What is Hard Water?

People who get their water from a well, likely know about hard water. What is hard water? Essentially a water is described as “hard” when it has a lot of minerals. “Soft” water is water that has a low levels of dissolved minerals. Although hard water is potable (or safe to drink) prolonged consumption may be a lot for your body to handle. Hard water instead tends to wreak havoc on the home, leaving deposits on appliances like dishwashers, facets, steam irons, toilet bowls, water heaters, showers and bathtubs.

Hard water minerals vary depending on location. Calcium, iron, magnesium even sulphur are just some examples and each poses their own particular problems, for instance, sulphur smells, and iron stains. Due to the effects of hard water, people must maintain their home appliances with more care to keep them functioning. Smaller pipes over time may calcify and the hot water heater will likely have a shorter lifespan.

There are other home scale issues caused by hard water, particularly when it comes to bathing and cleaning dishes. The minerals in the water make it hard to achieve that “squeaky clean” feeling. Soap, in fact doesn’t work as effectively with hard water and the spiraling down effect is that people will use even more soap to over-compensate. Instead feel a thin residue of film is left over. Hair in particular keeps this residue and mineral build-up, often making it unnaturally frizzy and dirty looking. An apple-cider vinegar rinse can help eliminate some of the minerals.

What are some of the ways to deal with hard water? An expensive yet efficient option is installing a house-wide water filtration system or a water softener. Some detergents and soaps are made specifically for washing clothes in hard water.

While people living with hard water for their home needs, can still seek other sources of water for drinking purposes. Harvesting rainwater for drinking is an option, along with purchasing distilled water from a local distiller and adding a few drops of the hard water for just the right balance. -BEN TERRINGTON

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