It might not have the most palate-pleasing taste, but it is safe to drink hard water. This naturally occurring type of water affects most of the United States, with the highest concentration in the Midwest and Southwestern states and Florida.
Here we’ll discuss what hard water is and its cause, why it is seen as a problem, how it affects the pipes and plumbing in your home, and ways to tell if you have hard water.
What is Hard Water?
It’s water with more mineral content than normal, primarily a high concentration of calcium and magnesium. Hard water also contains brass, copper, and iron minerals. Because water is an excellent solvent, it picks up minerals and dissolves them easily during the water cycle. The minerals are then deposited on surfaces, such as skin and counters, as you use water in your home.
Why Do People See Hard Water as a Problem?
Hard water is perceived as a problem because its appearance and effects contradict what people believe about water. To most, water has a clear appearance to the naked eye; hard water is usually cloudy. Water elicits an image of clean and fresh; hard water is notorious for leaving buildup, scale, and scum after you scrub a surface. Drinking water is supposed to be refreshing and crisp; hard water has various flavors, such as metallic.
Also, it’s known for causing issues in your home’s pipes and plumbing, from corrosion to immovable clogs.
Drinking Hard Water Actually Has Some Health Benefits
It’s true! Several studies have found these possible health benefits:
- Calcium and magnesium: These minerals may create a dose-dependent protective effect for heart disease and might help protect against colon, gastric, pancreatic, and rectal cancers.
- Magnesium: Possibly helps prevent esophageal and ovarian cancer.
- Extra magnesium helps with insulin regulation: Low magnesium often affects people with Type 2 diabetes since insulin regulation needs magnesium to work. Drinking hard water can increase their magnesium consumption and overall levels.
- Meet your daily recommended amount of magnesium: If you live in a hard water area, drinking a half gallon of tap water per day can help you work toward meeting the recommended daily amount of magnesium.
The Only Thing Hard Water Hurts are Your Pipes (Potentially)
As hard water flows through your home’s plumbing system, it leaves the aforementioned mineral deposits. The buildup restricts the water flow, which creates internal pressure and sets the pipe up for a potential crack or whole break. It’s worse in hot water environments since little evaporation occurs and more mineral than usual is left.
How Can I Tell if I Have Hard Water?
Even if you don’t live in an area known for hard water, here are a few ways to tell if your home’s water supply is hard.
- Dry and scaly skin: Hard water doesn’t effectively rinse away soap residue when you bathe, leaving your skin feeling rigid and dry. It also pulls moisture from the skin, which can lead to excessive itching and scaly skin.
- Clothes never seem clean: Washing clothes in hard water is a counterproductive effort since hard water deposits the minerals in the fabrics. It also fails to thoroughly remove odors and stains while causing the material to wear prematurely.
- Limp, lifeless hair: Like your skin, hard water pulls moisture from your hair, causing it to feel blah. It may also look unwashed no matter how much shampoo you use or scrubbing takes place.
- Soap scum and calcium scale coat your shower: Because hard water leaves deposits, such as calcium, showers, and bathtubs look like they’re never clean (even though we know this isn’t true). Mineral deposits cause various colored stains, such as rust.
- A water glass fills, eventually: The mineral deposits you see on the outside of faucets also form on the pipe walls. As the deposits build, the pathway for the water becomes more narrow, meaning it takes more time to fill a glass or other container.
- Tap water has a metallic taste: Drinking water from a hard water source often has a metallic smell and taste.
- Appliances with water lines need regular repair: Unsurprisingly, hard water is hard on appliances with water lines. Mineral deposits clog the lines while coating nozzles and drains, such as inside dishwashers. These machines work harder than designed to compensate and break down as a result.
Hard water might be a cleaning nuisance, but it’s absolutely safe to drink. If hard water is causing issues with your plumbing, call an Adeedo professional today!