If the glass and metal surfaces in your kitchen are speckled with water spots, you may have a hard water problem. In this blog, Palo Alto Plumbing Heating & Air discusses how a water softener can help with this problem.
What Is Hard Water?
Hard water is water with a high mineral content, which happens when groundwater passes through mineral deposits. The minerals found in hard water are typically calcium and magnesium. When hard water is left to dry on metal or glass, it forms water spots that can be difficult to remove. It also forms white scaly deposits known as limescale inside water heating equipment like boilers and kettles.
Hard water can also form mineral deposits on pipes and lines that connect to plumbing and heating systems, which can lead to clogging. In addition, hard water exacerbates galvanic corrosion in metal pipes. Galvanic corrosion occurs when a certain type of metal comes into contact with another, resulting in corrosion.
While hard water has no known adverse health effects—the United States National Research Council even considers hard water to be a dietary supplement due to the calcium and magnesium content—it has been known to cause itching of the skin, as well as eczema in children. Hard water also makes it difficult to use soap and detergent effectively.
How Water Softeners Work
There are many ways to soften hard water, such as adding lime or certain types of acid (as chelating agents), distilling the water or subjecting it to reverse osmosis. While these methods can be fairly effective, they’re unfortunately not suitable for home use.
This is where a water softening system comes in. Water softeners take out the excess calcium and magnesium ions using ion exchange resins. The unwanted minerals will then be flushed from the system, resulting in “soft” water. Water softening systems can be integrated into existing plumbing. Water heaters, both tank and tankless versions, can benefit from the reduced mineral levels.
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