Water is essential for hydration of the body and therefore, for life. It is also very important in food preparation and cooking, sanitation and hygiene, and a wide range of other uses. Individual water consumption occurs both at home and elsewhere, such as at schools and workplaces. Drinking-water is consumed not only as water per se but also in beverages and incorporated in food processes.
Hard Water Defined
Hard water is usually defined as water that contains a high concentration of calcium and magnesium ions. Hardness can be caused by several other dissolved metals; those forms divalent or multivalent cations, including aluminum, barium, strontium, iron, zinc, and manganese. Hardness generally enters groundwater as the water percolates through minerals containing calcium or magnesium. The most common sources of hardness are limestone (which introduces calcium into the water) and dolomite (which introduces magnesium.) Since, hardness enters the water in this manner groundwater generally has a greater hardness than surface water.
The effect of Hard Water on Skin and Hair Care
Skin and hair are negatively affected by hard water. Hard water does not rinse as well as soft water, and a greater amount of shampoo and soap is needed to clean. That results in increased remaining soap residues, leaving hair less shiny and skin susceptible to blemishes.
The effect of Hard Water on Clothing Care
Calcium and magnesium are the main contributors to hard water, reducing soap’s ability to lather and clean, which leaves a dingy gray residue on clothes and spots on dishes. Hard water is more abrasive than soft water. The tiny mineral particles in hard water combine with soap or detergents to become like little pieces of rock, pounding away at clothing fibers. Over time, the integrity of the product is weakened and the life of clothing could be reduced. Moreover, several studies showed that in washing machines, softened water allows detergent use to be reduced by 50% and saves energy by washing at the cold water setting instead of the hot water setting, achieving the same or better stain removal and whiter clothes compared to results in hard water. In dishwashers, with areas having very hard water, softened water can mean cutting detergent by up to 70% by softening water.
Hard Water Effects on Plumbing
Hard water can cause scale to build up on water heaters and pipes, limiting the water flow, reducing the life of the product and increasing operation costs and maintenance on water-using appliances. For example, water heaters last up to 50% longer and consume up to 29% less energy.
Hard Water and Energy Consumption
With hard water, water heaters lose efficiency and cost more money to run. For example: In gas water heaters, each five grains per gallon of hardness causes an 8% loss in efficiency and 8% increase in cost when using 100 gallons of hot water per day. Showerheads on softened water maintain a brilliant luster and full flow. Researchers ran dishwashers and clothes washers 30 days, completing 240 wash cycles using both softened and hard water sources. They found the units using softened water were almost completely free of any scale build up -- appearing as if they could be cleaned up to look like new with just a quick wipe down. The appearance of the inside of units using hard water, however, showed the need for deliming and cleaning due to the build up of scale and deposits. Remember, with softened water, you can also use less detergent in your dishwasher and clothes washer and get better results – another way to save money.
What can we do for you?
Contact us today to book a free estimate. Our professionals will assess the level of hardness in your water, and suggest the most suitable water softener that suits the size of your household and budget. Feel free to contact us today.
(Sources: World Heath Organization; Water Resources USA)