The Effects of Hard Water
As water travels through the ground, it picks up particles of calcium, magnesium, iron, lead and other minerals from the earth. Unless you have a private well, a municipal water treatment plant processes your tap water to remove some of the mineral content and other impurities. Water hardness will vary from place to place due to the type and amount of processing, but in general across the U.S., water is relatively hard when it leaves the treatment plants.
Calcium and magnesium are the main contributors to hard water, reducing soap’s ability to lather and clean, which leaves a dingy gray residue on clothes and spots on dishes.
Hard water is more abrasive than soft water
The tiny mineral particles in hard water combine with soap or detergents to become like little pieces of rock, pounding away at clothing fibers. Over time, the integrity of the product is weakened and the life of clothing can be reduced.
Skin and hair are affected by hard water
Hard water doesn’t rinse as well as soft water, and a greater amount of shampoo and soap is needed to clean. That means soap residues remain, leaving hair less shiny and skin susceptible to blemishes.
Hard water is tough on plumbing
Hard water can cause scale to build up on water heaters and pipes, limiting the water flow, reducing the life of the product and increasing operation costs and maintenance on water-using appliances. For example, water heaters last up to 50% longer and consume up to 29% less energy.*
*Per research conducted by the Water Quality Research Council and Water Quality Association.
Potential Soft Water Savings*
|Estimated Annual Cost||Possible % Savings||Monthly Savings||Yearly Savings|
|Soap and Cleaning Products||$1,039||80%||$69||$831|
|Washable Items - Clothes, Linens, etc.||$600||30%||$15||$180|
|Plumbing and Appliances - Repair, etc.||$120||75%||$8||$90|
|Gas and Electric Consumption||$320||25%||$5||$64|
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* Based on Data from: U.S. Dept. of Commerce, U.S. Dept. of Labor, National Industrial Conference Board, Water Conditioning Research Council, National Restaurant Assoc., American Laundry Institute, U.S. Bureau of Standards, Univ. of Ill., Univ. of New Mexico