Did you recently move into a new home and think maybe something isn’t quite right when it comes to your water? Maybe it tastes funny. Or perhaps you’re noticing a lot of spots on your dishes. If you think something may be wrong with the water in your home, your water’s hardness may be the culprit.
Water hardness varies across the country. While many people who grew up in Arizona don’t know anything different, if you’re from areas like the east coast or the northwest this could be a new experience for you. Water hardness is determined by the source. If minerals are present in the soil around a water supply well, the water may dissolve the minerals and carry them to the groundwater supply. Water hardness is measured by looking at the amount of calcium carbonate in the water, based on milligrams per liter. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, some of the hardest waters have been measured in Texas, New Mexico, Kansas, Arizona, and southern California.
If you’re new to the Phoenix area and are unsure if you have hard water, here are some signs to watch out for.
Symptoms of Hard Water
If you have hard water, you are most likely experiencing negative effects. Common signs of hard water are:
- Dry, itchy skin
- Dull, filmy hair after showering
- Soap that won’t lather
- Dull laundry
- Mineral deposits on faucets and fixtures
Why Does Hard Water Have Negative Effects
Hard water negatively impacts other aspects of your life, especially anything connected to cleaning, due to the high mineral content. When used with hard water, soap combines with the minerals to form sticky soap curd. This curd leaves scum in your shower, makes your hair grimey, and causes your skin to become dry and irritated. Some synthetic detergents are less effective in hard water because the active ingredient is partially inactivated by minerals that create hardness, even though the detergent stays dissolved.
In addition to making it hard to remove all dirt and germs, the soap curd created by hard water can stop skin from returning to its normal, slightly acid condition, which may lead to skin irritation.
When it comes to laundry, the soap curds lodge in fabric, making clothing stiff and rough against the skin. This can also dull colors of clothing and make them wear out faster.
How to Eliminate Hard Water
The only proven way to eliminate hard water in your home is to use a water softener. Water softeners contain polystyrene beads that are bonded to positively charged sodium ions. When water passes through the water softener, the water’s magnesium and calcium ions swap with the sodium ions from the beads. The result is water that can lather and that won’t clog your pipes. Water softeners can soften water throughout your home.
Before you decide you need a water softener, though, you need to know if you have hard water. If you suspect something is off about your water, complete our comprehensive checklist below to see if you have the symptoms of hard water.
How to Tell If You Have Hard Water (Checklist)
If you’re new to the Phoenix area and are experiencing negative effects of your water, water hardness may be the culprit. Check off these symptoms of hard water to determine if you need to consider a water softener.
- Mineral buildup around fixtures: Are you seeing white spots around faucets?
- Soap Scum: No matter how often you clean the tub, is there still soapy residue on the walls and curtain?
- Water heater elements failing: Is your shower not heating up? Hard water deposits can build up on the heating element, eventually causing it to short out.
- Dry skin: Does your skin feel drier since you moved into your new home?
- Itchy skin: Are you experiencing itchiness?
- Dull clothing: Are your clothes fading in color suddenly?
- Clothing that doesn’t feel clean: When your clothes come out of the dryer, does it feel like they’ve been rinsed correctly or are they stiff and rough?
- Need to use more soap to get a lather: When washing dishes, your hands, or your hair, do you find yourself using more soap?
- Flat, dull hair: Has the volume and shine of your hair changed suddenly?
- Dry hair: Is your hair getting proper hydration?
- Spots on dishes: After the dishes are clean, do they have white spots or stains on them?
- Odor to water: Does your water have a smell?
- Taste to water: Is there a metallic or dirt-like taste to your water?
- Wear and tear to appliances: Are your appliances performing optimally or are they wearing out sooner than expected?
- Clogged fixtures or pipes: Are pipes clogging? This could be due to mineral deposits.
- Low flow from water fixtures: If your faucet is slow, it may be affected by mineral deposits
- Skin feels “squeaky clean”: The squeaky sensation is caused by grime that isn’t washing away in your shower. Soft water feels slippery.
If you checked off some of these, your new home may have hard water. Consult the water softening experts at Clear Water Concepts for a full water evaluation.