Life is hard enough without having to worry about whether your water is. Here are some simple answers to those hard water questions.
What is Hard Water, Exactly?
Hard water, simply put, is water with higher-than-average mineral content. What “average” is may depend heavily on your area (find out what the water is like near you) but generally refers to water with between 120-180 ppm of dissolved minerals like iron, calcium, manganese, or others. Typical freshwater can range between 15 and 385 ppm, though anything over 180 ppm is considered very hard.
What Causes Hard Water?
Geography has a lot to do with it – since water accrues its hardness passing through mineral deposits and sediment present in soil, the properties of your local water generally depend on the properties of the landscape around you. Mountains outside town known for their high iron or limestone content? There’s a good chance you’ll have dissolved minerals tagging along to your tap.
Infrastructure can also impact the mineral content and overall hardness of water by the time it reaches your faucets. For example, aging pipes and municipal water systems can leach iron or magnesium into water as it travels through the system.
How Can I Tell if I Have Hard Water?
There are a few easy ways to tell if your water is hard, and while you’ll probably need an expert water test to determine the extent, signs that things may be harder than normal can be relatively simple to spot:
Limescale buildup on fixtures and drains
Reddish color or stains left on sinks and tubs
Scratchy laundry or dry skin
Soap that doesn’t lather easily or requires a large amount to do so
Taste, odor, or feel that’s “off”
What Can I Do to Fix it?
The solution depends on what bothers you most about your hard water. If there’s a taste or odor that’s bothersome while other hard water symptoms aren’t as big a deal, an under-sink or other point-of-use filter provides treatment where you’re most commonly drinking and using water.
If it’s the scratchy laundry or the burned-out dishwasher or residue all over your coffee maker you just can’t stand, then a whole-home water treatment solution will be able to target the source of your problems. The best way to know for sure is to have a Culligan Man test your water, so once you know how hard it is – and what exactly is making it that way – you can discuss the best option(s) for addressing it.