Has your skin been feeling dry and is it flaking too? Are you itching a lot? These could be signs that you have hard water in your home. Verify this by checking out a few things:
- Do your sinks, bathtubs, showers, or toilets have water discolorations or stains around areas where water settles?
- Are there mineral deposits on the sinks, bathtubs, showers, or toilets?
- Do dishes seem to have a mineral deposit or build upon them?
- Is there a soap scum build-up remaining on the shower wall?
- Does your shower-head have a build-up of minerals on it? (it looks yellow and flaky and could have some of the shower pores clogged completely)
- If you just moved in, does the water pressure seem low?
The mineral deposits you are seeing are most likely calcium and magnesium that have leached through limestone. Although they are unlikely to harm you, in addition to each of the items above, they can impact several other things in your home. Hard water can:
- Damage your water heater when the minerals cause parts within it to corrode, and eventually the hot water heater will fail.
- Makes soap harder to lather.
- Cause clothes only have a shelf-life of 60% due to the wearing down during the washing process
- Increase energy bills up to 25%.
- Wear out appliances before their life span is over, i.e., blenders, etc.
Note, we are not talking about bad tasting water. That is a different problem entirely, and it requires a water filtration system. A water softener system will not remedy bad tasting water.
There is a remedy for hard water
You can apply a do-it-yourself process to address the mineral deposit build-up in the pipes or you can purchase a water softener system that will address all of the aforementioned items.
Natural DIY Remedy
Normally a mixture of vinegar and baking soda or vinegar and borax will break up mineral deposits if cleaning is done regularly.
Commercial Hydrochloric Acid
Hydrochloric acid and a water mixture can be put through pipes; however, it is imperative that the manufacturer’s instructions be followed to the T and that you wear gloves and a mask when applying the application. Also make sure the pipes in the house, or whatever you are cleaning can handle the application.
Water Softener System
A general rule of thumb is the harder the water, the more it will cost to soften it. Larger homes and properties will need larger water softening systems to remove the minerals causing hardness.
A whole-house water softener system is the most common type of system installed because it allows for water to be filtered as it comes into the home. It is simple to install and maintain, but it is the most expensive one of three types to install. The other two types are smaller; i.e., one (the distiller) is for drinking water, and the other (reverse osmosis) is only slightly larger than the distiller.
With a water softener, calcium and magnesium are exchanged with sodium and potassium through ion exchange. This process allows the calcium and magnesium to be removed from the water, thereby softening the water.
The cost of a water softener can run between $400 to $2600 without installation at a location like Lowe’s. They last approximately 15 years long. With installation, according to Angie’s List, a professional installation can go up to approximately $4,000.
Considering the fact that your clothes will last 40% longer, you could save 25% for 15 years on energy bills, not to mention how much you’ll save in lotion, and you won’t have to scrub out those toilets and sink rings anymore, the $267 per year is probably worth it.
We haven’t mentioned how much better your skin and hair will feel, have we?
Having softer water
There may be some that have concerns about softening water too much, i.e., if you are on a low sodium diet. Note that a single slice of whole wheat bread has 211 mg of sodium. A normal glass of softened water has an average of 12.5 mg of sodium.
This post has originally been featured in Residence Style.