Hard water is water containing high concentrations of dissolved minerals, usually calcium or magnesium carbonates (CaCO3 or MgCO3), chlorides (CaCl2 or MgCl2) or sulphates (CaSO4 or MgSO4). Hard water is known for causing many problems such as creating mineral build-up on plumbing fixtures and reduced detergent performance. It can also be the culprit behind a number of skin problems including dry and flaky skin. In the article below we will tell you everything that you need to know about hard water.
Signs of hard water
If you find one or more of the following things is happening, it will mean the water is hard in your place.
· White, chalky residue or spots on faucets and everything that has contact with hard water, including dishes
· Clothes and linens that feel rough and look dull
· Dry skin and flat hair – because soap just doesn’t lather or rinse completely away (the same residue that is left on the surfaces, covers your skin now)
· Ugly stains on white porcelain
· Low water pressure from showers and faucets due to clogged pipes
· Household appliances breaking faster
Especially if you have a floor heating system, it is highly recommended to install a central softener softening all water that enters the house. If installing a central softener is not an option, then smaller softeners could be connected separately to different points of use, such as dishwater, washing machine and shower fittings.
Health of your skin
Hard water can contribute to dry skin and hair. Washing your hair frequently with hard water can leave your scalp feeling itchy. Your hair may feel dry all the time and become frizzy, tangled and difficult to manage. The calcium salts that build up in your scalp can cause dryness and dandruff. In some of the most extreme cases, calcium building up around the base of hair follicles might cause hair to break.
In fact, when you shower in hard water, you may not be getting as clean as you should!
Hard water tends to leave a persistent film on the skin that is almost impossible to wash away. This also means that soap and shampoo are more likely to remain on the skin after bathing or showering, further intensifying the issue of dryness. It may even exacerbate the already-existing symptoms of eczema. Basically the same thing that deposits on the faucets also builds up in your skin and hair. This continuous build-up can leave your skin looking dull and unhealthy.
Dissolved minerals tend to clog the pores of the skin, making it difficult to absorb moisture. This is the reason why hard water contributes to dry skin. The minerals in hard water can also change the pH balance of your skin, weakening it as a barrier against harmful bacteria and infections.
People who suffer from sensitive skin and dermatitis will not even need to bathe in hard water to notice the negative effects of hard water. These individuals with sensitive skin may notice flare-ups and irritation by simply wearing clothes that have been washed in hard water!
Clothes might not be clean
Washing of clothes in hard water can reduce the life of fabrics due to its abrasive nature. The soluble calcium and magnesium salts will react with soap causing the soap scum in the shower area.
Clothes washed in hardwater often appear dingy and wear out faster. Towels will feel scratchy and not smooth. If you were wondering why your clothes get destroyed so fast in China, now you got the answer. It is because of hard water mixed with big dose of chlorine.
What about hard water for drinking?
Calcium and Magnesium ions found in hard water are essential for your health when consumed in drinking water. Studies have found that hard water has positive effects on the health of its drinkers. However, please keep it in mind that in China you shouldn’t be using unpurified tap water for drinking purposes, so this positive aspect of hard water is not really relevant in our discussion. Let’s do a little summary. Looking at the pros and cons, it goes without saying that soft water is the winner!
What to do about hard water?
Is there any way I can do something about the hard water? You can protect your skin from the effects of hard water by investing in a water softener, which effectively removes the dissolved minerals from the water. With a water softener in your home, all hard water issues mentioned above will be eliminated.
Here we would like to present You Greenwave’s solution for you. UltraShower water filter and softener. You can rent it or buy it! Installation process is quick and easy. You can get have it even this week!
After installing a water softener our clients notice their skin feels slick and even slippery after showering or bathing.
How does the softener work?
The softening reaction aims to exchange ions with the resin. Ion exchange is a reversible chemical reaction where dissolved ions (Mg and Ca) are removed from solution and replaced with other ions of the same or similar electrical charge (for example Na). Reaction goes as follows:
Ca(HCO3)2 + Resin - 2Na = 2Na(HCO3) + Resin - Ca Temporary Hardness + Resin in Na form = 2 x Sodium Bicarbonate + Resin in Ca form
The process is reversible, so the resin does not have to be exchanged. The resin which was fully exhausted and doesn’t have any more ions to exchange needs to be regenerated so the resin can continue to be used. Regeneration of the resin with a simple brine solution is possible:
Resin – Ca + 2NaCl = CaCl2 + Resin - 2Na Exhausted Resin (Ca form) + Sodium Chloride (Brine Regenerant) = Calcium Chloride +Regenerated Resin (Na form)
If the system is well maintained and the resins are treated with respect, then these systems and the resins can last for many years. Softening resins operating over 10 years are not uncommon.
IMPORTANT: During winter, the water going through the UltraShower will take longer to heat up, and you will have to wait around 4 minutes to get hot water flowing from the shower head. We want to clarify this to our clients before the installation, to avoid any misunderstandings later on.
For more information about hard water and water softening solutions for your home, please get in touch with the Greenwave team today!