Hard water may not sound as ominous as iron, or as formidable as arsenic. But your hair, skin, plumbing and appliances may not
exactly agree with that assessment. In fact, almost anything
that uses water on a regular basis can suffer if hard water is in
the equation, and that is an all too common headache for well water
For water to be considered hard, it must have a high volume of
"hard" minerals, including calcium and magnesium. The level of
hardness is measured in grains per gallon (gpg) or milligrams per
liter (mg/L). Water that registers between 0-1 gpg is considered
soft; moderately hard water reads at 3.5-7 gpg; and any water with
gpg over 7 is classified hard to very hard.
Unfortunately, only about 15 percent of the water in the United
States falls into that soft category, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. So if you thought your water had
won the elemental lottery, the odds are not in your favor.
Untreated hard water can lead to:
- Dry skin and
- Clogged pipes
- Staining on
bathroom and kitchen surfaces
efficiency in water-using appliances, including dishwashers and
lifespan of laundry, including clothing and towels
This problem luckily has a very tried-and-true solution: water
softening. Culligan's water softener was first envisioned in 1936
when Emmett Culligan, the namesake of the worldwide water treatment
brand, needed to safely wash his newborn's cloth diapers. Necessity
was the mother (or in this case, the father) of invention, and
today an entire industry is devoted to treating problem water.
Water is softened when a "soft" mineral like sodium replaces the
calcium and magnesium, in a process called an "ion exchange." This exchange is facilitated by resin and
zeolite in the mineral tank of the softener, which attracts the
calcium and magnesium as the water passes through. The sodium ions
then replace those hard minerals thanks to a brine solution. The
result is soft water, and everyone rejoices.
Skin itchy after a shower? Towels always feeling scratchy?
Clothes fading faster than ever? Hard water could be hiding in your
Good thing the Culligan Man has the soft touch.