Hard water is one of the most insidious plumbing issues that you may face as a homeowner. For the most part, hard water looks, smells, and behaves like soft water. However, hard water can cause problems with many of the routines in your life, like bathing and washing dishes, and could even permanently damage your plumbing.
So how can you tell if your home and lifestyle are threatened by hard water? Look for the following 11 signs.
1. Abnormal Water Taste
Hard water occurs when mineral particles become too concentrated in the water. While not all water hardness is detectable by taste, if your hard water primarily comes from iron particles, your water may taste metallic. Your water could also potentially contain bacteria, soil, or even algae, all of which have their own distinctly undesirable aftertaste.
2. Dry Skin
The mineral deposits in hard water can leave residue on any surface it touches, including your body. If you notice new or worse itching, dryness, or scaling on your skin, hard water may be to blame.
3. Fixture Stains
If iron particles represent a significant portion of the particles in your water, you may notice the problem in more than just your drinking water. Iron particles can also leave rust-like stains on fixtures, especially your toilets.
4. Frequent Plumbing Clogs
Hard water leaves minerals on the inside of your pipes. Over time, this buildup can create significant plumbing problems, including obstructions. If your pipes seem to stop draining or back up frequently, the issue may indicate the presence of hard water.
5. Low Soap Lather
Hard water minerals interact with the foaming agents in cleansers. You may notice that your soap and shampoo don't create as many bubbles when used with hard water. This interaction is one of the reasons that hard water can cause skin, hair, laundry, and dishwashing issues.
6. Mineral Buildup
Particles may build up outside of your pipes as you use hard water. This buildup is most likely to appear at the openings of your faucets or showerheads. Over time, mineral residue can significantly decrease the water pressure coming from the affected faucets.
7. Rough Clothes
Because hard water inhibits the normal foaming action of soap, your laundry may not get as clean when washed with hard water. The soap left on clothing items, towels, and bed linens may make the fabric feel rough to the touch.
8. Soap Residue
Soap scum leaves white marks in your tub and on your shower curtain or shower enclosure. If you feel like you're constantly scrubbing away soap scum, the source of the problem may be the water you're using.
9. Spots on Dishes
Like your clothing, your dishes may be less clean after a wash with hard water. Hard water minerals can leave visible white spots on your dishes, especially your glassware.
10. Strange Water Smell
The combination of particles in your water don’t just affect the flavor of your water but its odor too. If your water contains excess magnesium, for example, it may smell like rotten eggs.
11. Unpleasant Hair Texture
When you wash your hair with hard water, minerals and cleaning solvents may stay trapped on the strands. Hard water could make your hair feel dry, look dull, or seem sticky, especially when it's freshly washed.If you notice any combination of the signs above, talk to a team member from Sparrow & Sons Plumbing and Heating about your options. We offer water testing to confirm the presence of hard water, as well as a range of water softener systems so that you don't have to worry about what's coming out of your tap.