How to Tell if You Have Hard Water


The upper Midwest has some of the hardest water in the United States. Since Detroit is included in this area, it is important to know the signs of hard water as well as how to deal with this common problem.

Read on to learn more about hard water and how it can affect your everyday life.

What Is Hard Water?

The amount of magnesium and calcium in your water determines whether your water is soft or hard. The more of these minerals, the harder your water will be. On the other hand, soft water contains higher amounts of minerals such as sodium.

Signs of Hard Water

Since you can’t measure the amount of magnesium and calcium in your own water easily, it is important to recognize the signs that you are dealing with hard water. Here are just a few.

Filmy Hands After Washing

If you feel a film on your hands after washing them, then you may have hard water. Soap reacts with high calcium levels and forms scum that can stay on your hands after washing.

Calcium also reacts with shampoo, which can cause a film to develop on your hair. This prevents moisture from getting to your hair and can make it weak and dry. 

Low Water Pressure

Hard water can cause mineral deposits to form in your pipes, which can block water from coming out of faucets and shower heads. If you notice your water pressure dropping, then you may want to test your home for hard water.

Itchy or Irritated Skin

Washing your face or body with hard water can clog your pores and cause your skin to become itchy or irritated. If you find yourself overly itchy with no explanation, then your water could be to blame.

This can also cause pre-existing skin conditions such as acne, rosacea, psoriasis, and eczema to become worse. Reducing the calcium and magnesium in your water is better for your skin, especially if it is sensitive.

Detergent Not Removing Stains

Have your stains not been coming out of your clothes even after a full cycle in the washing machine? Hard water can prevent detergent from lathering and therefore prevent stains from coming out of your clothing. Calcium and magnesium can also cause the colors in your fabrics to fade quickly.

Hard water can also affect the washing of your dishes. If you notice white spots on your silverware or a cloudy film on your glassware and dishes, then hard water could be the culprit.

Appliances Not Running Properly

In addition to hard water clogging pipes, it can also cause erosion inside of your appliances. This can cause appliances to run slowly or even stop working altogether.

One appliance that may be affected is your coffee maker. If you notice white spots on your coffee maker, then this could indicate a buildup of calcium. If left untreated, this can cause your coffee maker to brew slowly or stop brewing completely.

Mineral Buildup on Faucets and Shower Heads

If you notice crusty, white mineral deposits on your faucets or shower heads, then you probably have a hard water problem. Over time, these deposits can accumulate and prevent water from coming out of the openings.

There are special cleaners you can use that are meant to break down calcium and prevent these deposits from forming.

Signs of Soft Water

On the other hand, there are also a few signs of healthy, soft water that you can look out for. If you notice a good lather when you are washing your hair, hands, and clothes, then you probably have soft water.

Clothes and dishes that come out of the washer clean and spot-free also indicate a healthy level of calcium and magnesium in your water. In addition to this, you will also have a strong water pressure level.

Some people even report a slight salty taste in their drinking water, which would indicate a healthy amount of sodium.

Is Hard Water Dangerous?

Hard water does not have any known effects on your health if you drink it. However, it can present problems for your appliances, skin, hair, and water and electric bills. If you have pre-existing conditions with your skin or hair, then you will want to take care of any hard water issues immediately. 

How to Fix Hard Water

There are a few temporary fixes to reduce the effects of hard water on your health and your home. You can invest in cleaning products that are meant to break down calcium and magnesium. You can also run vinegar through your coffee machine to clean it out.

There are also certain products that are made to eliminate the effects of hard water on your hair and skin.

While these solutions may work temporarily, your best bet is to call a Detroit plumber to install a water softener. This is a more permanent fix that requires little extra effort on your end.

A water softening system works to filter out the hard minerals in your water and allows the softened water to run through your pipes and out of your faucets, shower heads, and appliances.

Take Care of Your Hard Water Issues Today

If you suspect that your home has hard water, then you may want to consider water softener installation. This is a fairly easy process that can be done by your local plumber.

The experts at WaterWork Plumbing are always here to answer any of your questions or concerns. Feel free to contact us today for any of your water softening or other plumbing needs.