The idea that water can be either hard or soft may sound strange to you. However, there’s a big difference between the two.
If you’re a homeowner, you’ve likely heard negative things about hard water. This refers to water that contains a high mineral content, specifically calcium and magnesium.
When the water evaporates, these mineral deposits get left behind. While this presents no dangerous side-effects, it can be annoying.
Let’s go over eight hard water symptoms and a few ways you can deal with the problem.
1. Excessive Soap Scum
Do you find yourself scrubbing water spots and soap scum buildup off your shower, sinks, and faucets? This is one of the most common telltale signs of hard water.
Calcium is the main culprit when it comes to water spots. This white residue forms when calcium in hard water dries.
Furthermore, calcium causes soaps and detergents to thicken and become sticky. This makes soap harder to wash off surfaces, meaning more residue gets left behind.
2. Frequent Clogs
When hard water passes through your pipes, mineral deposits get left behind. Over time, they’re bound to build up and cause clogging.
This problem is most common in old pipes made of steel. If you have PVC plumbing, you may not ever experience a backup due to hard water.
If you’re unable to clear a clogged drain, you’ll need to call a plumber. They can tell you if mineral deposits are to blame.
3. Yucky Water
The most undesirable symptom of hard water is a strange odor or flavor. This occurs due to a mineral or bacterial presence in the water.
You may notice that your tap water has a metallic flavor. There’s a good chance you’re dealing with high iron content.
Many people with hard water report an odor similar to rotten eggs. This occurs when magnesium reacts with natural hydrogen sulfide.
4. Appliance Problems
Unfortunately, hard water can cause damage to appliances over time. Mineral deposits are bad for dishwashers, washing machines, hot water heaters, and even coffee makers.
This can be an expensive problem. You may need to invest in hot water repair or have your dishwasher tuned up and cleaned.
It may take a long time before hard water causes damage that warrants repairs or replacement. However, your appliances may start to become less efficient, which can increase energy bills.
5. Laundry Issues
The mineral deposits in hard water can do several negative things to your laundry. Your clothes may feel itchy and colors may start to fade faster than normal.
Another side-effect is that your laundry won’t come out looking clean. You may notice a dingy, white residue. Towels may become less absorbent over time.
This typically happens because the minerals in hard water make laundry detergent thick and clumpy. It’s harder for your washing machine to rinse away soap and residue.
6. Changes to Your Hair
If you shower with hard water, your hair will become stiff and dry. This happens when minerals cause shampoo to thicken and become difficult to rinse out.
You may feel the need to wash your hair more to try to get rid of the residue. Unfortunately, this can make the problem worse.
In addition to drying out your hair, hard water can cause an itchy scalp. It can even cause discoloration.
7. Skin Irritation
The mineral deposits left behind by hard water will cause dehydration of the skin. This can be a huge issue, especially for people who already have sensitive skin.
In addition to the mineral deposits causing dry skin, it’s harder to rinse away soap with hard water. Soapy residue can worsen dryness and itchiness.
People with eczema will need to find a solution right away. Washing with hard water can make the symptoms of this skin condition much worse.
8. Odd Stains
Another common sign of hard water is staining on the inside your toilet bowl. Look for red or brown stains that seem to come out of nowhere and reappear after washing.
These stains often look like rust. This is an indication of iron content in your water.
You may also notice that removing these stains isn’t as easy as removing typical dirt and grime. Unfortunately, they’ll continue to return until you do something about your hard water.
Hard Water Solutions
If you’re convinced your home has hard water, rest assured there’s no health risk involve. However, you may find the problem frustrating.
The good news is, there are several ways to deal with the problem. These are solutions you can easily take care of yourself.
Make a Temperature Adjustment
The hotter the water that runs through your hot water heater is, the more mineral buildup you’ll get. Eventually, your hot water heater will have an abundance of mineral deposits.
Try turning down the temperature of your hot water heater. This will delay the buildup of minerals.
It’s also important to have your hot water heater flushed regularly.
Hard Water Additives
There are plenty of household products that help reverse the effects of hard water on your dishes and laundry.
All you need to do is add these products to your dishwasher and washing machine. They stop the buildup of calcium so soap gets rinsed away properly.
A Long-Term Solution
Investing in a water treatment system that creates soft water is the best long-term solution. You’ll need to spend a little more money, but all your hard water problems will go away.
These devices effectively remove minerals from the water coming into your home. Think of them as high-end filtration systems that work for the entire house.
Keep Your Eye Out for These Hard Water Symptoms
Hard water in your home won’t ruin your life, but it can turn into a major inconvenience. Fortunately, once you know the warning signs, you can take the necessary steps to a solution.
Look for these hard water symptoms if you suspect you have a problem.
We hope this article has helped you out. Feel free to browse the rest of our site for more home DIY content.