Hard water, as defined by the experts at Austin Water Solutions, is water that contains calcium and magnesium deposits. Hardness is categorized by the amount of these minerals dissolved found in the water, according to water hardness testing kits:
- 0 – 2 softer water
- 3 – 6 hard water
- 7 – 10 serious hard water
- 11 and above – very hard water
Austin Water Solutions says the majority of South Texas falls into the “very hard” water category.
Signs of hard water
Though the minerals in hard water are invisible to the eye, Austin Water Solutions knows they leave behind very tangible evidence of their presence.
Hard, unconditioned water increases the cost of operating water-using appliances, such as water heaters, dishwashers, coffee makers, and clothes washers. According to Austin Water Solutions, when hard water is heated it leaves behind tiny solid particles in pipes and other moving parts of these appliances. Over time, this buildup can significantly reduce efficiency and lead to early mechanical failure. Austin Water Solutions notes that hard water deposits can also corrode plumbing pipes and heating coils.
Water hardness experts at Austin Water Solutions explain that these types of deposits wear out clothing, bedsheets, and towels as mineral deposits build up in fibers. These minerals also attract soap and detergents, making it much harder to rinse the fabrics clean. Clothing washed in hard, unconditioned water may take on a gray hue and feel rough, scratchy, and stiff to the touch, says Austin Water Solutions. Kitchen and bath towels may lose absorbency.
Since water is used for personal hygiene, Austin Water Solutions points out that hard water can have a number of bothersome effects to one’s personal appearance. Washing with hard, unconditioned water may lead to skin irritation, dryness, rashes, and eczema. Austin Water Solutions explains that mineral residue can leave hair flat, lackluster, brittle, and difficult to style.
Hard, unconditioned water is also responsible for what Austin Water Solutions describes as milk to rust -colored stains on faucets and sinks. With continued use, hard water may etch glass surfaces and permanently stain fixtures and tiles. Austin Water Solutions says this creates a vicious cycle of wear and tear as it then takes more water to clean appliances and surfaces, which in turn leaves behind more residue, causing further damage.
Hard water a health hazard?
While drinking and bathing with hard, unconditioned water is typically considered safe, the National Institute for Health has published a number of findings on the topic. Austin Water Solutions reports the NIH noted in a 2013 entry in the International Journal of Preventative Medicine that water hardness may have a relationship with cardiovascular disease and male reproductive issues.
A sound solution
Austin Water Solutions believes that the GE Pro Elite™ Professional Series Water Treatment System is the ideal solution for the widespread problem of hard, unconditioned water. It is a whole-home water treatment appliance that costs pennies a day to operate and can save homeowners money each month, concludes Austin Water Solutions.