The quality of our water is dependent on several factors; where we live, the type of water filtration system it goes through and whether or not it is supplied from a municipal water supply or an underground well. The most common water problem here in the United States is that it is often hard water. Hard water is simply water that has a high mineral content. Not all minerals are necessarily harmful for you to drink, however these minerals can have a negative impact in the home and on the body as well. The following signs can help determine if you have hard water in your home.
- Spots on glasses
Most hard water contains magnesium and calcium; when the water is heated, as it is to wash dishes, the magnesium and calcium precipitate out of the water and adhere to the surface they are on. This mineral deposit is called scale and it manifests itself as the spots on dishes and the white crusty deposits around the faucet.
- Soap scum in the shower / bath
Once again it is the magnesium and calcium that are at the root of bathroom soap scum. The calcium and/or magnesium ions in hard water produce a chemical reaction with they come in contact with the fatty component in soap which results in the gray nasty soap scum you see around the bath and shower.
- You pay too much electricity to run your water heater
Hard water has been proven to decrease efficiency in appliances; water heaters, in particular, tend to be at an even greater risk due to their constant contact with water. Scale builds up on the heating elements causing it to work harder and longer in order to heat up the water. This extra work load also causes the water heater to wear out much sooner than it should.
- You have limp dry hair
If you notice that your hair is constantly limp or dry and frizzy all the time, the culprit is most likely hard water. Shampoo is technically a soap so you have the same chemical reaction going on in your hair as you do inside your shower or tub. The excess filmy shampoo reside will leave your hair looking limp and rather dull. The additional minerals in hard water can also dry out your hair which leads to the dreaded frizz.
- You have dry itchy skin
The excess minerals in hard water can also cause some severe dry skin which leads to irritation and scaly looking skin. In fact there have been studies done showing that hard water can trigger eczema due to the intense drying out of the skin.
If you are one of the millions of households that have to deal with hard water on a daily basis, you might want to consider investing in a water softener or salt free water conditioner. Both of these products will help to eliminate the problems associated with hard water, while saving you money over the long run in appliance maintenance, plumbing repair and even on soap and detergent expenditures.