Water is one nature's most precious gift, and the ability to have access to healthy water is one of every individual's essential priorities. However, most regions of the world have been blessed with different types of water- whether hard water or soft water.
The difference is their mineral content. While hard water contains a lot of dissolved minerals like calcium, magnesium, sulfite, and in other cases, the presence of iron, manganese, etc. soft water does not. However, hard water is not harmful but can be very dangerous if consumed and used regularly.
However, to attain a safe and healthy lifestyle, this article will lead you on how to soften hard water for your everyday usage. But firstly, let us understand the basis of hard water.
What is Hard Water?
Hard water is any water that has a significant amount of minerals like limestone, gypsum, or other chemical impurities of bicarbonate, sulfates, and different magnesium or carbon carbonates. The most prevalent hard water components are magnesium and calcium.
It is formed when a high percentage of these salts dissolved in the water either from the source(reservoirs) or from pipes during water transfer. But, there is no need to worry; there are ways to soften hard water.
Is It Wrong to Take Hard Water?
Drinking hard water has not been proven to be detrimental, except when taking in large quantities. According to the National Research Council, hard water can complement calcium and magnesium in the human diet.
However, the consumption of hard water has led to various reproductive system malfunctions, skin dysfunction like rashes, eczema, etc., high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, etc.
Impact of Hard Water in Daily Life?
The effect of living on hard water varies regularly from not just your health but the physical morphology of an individual to how it alters and damages your entire home appliances. Here are a few prominent examples of the causes of hard water
1. Impact on Skin and Hair
Have you ever felt your skin is dry or itchy? Or have your lurchy and moisturized skin and hair suddenly become firm, dry, and scanty? You may think that it's a result of the lack of hair and body moisturizer. But do you know that the water you use also contributes to a considerable extent, this could be as a result of the hard water?
Most people believe that hard water quickly removes soapy feeling from their body or hair when washing than soft water. It is untrue as hard water leaves a film on the surface of your skin because of its positively charged ion; this ion reacts with the fatty acid from the soap forming insoluble substances that do not clean fast. This insoluble lime substance is what amounts to result in dry skin and itchy hair and fil surrounding hair follicles.
2. Impacts on Pipes and Appliances
In the long run, hard water on pipes can lead to a reduction in the flow of water or water pressure in showers, tap, etc. That's not all. It also leads to the inefficiency of home appliances like washing machines, coffee makers, dishwashers as well as water heaters. Also, hard water causes dots on kitchen wares like glasses, ceramics, etc. after washing.
3. Uses More Soaps and Detergents
Because of the calcium and magnesium ion present in hard water, it makes it challenging to foam quickly when in use. It causes individuals to buy and use more soaps and detergents than usual.
How to Know if You Have Hard Water?
Realizing the kind of water you have can be quite challenging, but here are some few tips of hard water:
1.Presence of Scum
You will feel and see the presence of scum around your sink, during, and after washing dishes or clothes. It can be a bit hard to notice if you are not using a dishwasher or washing machine. Also, washing your hands to remove scum may take a bit longer than expected.
2. Presence of Dots on Kitchen Wares
After using the dishwasher, there will be the presence of dots of calcium carbonates present on your glass or ceramics.
3. Quick Wearing Off of Cloth
Another indicator of hard water is that your clothes will tend to wear off fast due to the concentration of the minerals in hard water.
4. Low Water Pressure
If you have hard water, shortly, you will begin to realize that the flow of your water will reduce due to the presence of mineral deposits that usually accumulates on the sides of the water pipe if this mineral does not stop the flow of water.
The Process of Water Softening
Having hard water in your home is not all bad. Thank goodness for the various means that have been put in place to rectify and change hard water to soft water. Here are some ways of softening hard water:
The ion exchange water softening process functions by exerting water through an ionic basin. The basin gis coated with resin beads that act as a medium for extracting the hardness minerals - calcium and magnesium ion - and replacing them with sodium and potassium ions.
However, the process sustenance is through recreating new softening ions that replace the ones that have been used and expelling the replaced hard water ions. This technique is also capable of expending other iron contents of water.
2. Template Assisted Crystallization (TAC) or Nucleation Assisted Crystallization (NAC)
This type of water softener can be used both softening water at home and for commercial purposes. It is done by using little ceramic polymer beads as a medium or site for collecting calcium and magnesium. These microscopic beads act as anchors that trap these hard water ions. However, when these clusters are collected, they are stored as nano-clusters and expelled from the bead when water flows. This system saves the hard water ions as soft scales that are stable and insoluble, which makes them more expendable from the water unit. However, this method involves lower maintenance and produces better water quality.
3. Chelation Systems
The chelation system is known as a water conditioning system rather than a water softening system because it changes the state of the hardness ion rather than removing them. It is mostly used for commercial purposes. This softening hard water system is almost similar to the ion-exchange method except that it doesn't expel hardness ions. However, it changes their ionic charge and weakens and inert the activating power of the hardness ion through the use of a polyphosphate filled cartridge. This makes the water beneficial to health.
4. Magnetic or Electronic Water Softener
The magnetic water softener process functions by passing water through a magnetic field, which drags out the hard water ion. This system makes it difficult for calcium or magnesium to form scales before the water gets to the pipe of your home. However, they do not altogether remove the hard water ions.
5. Reverse Osmosis System
This form of softening hard water removes water impurities by forcing it under pressure through a series of excellent filters to a molecular structure.
6. Showerhead Filter
The shower head water softener is a shower system that takes out various minerals such as chlorine, fluorine, and other harmful chemical substances by adding vitamins A & C, reducing the concentration of unhealthy ions, etc.
7. Demand Initiated Regeneration System
This is one of the best ways to soften water. The demand-initiated regeneration system helps in the recreation of water when the water valve rates the volume of the remaining water. There is a meter control attached to the system which is sensitive to the degree of hard water that passes through it. This valve starts regenerating water when the meter sends a signal to begin the process. The regeneration entails attracting brine, rinsing, and backwashing, which brings about the whole system of servicing and softening water stream.
However, the demand initiated regeneration system varies with the volume content of the tank and the length of regeneration periods. But, other methods have two softening tanks. So, one can be in use while the other regenerates. This type of water softening system helps to ensure every drop of water is treated.
Do You Need to Avoid Hard Water?
The health benefits of hard water can be calculated by the impact of it on every individual. However, avoidance of hard water is due to some of its harmful effects like:
- Causing stains
- Alter the taste of tea or coffee
- It blocks pipes and reduces water flow
- Causes dry hair and skin
- Reduces the lifespan of home appliances
- Tarnishes the looks of kitchen wares
- Kills the texture of clothes
Problems caused by hardness in water
As hard water will not unhealthy, it may cause some costly problems. The main issue is scaling that precipitation of the minerals to create rock hard deposit called limescale.
The scale can store inside the pipes and may decrease the life span of toilet units up to 70% and 40% for water taps.
This may store inside coffee or tea pot, clog and ruin the water heater. For home use, it will take more soap and synthetic detergent for washing and laundry. The conditioning water will take half of soap to clean something.
Soap combine and hard water create Soap scum which can not be washed off, creating a bathtub ring on all surfaces and it will dry leaving unsightly spot over the dishes.
While using soap on the body with hard water cause the storage of scum that is known as curd. The curd or scum is the cause of magnesium and insoluble calcium salts available in the soap.
The curd remains on the skin though you wash it well, coating body or clogging pores. They can be used as a medium to grow bacteria and cause minor skin irritation, nappy rash, dry skin and continuous inches.
Though you use the shampoo regularly, there will remain some insoluble salts in hard water that are hard to untangle or remove.
Hard water creates scaling on the cooling towers, boilers, and the other industrial equipment in the industry.
So Water hardness should be monitored to escape from the costly breakdowns. Hardness can be removed by adding chemicals or by great scale softening with zeolite resins. The presence of calcium means hard water.
Types of water hardness
This indicates hardness which effects may be alternated by boiling water in the open container.
Limestone formations percolate this kind of water or contain bicarbonate HCO3- with some amount of carbonate CO32 as the main ions. Boiling water enhances the reaction.
2 HCO3– → CO32– + CO2
By eliminating the carbon dioxide gas. The CO32 does function with Ca2+ Mg2 + ions, to create magnesium carbonates and calcium carbonates that precipitate out. The result is to form soap scum will be reduced significantly.
The water which has sulfate nad chloride and impossible to remove by boiling is called the permanently hard water. The only softness system is to eliminate ions from water, by the method stated below.
How to soften hard water at home
Surely, the long term solution to solve the hard water of your home is to use the water softener, and you may start with arranging a free no obligation house demonstration to suit for you. We will begin as we can, but in the meantime, there are some ways to start with the water softening hard water and reduce the damage or irritation to your house today.
Boil water before use
Boil water first before trying to use it. It will be better to make the water soften before you like to use it for cleaning teeth, cooking food or drinking. Otherwise, they will create more scale on the teeth. If you boil water, you will see impurities or scum over the surface and then scoop them to escape them.
As you keep the water for a longer period, you will see the impurities on the bottom of the pot and you can then able to purr off the softened water.
Use washing soda or lime
A few years back, it was very common that people use lime or washing soda with big storage of water in the barrel or tank to make the water soften.
After few days, impurities and some harsh mineral sediment stored at the bottom and from the top people collected the soft water. Though the method is useful, it takes time. It is difficult to store water in a large pot or needs enough strength to carry the amount.
Add washing soda to water
Hard water does not help soap or detergents to gather lather and does not help cleaning actually. By adding ammonia, washing soda, lye or borax, you can remove the problem for a short time.
The reason is it softens water and resist lime from stopping the lathering system. As the limescale does not remove from water, you will get mineral affecting or durability or dryness of the clothing.
Softening Water for Laundry
Add non-precipitating water conditioner to your laundry. The products trap some of the minerals from water at the time of washing. Be sure the product is non-precipitating. You have to search for online to get it out.
Do not use precipitating conditioner as it may cause scale on washing machine or fabric. Select a product and connect it with laundry as stated below:
- According to the instruction add it with wash cycle. If you have no idea of hard water area, add conditioner up to you get water that feels slippery suds comes during the time of washing.
- Use a 2nd batch of the conditioner at the date of rinsing cycle. If you do not do so, all the mineral will latch on your clothes.
Treat hard water spots with vinegar. Distilled white vinegar can remove white spots over fabric, or mineral, drains, build up. Use dilute or plain with the same amount, scrub the problem and wash well.
This solution is tedious to remove builds up rapidly. If the water is slightly hard, this may be cost efficient system.
- Some people like half cup vinegar to remove cycle in water, though some claim rubber seals of the machine. Think about the checking of your dear machine manufacturer.
- Vinegar may bleach some kinds of damage stoneware of fabrics
- For hard water, a towel can be stiff. Contact with it with the same procedure.
Watch How To Turn Hard Water Into Soft Water
How To Soften Hard Water FAQ
What are the sources of hard water?
Hard water results from the high concentration of mineral ions like calcium and magnesium; in some other cases, there may be the presence of iron( fe3+ or fe2+), manganese, etc.
Is hard water softened by boiling?
Yes, but this measure requires a daily effort. However, the hardness of the water reduces when it cools. Also, lime can help reduce the hardness of the water.
How can you change hard water?
The most effective way of changing hard water to soft water is with the use of water softener.
Can hard water change the color of my hair?
According to hair experts, in the long run, hard water can cause a change in hair color.
Can you filter hard water?
Yes, you can. But filtering your water will not make any difference if the whole idea is to reduce hardness. You should try using a water softener.
Final Words & Recommendation
Although the relevance of hard water is less compared to its negative impact. However, with learning these ways on how to soften hard water, you will be able to choose the most suitable system that fits your water system facility. Happy water usage!