Is Hard Water in Your Home? Be Aware of Potential Health Issues and Other Household Complications
Water is considered “hard” when it has above a standard level of dissolved minerals in it, most especially calcium and magnesium. The degree of hard water depends on the milligrams per liter or parts per million of combined calcium and magnesium ions in the water. We can provide you with a free water test so that you can discover what’s truly in your water.
What Hard Water Does in the Home.
Most of the time people worry about this because the minerals eventually come out of solution and build up on pipes and plumbing fixtures. Hard water also reduces the effectiveness of soaps and detergents. All cleaning tasks can be affected.
- Clothing washed in hard water never get the full benefit of the laundry detergent which can’t dissolve the minerals in the water so clothing washed in hard water may appear partially unwashed. They may look dingy and feel harsh and scratchy.
- Hard water minerals which are not dissolved the dishwasher may leave a film or spots and dishes.
- Hard water minerals come out of solution on shower doors, faucets and surfaces in sinks, and bathtub walls.
- Pipes may eventually fill up with dissolved salts and solids from hard water and need to be cleaned or replaced.
- The mixture of soap combined with the minerals in hard water changes the consistency of soap. Soap forms a sticky soap curd.
- The failure of soap in hard water washing may leave unhealthy deposits on skin because the soap does not sufficiently dissolve substances on the skin.
Where is Hard Water Most Likely Found.
The likelihood of hard water depends on geography, the makeup of the soil. In the United States, soil conditions that cause hard water cover some 85 percent of the land. The level of hard water is generally lower in the east coast areas of the United States, except for most of Florida. The northwest of the United States has relatively low levels of hard water. The situation is worse in the upper Midwestern states and some areas of Texas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico.
Hard Water and Health.
Even high levels of hard water have actually been found to have health benefits. The National Research Council has found that hard drinking water can contribute calcium and magnesium to the diet and may benefit the heart and even lower the risk of gastric cancers.
However, substances in hard water can also cause a range of disorders called “disorders of mineral metabolism.” These disorders occur when the substances in the water interfere with the storage and metabolism of important dietary components. One-tenth of the population of the world (about 884 million) drinks hard water which is thought to cause cardiovascular problems, diabetes, reproductive failure, nerve diseases, and kidney problems. Often the diseases are not caused by the calcium and magnesium that define hard water, but by other minerals like aluminum, barium, strontium, iron, zinc, and manganese that are also found in hard water.
There are some skin conditions that are correlated with hard water. Many of these skin conditions have to do with the failure of cleaning products in hard water. The high metal and mineral content of hard water are transferred to the skin after using the hard water for washing and laundry. These substances can cause acne, cracking dry skin, or more serious problems like dermatitis or eczema. Hard water washing can also exacerbate existing conditions. The minerals and the soap curd that appear on clothing and on the body after washing with hard water can clog pores in the skin and prevent skin from getting the proper moisture level. The ineffectiveness of soaps and detergents in hard water reduces the level of cleanliness in people where soap does not effectively lather to reduce greases.
Passaic Bergen Water Softening educates the public about how water quality affects the quality of life, diagnoses each customer’s water problems, and advises customers as to the best equipment available to treat their individualized water needs. Please contact us to learn more.