In a previous post, we looked at the trouble with hard water in a plumbing system. Hard water is, unfortunately, a common occurrence in the U.S., and it’s difficult to prevent through municipal water treatment plants because the minerals in hard water (magnesium, calcium, gypsum) tend to enter the water after it leaves the plant. The minerals seep through groundwater into the municipal pipes and continue on to homes and businesses.
The biggest threat from hard water is to the freshwater pipes and appliances in a home, the water heater in particular. But there are some other consequences of the hard water we haven’t discussed.
The Trouble With the Laundry
A laundry machine can suffer from clogged water lines and general damage due to hard water, much the same way as other appliances. But the laundry loads themselves are also in danger. Soap doesn’t lather or dissolve well in the presence of hard water minerals, and this creates difficulty with loads of wash. You may notice colors are fading, become grayish. Fabric will start to feel coarse and stiff. Expensive clothing and sheets may be ruined. It’s even possible for staining to occur—difficult stains to get out of fabrics.
Problems Keeping Clean
Let’s look again at the problem of soap vs. hard water. If you can’t work up a good lather of soap, it’s hard to shower or bathe and come out as clean as want. Just look at how hard it is to wash dishes by hand when you can’t get enough soap suds going.
There’s an additional problem with keeping clean, and that’s the soapy residue from the soap not dissolving in hard water. This will leave hair flat and stringy and create an unpleasant feeling over skin—itchy and unpleasant.
Film and Residue on Surfaces
A major issue we talked about with plumbing and hard water is the calcium deposits inside pipes as well as on fixtures. But the minerals in hard water also create deposits on surfaces they come in contacts with, such as shower doors and the porcelain of sinks. It leaves a filmy, ugly residue—and trying to clean it away won’t work because you’re using that same hard water (and soap that isn’t dissolving will also start to leave soap scum). It’s tough to keep your home looking nice when trying to use hard water for cleaning.
If the freshwater in your home has high levels of hardness (something you can determine with professional water testing), the best way to deal with it is to have a whole house water treatment system installed, usually a water softener that places sodium ions into the water in exchange for the hard water ions. If you’ve noticed signs of hard water, such as the troubles we indicated above, we recommend you call us first for water testing and then arrange for the installation of a water softener in Clovis, NM to solve the problem if it is indeed hard water. Not only will your laundry and skin and hair thank you, but so will your entire plumbing system and everything attached to it.