Hard water is an extraordinarily common problem. As water flows over mineral-rich soil, it dissolves some of those minerals into it. As we then use this water, the mineral content dissolved in it has a number of effects. It accumulates on metal surfaces to create a frustrating problem known as limescale. It influences the taste and texture of our water, making it potentially uncomfortable to drink. And it can even impact the softness of our clothes or the health of our skin and hair.
However, is hard water really as bad as it sounds? Believe it or not, hard water does have some redeeming qualities. However, there’s a strong chance you should still soften or purify it before using it, and this blog will explain why.
An Important Source of Calcium
One of the most abundant minerals found in hard water is calcium. The calcium in our water comes from eroded rock and minerals found in the water table, rivers, lakes, and plenty of other sources. In fact, water takes on calcium pretty much anywhere it is naturally found. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing, either. Calcium is one of the most important minerals found in our diet and is a crucial ingredient for skeletal health and bone structure.
Young children require a lot of calcium, particularly during crucial growth periods. Calcium allows bones to grow, develop, and harden into a sturdy skeletal structure that they will carry with them for their entire lives. Women, in particular, depend on calcium during their middle ages, as menopause attacks bone density and can cause serious skeletal issues. Many medical experts believe the calcium in tap water is actually one of the single most important ways women replenish lost calcium, as many people stop drinking milk or consuming as many dairy products as they get older. By drinking more calcium-enriched water, many people can actually increase bone density and skeletal health well into their golden years without the use of calcium supplements.
A Source of Frustration in Plumbing
While calcium may be good for your health, it isn’t necessarily good for the health of your water lines. Calcium has an obnoxious ability to chemically bond to a number of different metals, creating a solid white residue known as limescale. While limescale is frequently seen on faucets, taps, and plenty of other plumbing fixtures, it can also appear inside water lines too. Copper lines, in particular, are vulnerable to this issue, and some severe cases of calcium buildup have been found to block a water line completely.
Cleaning calcium residue is also not an easy task. In most cases, you need to use a strong acid to eat through the material in order to separate it from the metal it is stuck to. The citric acid found in lemons and oranges will sometimes get the job done, but it isn’t always possible to run this kind of a cleaning on the inside of your water lines.
Furthermore, calcium also reduces the lifespan of water-reliant appliances. The majority of sediment found in the bottom of your water heater tank, for example, is comprised of calcium or magnesium that has settled out of water in the tank itself. It is vital that you empty this sediment regularly both to maintain heater efficiency and to extend its lifespan. Allowing calcium buildup and sediment to sit for too long can contribute to corrosion and wear out your water heater’s heating elements.
Dishwashers, washing machines, and even ice makers can see reduced performance due to calcium buildup. While regular cleaning can remove gunk and grime from water nozzles, calcium buildup in a vital water line can cause everything from appliance failure to even a leak that can seriously damage your home.Learn more about improving your water quality with a water softener system by calling the experts at Moe Plumbing at (818) 396-8002 today!