If you love staying hydrated, then drinking water may be one of the best health practices you may love. Moreover, our bodies need water to function well. However, when talking of drinking water, you might have heard of hard water. In this article, we will discuss more hard water and if it is safe for drinking. Keep reading to find out more.
What is Hard Water?
When you talk of water, a crystal clear, tasteless, and odorless liquid at room temperature typically comes to mind. However, it contains chemicals and minerals. How about hard water? Usually, the amount of calcium and magnesium contained in water determines how hard it is.
Therefore, hard water contains a high amount of calcium, magnesium, and other minerals. On the other hand, chemically speaking, hard water contains high amounts of mineral ions, mainly calcium and magnesium metals. The calcium and magnesium dissolve in the water.
Additionally, hard water has a pH level above 8.5
Types of Hardness of Water
- Temporary Hardness
- Permanent Hardness
Temporary Hardness – When magnesium and calcium carbonates are present in the water, we call it temporary hardness, and it can be removed by boiling the water.
Permanent Hardness – When the soluble salts of magnesium and calcium are present in the form of chlorides and sulfides in the water, we call it permanent hardness. This can’t be removed by boiling the water. However, it can be removed by treating water with washing soda.
Also Read: Hard Water vs. Soft Water
Signs of Hard Water
If you constantly use water in your daily activities, you might have made some observations. If you want to know if the water you use is hard, you may experience the following;
A funny taste or smell
If your drinking water produces a strange odor or a strong metallic taste, then it can be a problem associated with hard water. Also, if the water tastes like “dirt,” you can suspect it to be hard water. No doubt you wouldn’t like drinking water that has a funny odor and tastes funny.
Whenever you clean and wash using soap, there is a deposit of soap scum left on the material you are using; then, your water is hard. Therefore, when you are experiencing the frustrations of soap scum after cleaning, know you are handling hard water. Moreover, these unsightly white spots are calcium deposits left behind after the water evaporates. So, the next time you see spots on your dishes, it may be the water you are using.
Do you ever take a shower but no lather forms hence ruining your precious bathing time? Well, the problem could be the water you use. The minerals in the hard water prevent lather from forming whenever you take your sweet shower. Moreover, getting all the soap off your body becomes difficult. Also, the hard water might clog up your shower hence subjecting you to ongoing maintenance costs. This can be a considerable challenge.
If you constantly have to get the services of a plumber to unclog your pipes, the problem might be the hard water flowing through them. In most cases, if your pipe is made of old steel, you may be prone to suffering from this troublesome experience. The hard water can lead to scale deposits inside the pipes leading to their clogging up.
Have you noticed spots or stains on your clothes after doing laundry? Well, the washing might not be the problem at times. The hard water could be blamed. Sadly, these stains on clothes can make them wear out faster. Besides, if your sinks, toilet bowls, and tiles have a rust-like residue, you can blame it on the hard water
Reduced Water Pressure
As we have seen hard water can clog up your pipes. The effect can be a reduced flow of water. This is because the diameter of the pipes is reduced by the mineral deposits hence a smaller amount of water is allowed to flow through the pipes.
Can We Drink Hard Water?
After seeing the signs and some of the effects of hard water, you may be contemplating whether you should drink it or not. It may interest you to know that it is safe to drink hard water. It doesn’t pose any threat to your health. On the contrary, it is beneficial to your health.
You might not like the bad taste of hard water. However, there is some good news. Hard water contains calcium and magnesium minerals. The two are important minerals for a healthy and well-functioning body. Calcium prevents kidney stones, hypertension, stroke, obesity, and coronary artery disease.
These are health benefits that can be realized upon the consumption of hard water. Magnesium on the other hand helps prevent risks of hypertension, diabetes mellitus, and coronary heart disease. Therefore, if you want to protect your heart, you can as well consider drinking hard water.
So, try to accommodate the bad taste to enjoy the health benefits of this type of water. However, you can consider taking soft water for better benefits.
Disadvantages of Hard Water
As much as there are health benefits associated with hard water, it comes with its disadvantages. The following are examples;
- It May lead to hard skin and hair
- May lead to dandruff
- May cause skin irritation
- Wastage of soap due to the formation of scum
- Wastage of energy in certain appliances such as an electric kettle as a result of limescale formed inside
- Formation of sticky, unsightly soap scum on bathtubs and the body
- Increases the boiling point of water
- Clogs pipes
Managing Hard Water
At this point, you have known the benefits and advantages of hard water. However, is there anything you can do to remedy the situation? You can install a home water softening system so that you are not faced with the above problems. In that way, you can have your water still, but in a soft state.
Furthermore, you can boil the water to remove temporary hardness. Nonetheless, you can use washing soda whenever you do your laundry. Additionally, you can apply distilled white vinegar to get rid of the hard water stains. Therefore, you can apply such practices to manage hard water.
Dealing with hard water has its nightmares. There are problems right from the pipes as the water flows to when it’s availed for you. However, there are benefits associated with this kind of water. Moreover, there is a way of managing the hard water to no longer suffer from the side effects.