What is Hard Water?
Hard water is water that has a level of calcium and magnesium mineral in the water. And what makes it hard is that those minerals don’t like to be in solution. They want to come out of that solution and become hard minerals attached to things,and it could become a scale. It can also bond with soaps and detergents and create scum. So hard water is a problem. If you have it,you know you got it. Hard water is a result of the natural process or the hydrologic cycle of water evaporating from our oceans,turning into clouds,and then precipitating back to the earth. The water that kind of percolates down through the soil and the rock into our underground aquifers,since water is such an excellent solvent,it’s going to erode that rock on the way to the aquifer.
Calcium and magnesium specifically are troublesome,because they don’t like to be in solution. They want to be back into a hard or a precipitate form,and they create scale because it bonds with the surfaces of the things it comes in contact with. You’d notice it most on your showerheads or the pot when you boil water to cook eggs. That white scum that appears in that pot after you’ve boiled the water is hardness minerals that have come out of solution. Hard water is found predominantly in groundwater supplies. A lot of municipalities use groundwater supplies for their water. Most well owners,that’s where their water comes from,is the ground. Surface water supplies,like Lake Erie,Lake Michigan,or large lakes that are mostly fed by precipitation and rain,are not going to have that heavy mineral content.
Testing for hard water is relatively simple. You can either get a test strip that you dunk in the water and then compare the piece’s color to the bottle it comes in. Or you can do a chemical test,which is a little bit more accurate. More information about it can be found here -Fleck 5600SXT water softener
Why You Should Treat Hard Water with Fleck
Beyond the nuisance aspect of hard water,there’s a real cost to hard water. It lines up basically with having to clean the effects of hard water off of shower doors,off of your dishwasher,on your appliances,your glassware. There’s also the cost of the wear and tear on your water-using appliances,specifically the water heater or the dishwasher. Both of those appliances are heating water to do their job. The water heater. That’s its job to heat water. And as the water heats up,the molecular activity speeds up,and that calcium and magnesium come out of solution that much faster. And on an electric water heater,that scale adheres to the heating elements. The efficiency of that water heater goes way down because now it has to heat through the level that’s accumulating on those heating elements. A gas-fired heater,same thing,except now the scale is dropping to the bottom of the water heater. We have to heat the rock first before it can heat the water. A study done by the Battelle Institute found out that a heater on soft water will last the entire 15-year expected life span without loss of any efficiency. The dishwasher,the same result. The other thing they watched for was showerheads because that’s probably the most visual example of the effect of hard water. As the water blows through the nozzle of that shower head,those hardness minerals are coming out of solution very fast.
If your shower head looks white and filmy,that means that your hardness is scaling the shower head up,and it won’t be long before it starts clogging some of those spray nozzles,and then you got an inefficient showerhead. Soft water,you have a beautiful spray through the showerhead without that scale appearing. So a huge,huge,massive problem with hard water. What’s the cost? Studies show that 20% of every dollar you spend at the grocery store if you live on hard water conditions,you’re spending on cleaning supplies to battle the effects of hard water.
Twenty percent and you think about it,if you spend a hundred or a couple of hundred bucks a week on groceries,$20 to $40 of that money is being spent on cleaning supplies. Can you imagine putting that money back in your pocket with soft water? Another benefit that you’ll see with soft water is to your skin and your hair. When dealing with hard water,those hard water minerals get into your pores,and they get into your hair. So you have to use moisturizers,you have to use conditioners for your hair. With soft water,you can eliminate the majority of that. The other thing that you run into is your laundry. That hard mineral gets into the fabric of your clothing,and it turns the colors dingy,and it also makes them hard. I mean,there’s a stiffness to the material because of hard water. With soft water,your colors stay vibrant,your clothes last longer,and towels,for example,are a pleasure to use,not something that’s going to feel like sandpaper.
We get questions sometimes on is hard water bad for you. Well,it’s not necessarily a health concern to drink hard water. Although some think that the heightened level of minerals is not suitable for you,because humans don’t get their minerals from water,we get our minerals slightly from plants or fruits and vegetables. Water is ideal for lubrication for our organs,it’s good for hydration for our joints,but it’s not necessarily good to have lots of minerals in that so your kidney has to deal with it.
Importance of Water Filtrations System and Softener
I’ve always commented,should you get a filter,or do you want to be the filter? Something to think about with heavily mineralized water. You have hard water,what’s the best way to get rid of it? What’s the best way to get soft water so that we can save money? And that is a traditional ion exchange water softener. Meaning that we’re going to run water through that,and the softener has resin inside that’s going to grab hold of those hardness-causing minerals,and it’s going to release a little bit of sodium in the process.
Now,there’s a lot of people that don’t like softeners because of the sodium,but honestly,it’s the best way to deal with hardness because we’re taking the hardness minerals out of the water. That little bit of sodium we can deal with,with a reverse osmosis system. Or take a look at our chart,it’s not as much sodium added as you might think. Now,if you still want to get the added sodium out of your water from a water softener,the best answer to that is reverse osmosis for point of use. The reverse osmosis system will take care of the water you’re going to consume,make ice,or cook with. That’s going to reduce the sodium from the sea,even the naturally occurring sodium.
If you are coming from a well,chances are you’ve already got some sodium in your water. So the reverse osmosis system will virtually get 99% of that sodium out. If you’ve got high blood pressure,your doctor says,”No,no,” on the sodium,a reverse osmosis system is the best answer for that. An alternate to ion exchange water softening is going to come under the category of scale inhibitors. There’s no such thing as a salt-free water softener. Again,that goes back to the efficiency of ion exchange,taking the mineral out. Everything else is a scale inhibitor,and what they’re built to do is hold the hardness minerals in solution so that they don’t create scale.
You won’t see the same benefits of soft water with a scale inhibitor that you do with the ion exchange water softener. Scale inhibitors work. They work as long as you’re not on well water supply. Guess where you find most of your hardness? What they do is they create little crystals around the hardness minerals. If there’s any iron or manganese in the water,it pretty much makes that media inert,and it won’t do anything at that point.
Source -Pentair Fleck