- Elly Brian
6 Warning Signs Of Hard Water In The Home
Hard water is water that contains a high mineral count. These unwanted minerals, like calcium and magnesium, can leave build up in your plumbing, appliances, and fixtures. It will also leave your skin and hair feeling dry and laundry stained and worn out. You may be aware of these problems in your home but might not know that hard water is most likely the cause. Hard water is extremely common in Northeast Wisconsin.
Do you think you may have hard water in your home? Fortunately, the evidence is easily detectable. While you may have some or even all of these signs, it is important to schedule an in-home consultation with Clean Water Center. Here are 6 signs to look out for:
1. Soap Scum Build Up
Are you constantly scrubbing off-white hard water spots from your fixtures? These are the calcium deposits that are left behind from hard water. But your faucets aren’t the only things these minerals stick to… they also bind to soaps and detergents, essentially curdling them. This makes soaps sticky instead of their normal slippery feel, which leaves behind residue in your shower, dishes, hair, skin, and clothing. Since hard water minerals deplete the effectiveness of soap, you might find yourself using more than you need to get your home clean. Using more soap leads to more sticky soap scum — it’s a never-ending cycle!
2. Bad Hair Days
Hard water can have a negative effect on your hair. If hard water is running through your home, you may notice your hair feels filmy and straw-like. This is because the excess minerals in the water combine with shampoo to form a curd-like substance that sticks to your hair, much like soap scum sticks to the walls of your shower. Your initial reaction may be to wash your hair more frequently to remove the soapy residue from your hair; however, the more often you shampoo your hair in hard water, the less moisture can effectively enter the hair strands. This results in dry, coarse, and frizzy hair. This also dries out your scalp, causing dandruff.
You also may notice your hair has a harder time retaining color. The minerals in hard water deposit on the hair shaft that often causes colored hair to turn a brassy tone. Frequent washing may also make the color to fade quickly as well.
Deposits from hard water can clog up your shower head too, meaning less water pressure to rinse your hair clean.
3. Clogged Pipes
Showerheads aren’t the only things that can get clogged thanks to hard water. It can cause major plumbing issues as well.
Scale deposits build up inside your pipes, like plaque inside an artery, constricting the flow of water, eventually leading to backups and that require a call to a plumber. You can find out more here: What Hard Water Plumbing Problems and High Cholesterol Have in Common.
4. Dry Irritated Skin
Because washing in hard water will leave soap behind, it causes people’s skin to get dried out and itchy. Mineral deposits left on the body will suck the moisture right out of your skin.
The skin condition eczema is fairly common, especially among younger children. Studies have shown that bathing in hard water could cause eczema symptoms to worsen and could increase the risk of developing eczema in elementary-school-age children.
5. Faded & Scratchy Laundry
As you now know, minerals like calcium and magnesium prevent soaps from functioning in water and laundry detergent is no exception. The same white, chalky substance in your sink and shower gets stuck in your laundry too.
The result is dingy looking clothes that don’t feel completely clean after they come out of your dryer. The sticky residue on your clothes will even attract and hold more dirt as you wear them. Hard water can cause clothes to fade and wear out quickly.
Mineral buildup leaves your bath towels feeling stiff. The hard water literally makes them hard. Not only that – the residue that collects on your towels will make them less absorbent over time.
6. Your Appliances are Wearing Out Quickly
This could be the home's most expensive hard water problem. Those scale deposits can wreak havoc on many appliances in your home, from the dishwasher to the hot water heater. Hard water can wear them down over time. They become less and less effective until eventually, they break down.
A buildup of minerals in your water heater can make it far less efficient. The same goes for other appliances like dishwashers, coffee pots, washing machines, and humidifiers. Many advancements in technology have made “high efficiency” versions of all of these appliances, which can’t function as intended when bogged down by hard water.
Also, the icemaker in your fridge can stop working as scale deposits clog up valves. The American Water Works Association says hard water can cause a washing machine to wear out 30% faster than normal. Find out more from this Water-Right Group post, Why your Appliances Don't Stand the Test of Time.