Every so often, I come across stories referring to serious water problems such as chemical contamination in certain areas of the country, which obviously raises concerns. I, however, am fortunate enough to live in an area where clean drinking water is easy to find.
Still, I’m not ignorant of the fact that just because my home water is seemingly safe to drink does not necessarily mean that it is the best quality or supreme for my family’s needs. While it is true that most of the water that we find in our home is usually disinfected, other issues with it may not be immediately apparent. And hard water is one of these issues.
Hard water is something that a lot of people have, but very few realize that it is a problem in the first place. If like me, you have dealt with hard water problems before, then you know how terrible it can be to handle.
Hard water makes your sink and faucets crusty, it makes your dishes appear as though they are never clean, and worse, it can even ruin your hair and skin. When left unchecked, it can slowly cause your plumbing system to degrade until one day everything stops working.
Anyone that has a home knows that plumbing problems can cost you a pretty penny to repair. If you are strapped for cash, it’s the last thing that you should be dealing with. Fortunately, it is possible to keep the quality of water in your home in check but you must be vigilant and proactive about it.
What exactly is hard water?
Water naturally picks up soluble minerals such as calcium and magnesium carbonates as it passes through limestone and chalk deposits that are found underground. Hard water is described as containing excess amounts of these chemicals. The higher the concentration of these minerals, the harder the water tends to be.
Even though hard water might still appear clean and crystal clear, there are several ways to tell when you are dealing with hard water. For instance, hard water typically has a distinctly bad taste that can be hard to get used to. Some other characteristics of hard water include:
A weird taste
Hard water typically has a salty, metallic or dirt like aroma. In some severe instances, it can even smell a little fishy. If you use it to mix your beverages such as tea or coffee, this taste can be transferred making your drinks taste unusual.
Mineral build-up on your faucets and sinks
If you have noticed that a buildup of white layers or scale on your faucets and sinks, then there is a high chance that you are dealing with hard water. As the mineral-rich water passes through the surface of your sink and faucets, the minerals in hard water will leech out and stick to the surfaces, which can make it extremely hard to clean.
Stains on your toilet
Normal water does not leave any stains behind. As such, if you start to observe reddish-brown stains forming in your toilet or sink, then you are dealing with hard water.
Increased soap scum
Soap is supposed to help you make things cleaner. However, when you combine hard water and soap it creates a hot mess. The result is a mess of gray, brown, white or black soap scum everywhere; on your shower curtains, bathtubs, and glass doors.
White spots on your dishes
Do you notice spots on your silverware, dishes or glassware? These white spots are similar to the scum found in the shower. Hard water also makes it practically impossible to form a good lather owing to all the minerals present in the water.
So you have hard water- what’s next?
First things first; I must clear up that hard water does not pose any risk to yours or your family’s health. When I realized that my hard water had become a source of pain, it was evident that something had to be done about it.
According to Kate Huber, chief editor at NJGamblingFun, ‘’hard water can be hard to live with; your appliances and plumbing may be riddled with white limescale and your laundry may be stiff and dull owing to the water. When you start developing rashes and you notice that your hair just doesn’t have the bounce that it used to, then it is time to deal with your hard water problem’’.
If you are dealing with hard water, here is what you can do:
Invest in a water softening system
To try and save money, I tried all manner of DIY things, which only worked for a while. The only thing that ultimately allowed me to deal with the problem head-on is installing a water softening system.
These systems are designed to remove the mineral ions from hard water so that it can be safer to use. For the best results, hire a professional that can install it on your main water line to avoid costly mistakes.
Get hard water shampoo
If you use hard water frequently, the minerals can pile up on your hair leaving it flat, dry, dull and brittle. If you have lighter hair, it may even start to discolor as a result. One way to prevent this from happening is by using hard water shampoo.
Hard water, clarifying or chelating shampoo works by breaking down the residue found in hard water so that you can clean the residue off with ease. When buying your hard water shampoo, look for a variety that contains the right ingredients such as apple cider vinegar, which naturally strips any build-up from your hair strands.
Use vinegar for your stains
To get rid of the crusty white gunk on your faucets, sink, bathtub, and toilet, simply use vinegar. Wrap a towel or rug that has been soaked in vinegar and allow it to soak for an hour before proceeding to wipe the affected surface with water. You can also spray the surfaces of your sink and tubs with lemon juice.
If you are dealing with colored stains, the brown, green or black variety, you can also create a mixture of cream of tartar and water. You can also use borax or hydrogen peroxide depending on how bad the buildup is.
Safe drinking water is something that a lot of us take for granted. You never really give a lot of thought to the water that you are drinking; it’s one of those things that are just readily available at home. However, when your water is affected by hard minerals such as calcium and magnesium, it can make life harder than it should be. In which case, something must be done to remedy the situation before the problem escalates.