5 Simple Hard Water Solutions
Hard Water 101
Most people across the country find that they’ve got a household pest that simply won’t go away. It is a common issue faced by homeowners and renters in high sediment areas. Water is considered “hard” when high levels of dissolved minerals are found within its makeup. When that water evaporates, it leaves behind the mineral deposits on the surface. These deposits are referred to as hard water stains.
A common misconception about hard water is that it is bad for you. Hard water does not mean unhealthy water. In many ways, it can help prevent disease and strengthen your intake of daily-recommended mineral values. Although hard water is not a problem for the human body, it can have devastating effects on plumbing, hot water heaters, dishwashers, washing machines, and many other household appliances.
The most obvious impact of hard water is the annoying white residue on dishes, glassware, and sinks. Hard water reduces the life span of your plumbing systems and contributes to problems such as rusting, reduced effectiveness of cleaning agents, and scale buildup in your pipes. Stemming from the buildup, scale accumulation can result in your water heater and plumbing systems using more energy, in turn costing you more money in the long run.
Take a look below to see what you can do to reduce the impact of hard water in your home.
Since the majority of hard water is calcium, an alkaline earth metal that has two valence electrons in its outer shell, it is highly reactive with acids such as vinegar. Placing small fixtures that are covered in buildup into a bowl of hot all natural vinegar will dissolve the calcium deposit in about an hour.
Another common recommendation for white film and spot problems on your appliances is using distilled vinegar. It will not only kill mold, bacteria, and germs, it will also clean your dish-ware through regular wash cycles.
Not many people know that running hot water through the hot water heater contributes to hard water stains and mineral buildup. This is due to the mineral precipitation process that takes place at the hottest part of the plumbing system. Over time, the hot water heater will accumulate scale. Reducing the temperature of the heater will help delay the accumulation.
It is also important to flush the heater every so often to keep sediment from clogging up the fixture. In areas with hard water, this is especially problematic as it contributes to the amount of time it takes for your hot water heater to accumulate unnecessary junk at the bottom of the tank.
Ever notice with hard water, you usually have to use extra soap for it to foam? This is because soap molecules are negatively charged on one end to help the molecule dissolve in water. The other end of the molecule works to keep oil particles suspended in the water so that you can rinse your body clean. Hard water works against the molecule because it contains positively charged calcium atoms. The two form a bond with no charge, rendering the soap molecule unable to dissolve.
To minimize hard water deposits on your dishes and glassware, you can use a product similar to Lemi-Shine. Products like this work to remove years of hard water buildup, stains, and film. Products that are specifically formulated for hard water are made to withstand the positive charge of the calcium atoms so that you can rinse the soap off easily.
For the soap scum that is built up through the use of soaps in combination with hard water, a simple rinsing with 1 part apple cider vinegar and 3 parts filtered water will do the trick.
As mentioned above, it is important to remove buildup on your appliances. This rule applies to your piping systems as well. Over time, calcified buildup becomes hard to remove. Remember to clean your pipes and appliances on a regular basis to keep from having to replace them too soon.
For smaller appliances such as coffee makers, run two cups of strong white vinegar water through them on a regular basis. This will ensure that you are cleaning thoroughly in areas where you can’t reach and will keep your tea and coffee tasting great while preventing your appliance from shortening its lifespan.
5. AQUASANA SALT FREE SOFTENER
For long term, comprehensive protection for pipes and all appliances, the best thing you can do is invest in a good quality water softener. The Aquasana salt-free softener is the environmentally friendly choice that removes the hardness in your water without the use of the all too common detrimental salt compound. Having a softener that does not need to use salt will eliminate the slimy feeling of not being able to rid yourself of soap that many other softeners produce. It is also the healthier choice for your body, as it will not expose your immune system to the unneeded salt.