Sadly, official statistics show that around 85% of US homes are now supplied with hard water. When your water travels to your home, it can pick up minerals from the rock and soil that it passes through. Water is an effective solvent, and it can dissolve many materials including water hardening minerals, such as calcium, magnesium, and iron. When the water is used in your home the water evaporates away eventually, and this mineral content is left behind. When you know what to look for it quickly becomes apparent that you have a hard water problem. This can affect many aspects of your daily life and even cost you a significant amount of money.
The Signs of Hard Water
If you take a look at your faucets, you may notice a white crusty buildup of scale around the faucet mouth. This material may also be found on shower heads, in the toilet, on shower walls and insider your water using appliances, such as dishwashers, washing machines, and your water heater. You may notice that your appliances don’t seem to clean as well as they used to and this is caused by hard water. When you try to create a soap or detergent lather using hard water, the effectiveness is diminished, and soap scum is created. Many people attempt to compensate for this by adding more soap, but this doesn’t work, and it actually creates even more soap scum.
The Hidden Costs of Hard Water
Using hard water is expensive, but you may not notice how much at first unless your paying close attention to your monthly bills. The water hardening minerals carried in your water supply gradually accumulate over time and eventually scale will develop in your pipes. This will narrow the aperture, and the flow of water will be diminished. This will affect the efficiency of your water using appliances, these machines will need to run for longer, and this will use more energy. Here are some interesting numbers to back up these claims:
- Energy Use: It estimated that approximately 29% more energy is needed to heat your water if you’re using hard water.
- Appliances: When you use hard water the lifespan of your water using appliances can be decreased by 30-50%.
- Water Costs: Over an average decade your water bills could be $1,500 higher if hard water is used.
- Soap Costs: The average annual cost for soap, detergent, and lotions is $1.039 using hard water, and this could be reduced by 75-80% if a water softener is installed.
Hard Water and Hygiene
When you use hard water for showering, bathing and washing your hair, it can have a detrimental effect on your hygiene. The water hardening minerals cannot be rinsed away with more hard water, and the mineral content dries on your skin. This creates a thin film of mineral content that clogs your skin pores and tangles in your hair. This can cause acne, exacerbate skin conditions and leave hair feeling dull and lifeless.