Hard water is fairly common, even in a place like Blue Bell. It is called hard water because of the minerals in it, such as calcium, iron and lime. Depending on how “hard” the water is, it’s usually perfectly healthy, but can cause some other problems throughout the home.
Hard water can negatively affect the durability of household appliances like dishwashers and washing machines, as well as pipes and fixtures throughout the home. How do you know if you have hard water? Here are some common signs and symptoms to be on the lookout for:
- A white, scaly, filmy residue left behind on plumbing fixtures. In particular, you may notice these on showerheads, on stainless fixtures like the basin of your kitchen sink, on your silverware or in the coffee pot.
- Clothes that are not getting as clean as they should in the laundry. This is because hard water is less effective at washing away dirt. Likewise, you may notice soap scum residue in your tub or shower.
- Little or no lather from shampoo or soap while showering.
- A reddish tinge to hair over time. This is due to iron in the water that can temporarily change hair color in the shower.
- Water takes a long time to heat, or heating costs that are higher than usual. This is because hard water requires more heat than water with fewer minerals in it.
- A foul odor emanating from your water.
If you notice any of these signs, or a combination of them, you may have hard water. There are certain things you can do to control the effects of hard water, such as using a commercial mineral remover to dissolve deposits left on showerheads and other fixtures. Vinegar also works well.
However, the best thing to do is to treat hard water so that it does not damage your plumbing system. A licensed plumber can help you do this by adding water softener to your water supply, among other treatments. These are things that need to be done on an ongoing basis, but will help extend the life of your expensive appliances and plumbing system.