What Is Hard Water?

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What Is Hard Water?

We’ve all heard the phrase before, but just what is hard water? Hard water is water that contains a certain level of dissolved calcium, magnesium, and metallic elements. According to the Water Quality Association (WQA), the word “hard” as it applies to water originally referred to water that is hard to wash in. When you have hard water, the water wastes soap, by preventing it from lathering or sudsing properly.

Hard water also results in a buildup of scale, which is easily seen in a cooking pan that was filled with water. That white ring after boiling water? That’s hard water. The dissolved calcium and magnesium salts can also collect in your plumbing system and cause problems in your laundry room, kitchen, bathrooms, and hot water heater.

Water hardness is measured in grains per gallon (gpg) or (ppm) of calcium carbonate. The degree of hardness in water standard is set by the American Society of Agricultural Engineers and the WQA. The table below lays out the varying levels of water hardness:

Degree of Hardness Grains per Gallon (gpg) Ppm or (mg/L)
 Soft <1.0 <17.0
Slightly Hard 1.0-3.5 17.1-60
Moderately Hard 3.5-7.0 60-120
Hard 7.0-10.5 120-180
Very Hard >10.5 >180

And yes, according to EPCOR’s water quality reports, the entire Mohave County area has hard water to very hard water. This includes the Mohave, North Mohave and Willow Valley Water Districts.

Signs You Have Hard Water

There are a number of telltale signs you have hard water, including:

  • You have stiff, dingy laundry –especially towels, which may feel scratchy.
  • You have to use a lot of soap and detergent to get things clean.
  • Mineral deposits or rings show up on cookware, dishes, and glassware.
  • It requires extra effort to remove soap scum on bathtubs & shower stalls.
  • White scale builds up in sinks, bathtubs, showerheads, faucets & appliances.
  • Hard water with high iron content leaves red stains in your toilet.

Hard Water Is Not Dangerous  But Can Be Costly

Hard water is not necessarily bad for you, but it can cost you money. Some examples:

  • You must use approximately 50% more soap, detergent, and shampoo with hard water than with soft water. That’s an average of $450 a year
  • Heat loss in your water heater due to scale costs an extra $60 a year
  • The life of appliances such as water heaters, washing machines, and dishwashers can be reduced by several years if you have hard water

Water Treatment Can Resolve Hard Water Problems

The good news is there are water treatment systems that can resolve your hard water problems, and actually save you money in the long run. Certain water treatment systems can also alleviate concerns about potential contamination, and get rid of bad smelling or bad tasting water. A reverse osmosis system is one option to help eliminate potential contaminants. Whole house water filtration systems are another option. In our area, EPCOR adds chlorine to drinking water during the treatment process to kill bacteria and other contaminants.

At Plumbing By Jake, we have a lot of customers who have us install both a water treatment system and a water softener system at the same time. We have affordable water treatment systems and water softeners for any home. Give us a call at 928-377-5910 for a free estimate.

Will a Water Softener System Really Make A Difference?

In a word, yes!  A water softener system uses salt to create an electrical reaction in your water that pulls the hard minerals from the water. This means the water that comes out of your faucets is softened.

The difference between showering with hard water vs soft water is like night and day. When you take a bath or a shower with soft water for the first time, your skin may feel slippery, because all of the soap washes away. The same thing for your hair. With hard water, when you drain the tub after a bath, there’s a ring of yucky, scummy looking stuff. Hard water leaves a layer of that gunk on you, too!  But with soft water, there’s no ring in the tub, and your skin is hydrated and clean, with no residue.

And with soft water, you don’t have to worry about all of the soap scum buildup or scale building up on your dishes. Think of the money you will save by extending the life of your appliances, and by buying less soap, detergent, and shampoo. A water softener system could actually end up paying for itself.

Call Plumbing By Jake to Fix Your Hard Water Problems

Call 928-377-5910, or use our contact form to get more information on a water softener system for your home or business. At Plumbing By Jake, we back every system with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. We serve Kingman, Bullhead City, Golden Valley, Lake Havasu, and all of Mohave County, Arizona.