WHAT IS WATER HARDNESS?
Water hardness refers to our home and city water containing elevated amounts of minerals. For example, typically, hard water contains dissolved compounds of calcium and magnesium or occasionally other metallic elements.
However, homeowners should note that hard water is a natural occurrence. Water hardness derives from minerals (i.e., calcium and magnesium) accumulating during the water cycle. It can form in well water and city water. The more calcium and magnesium dissolved in the water, then the harder the water becomes, which is why certain cities or counties within the same region have varying degrees of water hardness.
WHY WATER HARDNESS MATTERS?
High mineral content reduces the efficiency of water. In particular, calcium and magnesium provide the primary mineral buildup. However, as the World Health Organization notes, we need these minerals (just not in excess in our water!):
“BOTH CALCIUM AND MAGNESIUM ARE ESSENTIAL MINERALS AND BENEFICIAL TO HUMAN HEALTH IN SEVERAL RESPECTS. INADEQUATE INTAKE OF EITHER NUTRIENT CAN RESULT IN ADVERSE HEALTH CONSEQUENCES. RECOMMENDED DAILY INTAKES OF EACH ELEMENT HAVE BEEN SET AT NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL LEVELS. INDIVIDUALS VARY CONSIDERABLY IN THEIR NEEDS FOR AND CONSUMPTION OF THESE ELEMENTS.”
WATER HARDNESS IMPACTS OUR APPLIANCES & CLEANING EFFICIENCY
For example, dissolved calcium and/or magnesium salts remain a primary driver behind scaling in pipes and water heaters. In fact, as little as 5 grains of water hardness may lead to an 8% efficiency reduction and an 8% increase in cost for water heaters.
Interestingly, the original definition of hard water referenced the difficulty of soap lathering. As a result, many of the hard water signs relate to cleaning, including the laundry!
WATER HARDNESS IMPACTS THE HEALTH OF OUR SKIN
In addition to difficulty cleaning, water hardness impacts our health as well. Do you have a flakey scalp? It might not only be dead skin, but also calcium deposits shaking out as well. The minerals in the water react with most soaps and shampoos, which reduce their effectiveness and produces soap scum. It is likely to produce a downward cycle where your water makes your hair dry, frizzy, and unmanageable. In turn, many people wash their hair MORE, which further damages your hair and scalp!
In addition, certain studies linked hard water exposure with childhood development of eczema, which affects about 10% of the U.S. population. Plus, according to the World Health Organization:
“EXPOSURE TO HARD WATER HAS BEEN SUGGESTED TO BE A RISK FACTOR THAT COULD EXACERBATE ECZEMA. THE ENVIRONMENT PLAYS AN IMPORTANT PART IN THE ETIOLOGY OF ATOPIC ECZEMA, BUT SPECIFIC CAUSES ARE UNKNOWN. NUMEROUS FACTORS HAVE BEEN ASSOCIATED WITH ECZEMA FLARE-UP, INCLUDING DUST, NYLON, SHAMPOO, SWEATING, SWIMMING AND WOOL (LANGAN, 2009). A SUGGESTED EXPLANATION RELATIVE TO HARD WATER IS THAT INCREASED SOAP USAGE IN HARD WATER RESULTS IN METAL OR SOAP SALT RESIDUES ON THE SKIN (OR ON CLOTHES) THAT ARE NOT EASILY RINSED OFF AND THAT LEAD TO CONTACT IRRITATION (THOMAS & SACH, 2000). THERE ARE REPORTS OF A RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN BOTH 1-YEAR AND LIFETIME PREVALENCE OF ATOPIC ECZEMA AND WATER HARDNESS AMONG PRIMARY-SCHOOL CHILDREN.”
HOW TO ADDRESS HARD WATER?
First and foremost, test your water. Testing for water hardness remains the only way to identify contaminant levels.
For help testing your home water, then contact a professional water treatment specialist.
In addition, for homes with hard water, then water softeners counteract the high mineral content. For example, properly installed water softeners improve water quality and efficiency. Softeners remove minerals through chemical softening, membrane separation softening or cation exchange softening. Typically, most homes rely on cation exchange softening for improving well or city water.
CONSIDER COSTCO FOR HARD WATER SOLUTIONS
At SolvIt, we take immense pride in our professionalism and customer service. As a result, we only work with the best product and partner with like-minded organizations. We are proud to partner and provide Costco water treatment solutions.
Costco offers tremendous water quality options, high quality products and partners with expert technicians. As a result, Costco members and homeowners receive trustworthy water quality solutions. For example, Costco understood the needs of its members and found a solution. As a warehouse retailer, there are a vast array of products and expertise. Therefore, Costco took the time and effort to research the best water treatment solutions.
From hard water to other impurities, the safety and reliability of our home water remains a priority. For example, did you know that nearly 85% of people in the U.S. have hard water?