High mineral content water, water hardness or hard water
I’m sure you’re familiar with the term “hard water”. Hard water is water with high levels of dissolved calcium and magnesium minerals. Other dissolved minerals such as iron and sodium also contribute to water hardness. The higher the level of dissolved minerals the higher the water hardness.
It’s a great idea to have these trace elements in your water, our bodies need minerals like calcium, magnesium, lead and other trace elements. At the Clean water Co we sell a range of chemical and salt free water conditioners that treat all the minerals in water giving you a softer water with reduced scale problems.
But the harder the water the more difficult it is to get your hands, hair or laundry clean and more soap or detergent is required. Also, when hard water is heated, solid calcium carbonate deposits can form, causing a reduced lifespan for equipment, raise heating costs to heat your water and lower efficiency of electrical goods such as water heaters, dishwashes and washing machines. Hard water can also lead to blocked pipes and shower heads restricting water flow due to ‘scale’ build up. Calcium and other mineral deposits in your plumbing are called ‘scale’.
How to tell if you have a hard water problem:
- Do you ever feel a thin film on your skin after washing your hands under a tap or after a shower? If so, this is due to hard water reacting with the soap you use. The reaction creates a soap scum and will require more thorough scrubbing to remove.
- Do your glasses, silverware or crockery look spotted when removed from the dishwasher? If so, this is a sign of high levels of calcium carbonate in your water.
- Do your clothes ever appear stained after you’ve done a load of washing? Mineral stains from hard water not only ruins the appearance of your clothes but can cause your clothes to wear out faster.
- Does your shower head block up and do you get hard to remove spotting on your shower screen and wall and floor tiles? Yes, then you have hard water.
- Have you noticed a drop-in water pressure? Or have you moved into a new home and find the water pressure lower than you expected? If so, you may have a mineral deposit (or ‘scale’) build up in your pipes caused by hard water. These deposits form a layer of scale which continues to build over time, until, like blocked arteries in the body, they restrict the flow of water to your taps, putting pressure on your pipes and compromising your plumbing system. A good water filtration system can prevent this.
DIY water hardness test
This is an approximate guide to do a home test and how hard your water is.
- Fill a bottle with 350mm of water.
- Count the drops of detergent as you add them.
- Add 1 drop of detergent at a time.
- Shake the bottle and look for suds.
- When you see suds, you’re done.
<20 Drops – Soft Water
30 Drops – Moderately Hard Water
40 Drops – Hard Water
50 Drops – Very Hard Water
Soft water is untreated water from rainfall, or some surface water typically found in creeks, rivers or dams. Soft water contains low concentrations of ions and in particular is low in calcium and magnesium ions. Because of the lack of minerals in the water the pH of the water may be low (or acidic) and this will cause corrosion problems and blue water syndrome which is the leaching of copper from pipes.
Soft water has a lower mineral content resulting in a lower pH making the water acidic. Low pH water will cause corrosion problems in pipes and fittings and has been known to cause blue water syndrome which is the leaching of copper from pipes.
How to tell if you have soft water:
- Do you notice a healthy lather when using soap or detergents to wash clothes, dishes, your hands and body?
- Do you clothes come out of the wash looking cleaner, stain free and with less wear-and-tear damage?
- Do you have high water pressure and a smooth flow of water coming out of your taps at home?
- Are your taps and fittings starting to show signs of corrosion?
These are all signs you may have soft water.
Another more obvious sign is that your pipes are linked up to a rainwater tank.
Soft water is the preferred water for people with eczema and psoriasis and, due to its low mineral count, generally results in silkier hair and skin for your family.