Did you know that according to the 2014 U.S. Geological Survey, 85% of American homes have issues with hard water or have had issues with hard water in the past? Hard water is caused by large quantities of mineral deposits, such as calcium and magnesium, in your water supply. While you might unintentionally overlook mild cases of hard water buildup, any amount of hard water buildup can affect your home. Here are some of the most common effects of hard water buildup — and what you can do to take action yourself before contacting water treatment professionals.
Visible Mineral Buildup
Problem: White film on water fixtures
One of the most common problems associated with hard water buildup is also one of the most common ways people realize they have hard water in the first place: a white film on their faucets, sink basins, showerheads, and more. This comes from the minerals in hard water collecting as the water dries on your fixtures, leaving a film of debris. Not only is it unpleasant to look at, but it also requires much more frequent cleaning, can damage metal over a long time, and will keep reappearing unless the problem is dealt with at the source.
Solution: Vinegar treatment
If you find yourself scrubbing away at the film on your water fixtures, leave small fixtures in a solution of 1 part water and 3 parts distilled apple cider vinegar or white vinegar overnight to clear up some of the buildup. You can also use this vinegar solution to clean other filmy surfaces more effectively.
Foul-Smelling or Tasting Water
Problem: Your water smells or tastes unpleasant
If your water smells or tastes different than you’re used to, high mineral content may be to blame.
Solution: Home water softening systems
Invest in a home water softening system to bring back soft water that is safer for you and your family to drink, not to mention easier on your stomachs and noses.
Problem: Your pipes are frequently clogged
If your pipes are clogged more often than you’re used to, or you find your drains moving extremely slowly, it could be hard water causing your problems. As if these mineral deposits weren’t annoying enough already, they can seriously clog pipes.
Solution: Have your water quality analyzed
When pipes are clogged due to hard water buildup, the water can easily be tested for the minerals that could be the culprit. Before rushing to phone the plumber over slow drains, get your water tested to identify the source of your issues and see if water treatment might be right for your household.
Poor Water Pressure
Problem: Your showerhead seems to be weaker by the day
If your showers have become more frustrating than refreshing, it sounds like you might be suffering from poor water pressure. Hard water buildup can do a number on the insides of your showerheads, and water may be blocked from coming out because of this buildup.
Solution: Remove and clean shower fixtures
Do some basic research on removing your showerhead or fixtures, then soak the offending appliance in the same vinegar solution as you’d use to clean the appliances covered in the white film mentioned earlier. This will help remove some of the buildup. If you constantly have this problem, consider replacing your showerhead with a more high-efficiency model, but be warned that showerheads aren’t built to withstand hard water over long periods. You may benefit more from professional water softener solutions.
Problem: Your clean laundry comes out of the washer still dirty
Hard water is notorious for doing damage to your clothes. Believe it or not, even though you can’t see them with the naked eye, tiny particles of calcium and magnesium rough up your clothes in the spin cycle, causing damage over time. It also makes laundry detergent less effective, meaning you spend more to do less.
Solution: Laundry additives (within reason)
While it’s still best to look into home water softening systems to promote your washing machines’ health over time, some laundry additives such as borax can help get your laundry extra-clean even if you have a hard water buildup problem. Another pro tip: Switch to liquid detergent instead of powder as it can cut through hard water easier.
Higher Utility Bills
Problem: Your water utility bills have skyrocketed.
Did you know that 29% more energy is used to heat your water over the life of your water heater if you have hard water? That cost isn’t one you want to pay. Hard water is also much harder on your appliances — anything from your hot water heater to your washing machine can have its lifespan cut down significantly due to the damage caused by hard water.
Solution: Get a home water softening system installed
In order to protect not just your home but the investments you’ve made into your pricey appliances, get a home water softening system installed. This is a task best handled by the pros, so contact them as soon as you can if you suspect hard water is increasing your water bills and/or damaging your appliances.
Stained Sinks and Tubs
Problem: You keep finding rust stains or soap scum in your sink or tub
Soap scum builds up because hard water inhibits your soap’s ability to actually clean yourself — or your sink or tub. It can even end up in unexpected places such as your grout lines or shower doors. Even worse, hard water can rust pipes, meaning you end up with brown or red stains in your tub or sink. Yuck!
Solution: Get in touch with the pros
Unfortunately, signs of rusting pipes might indicate hard water is doing serious damage to your plumbing. Soap scum also indicates that your hard water buildup problem is serious, and your shower isn’t getting you nearly as clean as you’d like. Get in touch with water treatment professionals ASAP.
Take the Leap: Get a Water Softener Today!
If you’re on the fence about getting a water softener because you haven’t noticed these problems caused by hard water buildup, keep in mind that it’s probably only a matter of time. Start protecting yourself now and skip worrying if you’re among the 85% of American homeowners dealing with hard water! Contact us today and let us help make your water as fresh and clean as you and your family deserve.