Why is Water Considered Hard or Soft?
We get asked this question from homeowners all the time. Is my water hard or soft and what is the difference? The fact is, living in Florida it’s far more likely that you will have hard water VS soft water. Let’s start with an explanation of what makes water hard. Because of the way much of Florida was formed, our soil contains a great deal of limestone. Living in and around the Tampa area as well as other parts of the state we frequently hear stories about sink holes as limestone settles and creates a cavern or sink hole, swallowing up things around it.
According to the U S Geological Survey, (USGS), most of the ground water in the state contains between 121 and 180 milligrams of hard materials per liter, but some parts of the state have been measured as high as 1900 milligrams of hard material per liter. These materials are usually calcium and magnesium. As dissolved particles in water you can’t see them, but they are there. As rain water falls and is absorbed by the ground it moves its way through the soil or runs into rivers, lakes, streams, and the ocean.
The water that remains in the ground absorbs the minerals around it. In Florida that means a high absorption rate of limestone which is a soft rock. That limestone also absorbs calcium and magnesium. Thus, hard water.
What are the Negative Effects of Hard Water?
There are a number of things that hard water will have a negative impact on. Here are just a few:
- Hard water is a soap neutralizer. By that I mean hard water doesn’t allow dish, laundry, or hand soap to lather and do its job efficiently. That’s why you can get the residue of soap on your clothes and spots on your glasses.
- Hard water can be detrimental to your clothing when washed in it over long periods of time. Hard water can shorten the life of your garments by as much as 40%
- If hard water is bad on your clothing imagine what it can do to your skin? The mineral in hard water will not only dry your skin but can damage your hair as well from bathing
- Running your appliances such as a dish washer, or clothes washer where hard water is present will leave spots and residue on your dishes and glass ware, and as mentioned above shorten the life of clothing. It can also shorten the life of appliances, including your homes hot water heater due to the build up of calcium and other minerals.
- Your homes entire plumbing system is susceptible to damage from hard water. Hard water will hasten the build up of calcium deposits, damage and clog pipes and can lead to reduced water flow and increased energy bills
How Can I Tell if I Have Hard Water in my Home?
If you have hard water you’ve probably already seen many of these signs. But if you aren’t sure, here are some obvious signs your home has hard water.
- You simply can’t get the soap your using to “suds up”
- You see a white film that has built up on pots, pans or coffee makers
- You find soap residue on your clothes after washing
- Excessive film on shower doors and walls, and bathtubs, sinks and faucets have film around them
- Dishes and glassware show signs of spotting
If you feel you are dealing with a hard water problem, it’s best to have your water tested by a professional as there are affordable methods to eliminate the problem. Call the professionals at The Clean Plumbers and let us analyze your water and water system