Hard water is a common issue in households across America, and millions are dealing with the cost and headache of this irritating problem. However, even if you've heard of hard water, you may not know whether your pipes are plagued by minerals or how to tell whether you should invest in a home water-softener system.
Luckily, there are several telltale signs associated with hard water. If you notice any combination of these signs, your home could be suffering from some of the issues often associated with hard water, including pipe damage, increased energy consumption, and a dishwasher that must work overtime to get your dishes clean.
Here are a few of the most common signs that you have hard water.
A White Buildup on Faucets
One of the classic signs of a hard-water problem is a white, crusty buildup around the spigot of the faucets throughout your home. This accumulation is caused by the various metals and minerals found in hard water, including calcium and magnesium. At first, the accumulation is an annoyance that can easily be removed with a scrub brush.
However, if you continue to live with hard water, the buildup of minerals and metals can clog your faucets, making it difficult for you to perform everyday tasks and causing you to waste a lot of water.
In addition to on your faucets, an accumulation of white film can also occur on the heating element of your water heater. If left untreated, this buildup can negatively impact the efficiency of your hot-water heater or force you to prematurely purchase a new unit.
Eliminating the existing accumulation with a commercial product or a mixture of white vinegar and baking soda is a temporary fix. To prevent this buildup from occurring in the future, you should have your water tested and treated with a water-softening system.
Spots on Your Glasses and Dishes
Whether you are a traditionalist who prefers washing your dishes in the sink or someone who loves the modern convenience of a dishwasher, if you have hard water, you will often suffer from a very annoying problem: spots on your dishes.
When the minerals and metals found in your hard water are combined with your dish detergent, they will leave behind the telltale spots on your otherwise clean dishes. These unsightly spots will often also occur on your shower doors and walls, leaving you to scrub out your shower to make it look clean.
Once again, there are several commercial products available to tackle these soap stains. However, if you treat the problem before it begins, you can enjoy a shower or dinner party free of soap scum!
Dry, Itchy, and Irritated Skin
If you suffer from miserable dry, itchy skin, you might blame your wool sweater or the lack of humidity in your home. However, you might be surprised to learn that your irritated skin is caused by your hard water.
When you wash your clothing in hard water, there are often mineral deposits and soap residue left behind. Slipping on your garments can cause your skin to feel tight, itchy, and extremely irritated. Additionally, those metal and mineral deposits can eliminate some of the moisture in your already dry skin.
When you wash your clothing in hard water, you might notice that no matter how hard you try, your clothes never look clean. Often, when clothes are laundered in hard water, the combination of minerals and leftover laundry soap causes your garments to look gray and dingy.
If your white clothing leaves the washing machine covered with yellow or brown stains, you might have iron deposits in your water. Fortunately, iron is one of the many metals that can be safely and effectively removed from your hard water with a water-softening system.
Finally, one of the most devastating and potentially expensive signs that you are dealing with hard water is chronically clogged pipes. After several years, the accumulation of minerals and metal on the inner walls of the pipes will make it very difficult for water to get through. Unfortunately, this buildup can occur no matter what type of pipes you have running through your home.
Once again, there is a temporary fix for this issue. There are several home remedies and commercial products available that can unclog your pipes, but the pipes will stay clear only in the short term. If you do not treat your hard water, your pipes will eventually become clogged again. Additionally, the products available on your grocery-store shelves are highly caustic, meaning they can damage the inside of your pipes.
From dingy, gray clothing to constantly clogged pipes and spots on your dishes, there are several clear signs that you are suffering from hard water. Luckily, with the help of DuPage Water Conditioning, you can put an end to hard water once and for all.