Contributor: Jon Godfrey

Every year, you could be spending hundreds of extra pounds because of hard water. Along with negatively affecting the lifespan and efficiency of your home’s water heater, faucets and shower heads, hard water also neutralises your cleaning products and soaps, causing you to use more than you need.

What Makes Hard Water Hard?

Water is often referred to as a universal solvent. The reason for this is that it is the only known liquid capable of dissolving pretty much anything that you put into it, even if it just dissolves whatever it might be a little. This means that when water makes its way through sediment, rocks and other types of debris, it doesn’t leave it pure. Instead, water brings some of these elements with it, elements like magnesium and calcium. Once it collects enough minerals, water becomes hard. It’s not dangerous for you to drink, but it can cause general household waste.

Making Your Hot Water Heater Inefficient

Hard water increases wastage in your home by making your hot water heater work harder than it has to. Over time, hard water causes scale deposits to build up in your home’s hot water heater. As they build, they gradually start to coat the interior of the appliance. To get rid of this buildup, you can flush your water heater, but most people just don’t get around to completing this task. When the scale buildup is left to do as it will, it drastically reduces how efficient your water heater operates as well as how long it continues to provide hot water for your home.

If you wind up with ¼ of an inch of hard water scale in your water heater, it will cause the heater to use 40 percent more energy to heat water for your home. Depending on how dense your hard water is and the amount of hot water your home typically uses, you could see that ¼-inch buildup in just one year. Homeowners who have hard water often spend more time in the shower because it takes longer for hard water to rinse soap off your body.

Tough on Appliances

A foggy film on your dishes is another effect of hard water. Along with leaving a film on your dishes, hard water is tough on your dishwasher. It does the same thing to your dishwasher that it does to your water heater, which is leave deposits behind. If you check your dishwasher’s user manual, it likely advises you how much soap to use based on whether your home has hard water. The same is true of your washing machine. To get dishes and clothes clean, you need to use more soap with hard water than you do with soft water. Hard water deactivates soap, and it causes soap scum to form.

High-end dishwashers often dispense soap through tiny orifices to reach a greater area. Hard water buildup can clog these small holes. Because of this, high-end dishwashers usually come with their own water softener to prevent the buildup. When it comes to washing machines, it’s likely that you’re spending more for fabric softener to offset the impact that hard water has on your clothes, towels and bed linens. According to statistics, for each grain of hard water, the use of detergent increases by 2 to 4 percent for every 1,000 gallons of water being used. This makes hard water bad for the environment since more wastewater and contaminants make their way to the country’s sewer system.

More Frequent Equipment Replacement

When hard water is present, home wastage includes more frequent equipment replacements. Appliances that deal with hard water scale have a shorter lifespan. These appliances fail more quickly, causing you to shell out money to replace them. Today, many people are starting to replace their household appliances with high efficiency ones. In addition to being better for the environment, these appliances are designed to save money. Over time, hard water can make these appliances run less efficiently, so in addition to spending more for them, you may only get a few years of efficient operation out of them if you have hard water running through your pipes.

Spending More on Personal Care Products

Hard water not only increases your water bill, it also increases how much you spend for personal care products like shampoo, conditioner and body wash. You spend more for these products because hard water makes them less effective. You’ll inadvertently use more shampoo because when the hair cleanser encounters hard water, it won’t lather up as much as you’re used to. You’ll also add more conditioner to your hair to keep your hair feeling clean and soft while more body wash is needed for your body to feel clean. Hard water can make your hair frizzy and cause your skin to feel itchy and dry.

Offset Hard Water with a Water Filter

To decrease wastage from hard water, consider using a water filtration system. When you install this type of system, it will filter the water and remove any contaminants from it. While there are ones that just filter your drinking water, we recommend a whole house filter because along with delivering contaminant-free water to your home’s faucets, it will do the same for your washing machine, dishwasher and hot water heater. A water filter is a complete solution to the problem of hard water.

Bio: My name is Jon Godfrey and I am the creator of Water Filter Answers. In addition to running that website, I have a deep commitment to environmental issues. When I have off time (it’s becoming very rare these days), I like to relax and go fishing or hunting.

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