What is Hard Water?

What is hard water? You deal with hard water every day …

Hard water is any water that contains a high amount of dissolved minerals. You may recognize hard water as water that leaves stubborn stains on your windows and dishes. This is known as “scale,” the buildup of minerals on the surfaces of your plumbing and water appliances.

Hard water scale buildup in shower

Hard water is prolific. It is found in all parts of the world ranging from low Parts Per Million (ppm) up to a common high of 200 ppm. It is not unheard of for water hardness to exceed 800 ppm from public supplies.

Hard water in the United States and abroad

Measurements taken in different areas of Australia, Canada, and other countries show that it is not uncommon to find water hardness in the range of 200 ppm. More than 85% of homes in the USA have hard water. Areas that seem to provide less hard water being in the South Atlantic-Gulf and Pacific Northwest.

Domestic effects of hard water

Within the home, hard water creates a number of problems that create more work for the homeowner.

  • Soaps and detergents do not mix as well, and become less effective.
  • Scale buildup will eventually require new plumbing and new appliances to restore full functionality to these systems.
  • Hard water stains will stain and damage water fixtures and will cause glass to become unsightly.

Those who have dealt with hard water on windows know that cleaning hard water stains is a labor in pain. The effort required to scrub and clean windows with hard water stains is substantial.

Hard water stains on dishes will eventually cause your dishes to look dirty even after they have been through the dishwasher. They will come out with little bits of white flakes and will hardly look ready for use.

Industrial effects of hard water

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, in 2005, an estimated 18,200,000,000 gallons per day of water was consumed for industrial applications. This number constitutes the amount of self-supplied (meaning, the industry supplied its own water vs. a public supplier) water. A safe assumption is that the majority of that water was either treated for hardness, or resulted in a process or counter-measure to the effects of the hard water used within that industrial application.

Just as the appliances in your home begin to lose effectiveness as hard water buildup occurs. So do large industrial appliances lose effectiveness, and overtime cease functioning altogether.

  • Water cooling towers.
  • Heat exchangers.
  • Mineral extractors.
  • Sand mills

These machines are highly expensive and the maintenance required due to hard water buildup is costly. Water cooling towers lose their cooling effectiveness as the cooling fins gain hard water scale. Scale buildup is a self-perpetuating problem, as it restricts the flow of water, which in turn accelerates the buildup of scale.

How to solve your hard water problem

The best way to eliminate hard water scale buildup is through magnetic water conditioning. Aqua Magnets offer a safe, eco-friendly way to eliminate and clean existing hard water scale on pipes, appliances, fixtures, and other equipment. Plus, you’ll have better-tasting, clearer water, all without introducing chemicals or high levels of sodium into your water supply.

[Image credit: charliekwalker]