A Guide to Hard Water in Your Home

By: Thea Nixon | Published: 27 Jul, 2016 | Updated: 27 Jul, 2016

Get answers to all your questions about hard water in your home.

What does it mean to have “hard” or “soft” water?

Hard water contains a noticeable amount of dissolved minerals, namely calcium and magnesium, but also chalk and lime.

Soft water is treated water that only contains sodium.

What are some indicators of hard water around your home?

Signs of hard water in your home include:

  • White scaling on faucets
  • Soap scum on tubs and sinks
  • Dingy whites from your laundry
  • Mineral residue left on dishes and glassware

What else can hard water affect?

Hard water can also affect how well clothes are cleaned, skin and hair, and how water heats in your hot water tank.

Hard Water and Soaps: Hard water and any type of soap don’t mix well. When doing laundry, detergent and hard water won’t create a lather to properly clean your clothing, which leaves clothes dingy. Likewise, skin and hair can become dry because hard water won’t wash off hand soap and bathing soaps as well as soft water would. Basically, hard water coats your skin, not allowing the natural oils of your skin to breath.

Hot Water Tank: The minerals in hard water increase its boiling point, causing it to take longer to heat. A longer heat time requires more energy, which costs you more money. On average, 25% of your monthly electric or gas bill could be attributed to heating hard water.

What can happen from too much hard water damage?

If hard water problems are left unresolved, the mineral buildup can cause damages and expenses. Most notably, mineral build-up in your hot water tank and pipes causes inefficiencies and will be expensive to replace.

You will also spend more money on cleaning products to remove hard water stains, as well as more money on laundry and dish detergent, hand soap, bathing soaps, and lotion.

How can you remove hard water stains?

There are many natural, homemade ways to remove hard water stains.

  • Half water / half vinegar mixture in a spray bottle
  • Baking soda / vinegar paste
  • Lemon juice in a spray bottle

Cleaners specifically made to remove soap scum and hard water build-up contain hydrochloric acid, which is a harsh chemical that should probably only be used as a last resort.

How can you prevent hard water stains?

The best way to prevent hard water stains is to get a whole house water filtration system that will eliminate the hardness from your water before it comes into your house. This way, mineral build up never has a chance to occur in your pipes or water heater.

Check out Kinetico whole house water softener.