You have probably heard of hard water, and how bad it is for you and your home. Hard water is common in many areas of the country, and it is indeed problematic for many areas of your home. It leaves spots and stains behind when you try to clean with it, it reduces the effectiveness of your appliances, and makes you use more energy because of those inefficient appliances. You certainly do not want to drink it, as it tastes terrible. So, how can you tell if your house has hard water, and what do you do about it?
Here are some signs that your house may have hard water:
Your dishes and glasses never look quite clean
Whether you wash them by hand or use the dishwasher, your dishes and glasses always have spots on them. They keep reappearing every time you try to wash them off, and eventually result in mineral build-up that you can’t wash off at all. You’ll have to replace your dishes and glasses to get them to be clean once more.
It’s the same way in your shower
You will get those same hard water spots on the walls and door of your shower (if your shower has a glass door). With repeated use, those spots become a white-ish film that just can’t be scrubbed away.
Your clothes are always dirty
This is true whether or not you wash them. Assuming you do wash your clothes, hard water will cling to them, making the clothes look dingy and dull. Sometimes, it can even leave noticeable stains on lighter colored or white clothing. If there is iron in your hard water, those stains may be yellow or orange, and they don’t wash out, ever. The only solution is to replace your clothing.
Your water bill is higher than it used to be
It usually gets higher every month, too. Unless you have a well, you are going to be paying more for water with hard water, because the minerals in hard water build up in your hot water heater and make it work harder. Eventually, it will break because of the hard water, and you will have to replace it.
It is obvious that hard water is an issue you want to take care of right away. So, how do you soften hard water?
Hard water isn’t something you can simply call your water provider and request to switch away from, because hard water is what is in your area’s water table. So, you have to change the hard water to soft. There are a few different ways you can do this at home.
If you want to soften your drinking water to make it taste better, you have to boil it. Take the amount of water you want to
drink, boil it for a few minutes in a clean pot, then transfer the boiled water to a clean container after you have let it cool. There is usually a white film at the bottom of the pot after boiling, because of the hard water minerals. Scrub the pot immediately to get as many of the minerals off of it as possible. Once the water is completely cooled in its container, get another empty one, and pour the water back and forth between the containers a few times. This re-oxygenates the water and makes it taste better.
If boiling water every time you want to drink it is a nuisance for you, get a filter to attach to your faucet, or one to put in a pitcher. When the water goes through the filter, the filter removes the minerals and makes the water taste good. Faucet and pitcher filters are generally inexpensive and effective at what they do.
If you want to soften the water in your shower, a filter will also do the trick. You can get bathtub filters for a tub faucet, as well as shower head filters. These filters will not only keep your tub and shower clean, they will make your hair shinier and your skin softer. This is because the minerals from hard water linger on your hair and skin after a bath or shower, making them dull and dry. A filter to soften your water will actually improve your appearance by keeping these mineral deposits off of you.
The minerals in hard water can sometimes smell bad at high temperatures, such as in the shower, so using a filter will also produce a more pleasant shower experience by eliminating the bad smell of the minerals.
Softening the water in your laundry is pretty simple. It involves putting a half cup of baking soda in your washing machine along with your clothes. Put the baking soda in first, and then your clothing. Add detergent as normal and wash as usual. The baking soda won’t remove the minerals, but it will make the water softer, and softer water cleans better. When it rinses your clothes, the softer water will take the minerals down the drain with it, instead of leaving it on your clothes. This way, your clothes will be cleaner.
Baking soda also helps clean your clothes because it is mildly abrasive, which removes dirt. This makes it both a water softener and a booster to your detergent.
If doing these things individually is too much trouble for you, you can always choose to soften the water in your entire house. This is done by installing a whole house water softener. Installing them and getting them to work properly on all of your faucets and water-using appliances is tricky, which is why they are usually installed by professional plumbers. You can purchase a whole house water softener at hardware stores and home improvement stores. Some plumbers have water softeners they prefer in stock and will sell them to you directly when they come to do the installation.
In fact, a plumber is the best choice for installing a water softener, because the plumber can test for which minerals are in your water, and choose a softener for you that is the best for your needs, based on those minerals. Not everyone with hard water has the same minerals, and the best water softeners specialize in which minerals they remove from your water. Your plumber can tell you the water softener that will work best at your house.
Finally, your plumber will instruct you on how to use and maintain your water softener. Most require little maintenance. If you are using one that requires salt or a cartridge, your plumber will let you know how often to put in new salt or to replace the cartridge. With a professional plumber, you will have the soft water you deserve, with no hassle.
If you are noticing signs of hard water in your home, call the professionals at Benjamin Franklin Plumbing. We serve Mendo Lake, CA and surrounding areas and have professional plumbers that are trained in diagnosing and treating hard water. Give us a call today at (707)-263-1629 or toll free at (877)-236-1776.