How Hard Water Damages Plumbing
Hard water is a problem many Florida homeowners don't think about. As long as the water is clean, it's fine, right? Unfortunately, there's more to it than that. Here's a closer look at hard water and how it might be damaging your home's plumbing.
What Is Hard Water?
Hard water is any water that has higher than average amounts of magnesium, calcium, and other metals. While hard water is completely safe to drink, it can wreak havoc on your home's pipes and appliances.
So just how many minerals does water need to have before it is classified as hard? The United States Geological Survey (USGS) has created a scale that measures the milligrams of calcium carbonate per liter of water:
- Soft water is 0 to 60 mg/L.
- Moderately hard water is 61 to 120 mg/L.
- Hard water is 121 to 180 mg/L.
- Very hard water is anything over 181 mg/L.
Parts of North Florida Have the Hardest Water in the Continental US
Using USGS guidelines, most of the water in Florida is classified as hard. Why is this?
Scientists attribute it to the high amounts of underground limestone deposits throughout the state. As rainwater falls to the ground in North Florida, it filters through the limestone, which then dissolves and is absorbed into the water. This transforms the soft water into hard water, which then flows into your home's pipes.
How Hard Water Affects Your Plumbing
What happens once hard water hits your pipes? As you use hard water, mineral deposits from the calcium and magnesium accumulate on the interior of each pipe. This scum is extremely hard to remove, leads to low water pressure, and can cause a 25 percent increase in your energy bills. Eventually, this scum can completely clog your plumbing.
Hard water can also affect the lifespan of certain appliances. When hard water flows through your dishwasher or refrigerator, it clogs up these devices, causing irreparable damage.
How Hard Water Affects Your Health
Thankfully, hard water does not have any effects on your health.
However, the same hard water deposits that build up on your plumbing can build up on the outside of your body, creating dry, dull, and scaly skin and hair. When you bathe, you might have difficulty washing all the shampoo and soap off you. You may even have to use more soap to create the right amount of suds, which can further dry out your skin.
While lotioning up and using a moisturizing conditioner can partially correct these issues, it's far easier to tackle the problem at the source by eliminating your hard water.
Solutions for Hard Water
Luckily, there are several easy solutions to help soften your water.
The most common option is to invest in a whole-home water softener to filter water before it enters your home from your municipal's water supply. This system collects excess minerals before they enter your home so that your pipes aren't affected.
Another option is a reverse osmosis water treatment system. Many people like this system because it removes all impurities from your water, not just excess minerals.