Three Signs You May Have Hard Water

Posted on: 30 June 2016

"Hard water" is a term that covers a variety of types of water with minerals dissolved in it. This water may have an odd taste, leave mineral deposits, and even have an orange tinge to it. Hard water can include many minerals, but the most commonly recognized indicators of hard water are calcium and magnesium. This may mean that you don't need to take calcium and magnesium supplements (since your body can assimilate these minerals when you drink and bathe or shower in hard water), but it can also have undesirable effects on your home life in a variety of ways. Here are three signs that may mean your water is full of minerals.

1. Difficulty lathering

If you notice that you have a hard time working up soap suds when you wash your hands, it could be that the water contains minerals that are reacting with the soap. The reaction turns the soap into soap scum instead of allowing it to behave like normal soap and lather properly. If you choose to treat your water for hardness, you'll be able to lather better but you'll notice that it seems harder to rinse with your newly softened water. If you prefer to use a workaround, you can switch your hand soap out for a liquid body wash, which doesn't react with hard water in the same way.

2. Odd flavor

Some people notice an "off" flavor to their water if it's very hard. This happens when there are so many minerals in your water that you can actually taste them. If it tastes metallic, it's because your water is hard. Keep in mind that if your water has a different type of "off" taste, such as a sulfur flavor, you may have more serious problems with your well.

3. Discoloration

Hard water can cause deposits and discoloration in plumbing fixtures such as bathtubs, toilets, and sinks. If you see an orange discoloration, you may have iron in your water as well as calcium and magnesium. Deposits that build up over time are called "limescale" and are a very common side effect of hard water. The simplest treatment for this is to install strong magnets on the water supply pipe to change the shape of the mineral molecules so they don't create deposits so easily. However, this does nothing to improve the flavor of the water.

These three signs are common indicators that your water has minerals dissolved in it. Several types of treatment are available from companies like Wolverine Water Treatment, such as using a water softening appliance to exchange the troublesome ions with sodium ions. If your hard water comes from a well, be sure to get it tested for contaminants before deciding on your treatment plan.

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