Dealing with hard water issues in a home can be an exhausting experience and approximately 86% of American homes have this dilemma to one degree or another. Hard water contains elevated levels of naturally occurring dissolved minerals that make the water harder to work with. In this article, we will take a closer look at hard water, the consequences of using it in the home, and how you can fix the problem.

What is Hard Water?

Hard water contains higher concentrations of calcium, magnesium, and iron. These are naturally occurring minerals that are added to the makeup of the water after it falls as rain. Water is an extremely effective solvent, it can dissolve materials that it comes into contact with over time and these are suspended in the water. When water falls on the ground as rain, it either flows across the surface to the nearest body of water or it seeps into the earth and from there into the groundwater. In both cases, the contact with the ground will add a certain concentration of pollutants including minerals. This is why the water is harder in areas that have extensive calcium, magnesium, and iron deposits.

What are the Consequences of Hard Water?

One of the main problems with hard water is that it forms limescale on the inner surfaces of water carrying pipes, plumbing fixtures, and water using appliances. This thick material can weaken the pipes leading to breaks and expensive repair bills. Water heaters are especially prone to limescale issues and the heating element must work harder to heat the water through the layer of scale. This leads to an unexpected repair bill or an earlier than expected replacement.

As scale forms inside water carrying lines, the diameter of the pipe is narrowed and this can lead to low water pressure issues. Hard water also inhibits the performance of soap and detergent leading to poor washing and dishwashing results. Adding more soap doesn’t work and people often wash at higher temperatures in an attempt to fix the problem. But, until the underlying problem of hard water is fixed there is no way to make any significant improvements.

How Can I Remove Water Hardness?

The most reliable way to remove the dissolved minerals that make water hard is an ion-exchange water softener system. The incoming water is passed through a resin media tank filled with charged resin media balls. The mineral ions are attracted to this charge, they stick to the surface of the resin media, and salt ions are added to the water. This can make the water taste a little salty, but most people don’t notice any difference. The water softener will periodically regenerate, and the mineral ions are flushed from the resin media and replaced with a fresh layer of charged salt brine. This process usually takes place at night when the demand for softened water is much lower.

If you want to improve the quality of your water, contact your local water treatment specialist.

By EcoWater Systems.
EcoWater Systems of Nebraska is the largest water treatment company in the state and is a member of Water Quality Association.