hard water is the term for water that contains high concentrations of the minerals calcium and magnesium. The Water Quality Association defines it as water with 7 to 10.5 grains of calcium carbonate per gallon.
Luckily, hard water is usually safe to drink. Yet, it can lead to ramifications that are hazardous for your wallet and even your long-term health.
White buildup around your faucets is often the first sign of a serious hard water issue but, sometimes, you may not notice until it's too late. You need to catch the problem early to avoid disaster.
What kind of disasters are we talking about? We're here to tell you all about the problems hard water can cause you and your home—so you better keep reading.
1. Damaged or Leaky Pipes
Over time, calcium and magnesium buildup creates scale deposits. Scale deposits are one of the leading causes of clogged pipes on their own. But even small mineral deposits can restrict water flow through pipes.
When water flow gets restricted, pressure increases. This pressure in your pipes is a surefire way to spring a leak.
Even if hard water doesn't lead to leaky pipes, it may cause other complications. For example, mineral buildup can cause corrosion. Corroded pipes can leak toxic chemicals into your water supply, which can harm your health or lead to even bigger blockages.
2. Dry Skin and Greasy Hair
Do you feel like you never get clean enough in the shower? This could be a symptom of bathing with hard water. Hard water makes it harder to wash away the soap. Soap, when left on the surface of skin or hair, can lead to dryness.
At the same time, hard water could be depositing minerals into your hair. Mineral buildup can make hair feel greasy and in need of more frequent washing. Then, the increase in hair washing may lead to dry and brittle strands.
3. HVAC System Issues
Hard water is your HVAC system's worst enemy. According to some studies, hard water can decrease gas and electric water heater efficiency by more than 29% and 21%, respectively.
When hard water travels through your water heater it leaves behind mineral gunk that can build up on the heating element. The clogged heating element then has to work harder to function normally, leading to higher energy bills and expensive repairs.
Even your HVAC system's humidifier isn't safe from calcium blockage. The buildup within a whole-house humidifier can become airborne. When this happens, you may notice white dust in the air and on your furniture.
It's also worth noting that hard water can cause a buildup of mold and harmful bacteria inside whole-house humidifiers. This can lead to unsafe breathing conditions for you and your family.
4. Unclean or Faded Clothing
If your clothes constantly come out of the wash faded or, worse, feeling unclean, you may be dealing with hard water. Detergents and minerals don't mix well, leading to common laundry complaints like:
- Graying or yellowing white linens
- Stiff towels
- White or gray streaks on colored linens
These effects are common when you have hard water because of the way soap works. Detergents surround and break down dirt particles so that water can easily wash those particles away.
Yet, when detergents and minerals mix, the soap bonds with the minerals instead. These new particles are much harder to wash away and leave a sticky, chalky residue behind on your clothes. Yuck!
Considering that clothing washed in hard water wears out 15% faster, you could be saving a lot of money by using a water softener.
5. Higher Energy Bills
As calcium builds up, it can reduce the efficiency of your household appliances. Calcium deposits on sprayers and drains can slow down your dishwasher. Hard water can even lead to lower water flow in appliances like coffee makers and washing machines.
Your appliances will have to work extra hard to function efficiently. The harder your appliances have to work, the more energy they'll need. And that's bad news for your energy bill.
Hard water may also take a toll on your appliances themselves. Calcium build-up can cause damage to your appliances and reduce their lifespan. Even worse, if minerals break off into your water supply, they can leave behind a foul taste.
6. Spotty Dishware
Calcium deposits on your sink and kitchen hardware aren't the only hard water problems to worry about. Hard water can also leave behind mineral buildup on your dishes and glassware.
The most obvious sign of mineral deposits on your dishware are little white spots. These spots may feel chalky and wipe away easily with a clean dish rag. While mineral spots won't hurt your health, they can hurt your wallet if you constantly have to wash and re-wash to get your dishes clean.
7. Higher Water Bills
Higher energy bills are only the tip of the ice burg when it comes to hard water damage. As calcium builds up, the flow of water gets restricted.
We've already mentioned that this can lead to problems like leaky pipes. Clogged plumbing can also send your water bills through the roof. Your plumbing system will have to work twice as hard to deliver the same amount of water to your home.
How to Fix Your Hard Water Problem
Hard water can cause a whole host of problems for your home, your hygiene, and even your health. Luckily, products like water softeners can easily and efficiently reduce the hardness of your water supply.
Is hard water wreaking havoc on your home? Mr. Rooter plumbing of Austin, Texas specializes in all things plumbing, from drain cleaning to water heater repairs and replacements. Whether your in Austin, Pflugerville, Georgetown or any surrounding area, Request a job estimate from us today to find out how we can help you!