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Hard vs Soft Water: Effects On Our Homes, and On Us

Water: Hard vs Soft

Your Home Is Affected By Your Water: Hard vs Soft?

When it comes to our water, it’s important to understand the effects it has on our homes, and on us. Your home water can have significant effects on the condition of your plumbing system, your appliances—and your body. Hard versus soft water effects on our homes—and on us—come down to what type of water you have flowing through your pipes. But, how do you determine the best water for your house, family, and plumbing system?

Hard Water vs Soft Water: Which is Better For Us?

Water is not created equal. First, let’s examine the major differences between hard versus soft water. There are pros and cons to both hard water and soft water:

Hard Water = Harsh

Untouched by chemical processes; close to drinking rainfall water. Hard water seeps through the ground, where it’s  filtered by natural mineral deposits and stones prior to reaching your tap.

Benefits: The inclusion of minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and iron in hard water intake can be beneficial in fighting and preventing certain heart and cardiovascular diseases.

Soft Water = Gentle

Soft water is more desirable; kinder on appliances, and on us.

Benefits: Water is used to hydrate, cleanse, and nurture our bodies. And, water is used for almost everything we do, so most people find it essential to invest in a water softener for our homes. Because natural minerals are absent from soft water, drinking hard water can be beneficial on us, but not so much on our appliances.

“In terms of consumption, experts suggest that hard water is far superior to soft water. However, the benefits of soft water can not be ignored. Using a water softener with a water bypass valve system. This allows hard water to flow to certain areas so that it can be used for cooking and drinking purposes. If not, then other sources of water should be located, such as bottled water.”Water Softener Critic

Water: Hard vs Soft

Water Effects On Your Plumbing System

Hard water can damage your home and appliances much like it affects your body. The same way it corrodes your body is the way it interacts with your plumbing, appliances or drain pipes.

Hard Water Can Wreck Appliances

If your appliances have failed well before their time, it could very well be because of the type of water you have. If you’ve ever blamed it on an appliance and had to call a service tech to repair your dishwasher way too soon, or if you had a water leak all over the basement floor from a water heater, you may blame it on the appliance itself. Haven’t we all said that they just don’t make appliances like they used to?

In many cases, the problem is hard water.

Calcium and magnesium are for healthy bones, but are not good news for appliances in your home. Those minerals are what make water hard and are responsible for mineral deposits and what’s called as scale buildup.

Scale from hard water can cause plumbing problems, damaging your water absorbing appliances, placing them at risk for unnecessary wear and tear. These vital appliances become less effective until they eventually break beyond repair.

Water softeners remove hard minerals, and treated water doesn’t leave behind the scaly buildup that harms appliances. In addition, softened water allows for less detergent usage, as well as running appliances at lower temperatures—preventing overtaxing your equipment and reducing negative water pollutants on the environment.

“Detergent use dropped by 50% in washing machines with soft water, and you could save as much as 70% on dishwasher detergent. With softened water, tests showed washing machines could run with a water temperature of 60 degrees instead of 100 degrees and still remove tough stains. Depending on the stain, eliminating the hardness in water could improve removal by 100%.” Water Right Group

The Water Quality Association (WQA) revealed a WQA study examining the impact of hard water on typical appliances.

Water Quality Association

Chart: Battelle Study

High Efficiency Appliances And Hard Water

If you’ve purchased costly high efficiency appliances they can cut back on energy and save money in the long run. However, if hard water is used in high efficiency appliances, efficiency decreases in dramatic records.

With soft water or treated water, appliances like dishwashers and washing machines can retain their original factory efficiency rating.

Plumbing And Water Heaters: Hard Water vs Soft Water

“According to the Department of Energy, heating water accounts for 14% to 18% of the energy costs in your home, and it could be as high as 25%.”United States Department of Energy

If your home has hard water, and you have a gas water heater, electric water heater, or tankless water heater they may not last as long. In fact, second to your furnace, your water heater is second in home energy use. So, you’ll want to keep it running smooth.

When using soft water, an efficient water heater can save you almost 30% per year on water heating costs, maintaining their proficiency for as long as fifteen (15) years. Scaly hard water buildup will cause a shivering shower experience, and you’ll most likely need to invest in a new machine in half the time.Water: Hard vs Soft

Water: Hard vs Soft

Hard Water Effects On Us; Our Bodies, Skin, Hair, And Nails

Hard water can be harsh on your home and your appliances, but these minerals can be affecting you and your family’s health. Meaning, your shower experience can change based on the type of water you have at your home. Squeaky clean is not necessary squeaky or clean. Unfortunately, the  marketing claim of ‘squeaky clean’ can result in serious skin conditions like cracking, flaking, and even eczema. And, no lotion in the world can help what hard water does to our bodies.

The water that pours out your faucet flows on your skin when you shower, wash your hands, clean and cook. The white soap scum from hard water that you see on your fixings also accumulates on your body—your skin, hair, and nails. The natural oils of your body, which are distributed through your skin pores become clogged by an excess of minerals in your water. These natural oils get trapped, causing dryness, skin blemishes, or even acne.

If you have hard water concerns in your home, you might notice your hair feels straw-like and coated. Because of the effects of hard water, your hair becomes unmanageable. Less responsiveness in your locks is attributed to a buildup of brassy minerals. Minerals combine with your shampoo (expensive or not), causing a lack of sudsy lather. As a result, hard water helps form a substance that sticks to your hair, similar to how stubborn soap scum adheres to the walls of your shower. Ick!

Temporary Tips For Hard Water Effects On Us

Clarifying Shampoo

Use one (1) or two (2) times per month, this type of shampoo clears hair of stubborn residue and mineral buildup

Distilled White Vinegar Rinse

Because vinegar is acidic, vinegar works to remove buildup of minerals from hair.

Filtered Or Purified Water Rinse

Protect your hair with a final rinse from purified or distilled water in the shower. While not a permanent solution to hard water in your home, these ideas may resolve unruly hair from excessive mineral buildup.

Water: Hard vs SoftProtect You And Your Family With A Water Softener

For long lasting  results, consider installing a water softener. Water softeners remove minerals in your home’s water, softening your water for smooth, clear skin and silky, manageable hair. Soft water requires fewer rinses and less soap to achieve optimal hair results, maintaining its color and condition longer and balancing its pH level.

A water softener prevents us from feeling the harsh effects of hard water. Strong nails—an extension of your skin, is also a positive effect of soft water. And, soft water can reduce topical skin troubles such as dryness and eczema.

Installing a water softener allows your water to be kinder to your skin. It’s gentler and leaves your skin almost slippery, giving you a natural sheen like it’s supposed to. This feeling might feel foreign to our skin because we’ve been so used to the soap scum buildup that has accumulated on the skin’s surface. Using soft water allows your skin to feel like it’s supposed to. Soft water can make your skin feel  like silk.  

Of course soft water is not the cure for serious medical conditions. However, it can help the common conditions that dry skin causes.

Considering A Water Softener?

Call your trusted plumber in Metro Detroit to inspect your home and discuss how your water affects your home and YOU. Call WaterWork Plumbing today: 248-542-8022 to schedule an appointment.

Water: Hard vs Soft

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