General Article

Diagnosing Hard Water

Posted on

If you’ve noticed a white, scaly buildup in your sinks, shower or bathtub, chances are that you have hard water. Hard water isn’t just a problem in rural areas; it’s also an issue for people who live in cities and towns where the municipal water supply draws from reservoirs fed by rivers and streams that have a high mineral content. Water softeners Barringtong IL can help you solve this problem if you live in the suburbs northwest of Chicago.

How Does Water Softening Work?

Hard water is mostly due to an overabundance of minerals like calcium and magnesium that precipitate out in alkaline water with a pH greater than 7. While hard water is not a health risk per se, it can impart a bitter taste to beverages like tea and coffee, and leave deposits on your bathroom and kitchen fixtures. Those same deposits can also build up inside plumbing piping and water heater coils, thereby rendering this equipment far less efficient.

Water softeners function by replacing minerals like calcium and magnesium with minerals like sodium and potassium through the process of ionic exchange. The harder minerals are trapped within a special tank within the water softening equipment. Water softening equipment typically lasts between 10 and 15 years.

Do You Need a Water Softener?

If you’re not certain whether you have hard water and would benefit from a water softener, here are some tips that can help you decide.

• Do you find chalky white deposits inside your tea kettle or coffee pot? If you do, what you’re seeing is calcium precipitate. This is a sign that your water is hard.

• Your skin feels dry and itchy after a shower. Hard water can’t hydrate your skin very well; in fact, it has an opposite effect.

• Your sheets and white clothes look grey even though you wash them. Soap and detergents can’t work up a vigorous lather in hard water.

• You notice green stains beneath taps. These stains are a classic sign of alkaline water. Fortunately, they are relatively easy to remove. Merely wipe them down with a little bit of vinegar.