How to Tell If You Have Hard Water: 9 Telltale Signs

Our Expert Tips

Many people put up with inadequate water that doesn’t taste right, leaves deposits, and doesn’t clean things the way they should. Your problems might be due to hard water. Many municipal water supplies and other water sources have hard water. In most cases, hard water is only an inconvenience. Over time, though, the effects of hard water could cost you money, pose a safety hazard, and reduce your quality of life. 

If you’re not sure how to tell if you have hard water, seek out plumbing services in Rockville Centre, NY. We serve Massapequa, NY, and other towns in Nassau County.

Most homeowners invest a great deal of time and money into their homes. If your water quality gets in the way of enjoying that home, the cost of water softening is small compared to the benefits you might gain. Take a moment to learn more about hard water and consider whether home water softening is right for you. 

What Is Hard Water?

Hard water is simply water that has minerals, chiefly magnesium and calcium, dissolved in it. Rainwater is soft water, but it can become hard if it passes through limestone or other sources of minerals. The minerals leach into the water before it eventually reaches your well or public water supply. Knowing how to tell if you have hard water is the first step toward solving the problems it causes.

Dry Skin

Because hard water has minerals dissolved in it, it can draw water from the skin surface, leaving it feeling dry. Hard water can also leave a buildup of minerals on your skin that can block your pores. When the pores cannot release sweat and oils, it can irritate the skin. 

Reduced Soap Lather

Hard water interferes with the lathering process of soap and the ability of soapy water to carry away dirt. This makes showers less satisfying and also less effective at cleaning the skin. Hard water also builds up in the showerhead, clogging openings and reducing your water flow to a trickle. 

The minerals in hard water can combine with the components of soap to produce soap scum, a chalky film that often proves difficult to remove from kitchen and bathroom surfaces.

Some forms of soap work better in hard water. For example, liquid soap or body wash is better than bar soap in hard water. Manufacturers have created soaps with specific formulations for hard water.

Altered Taste of Water

Hard water has a chalky or salty taste and is less crisp than soft water. This can affect the taste of foods and drinks that use water. If you bake with hard water, you will have to take account of the mineral content’s effect on the fermentation process. 

Whether or not you prefer the taste of hard water or soft water is a personal choice. Some expensive bottled water brands are hard water, for example. The taste of the water is a selling point; if you don’t find the particular mix of minerals in your water to be appealing, you might benefit from a water softener.

Buildup on Surfaces

Almost every surface that comes into contact with hard water can develop a buildup of minerals as the water evaporates. Your faucets, sinks, and other fixtures won’t look clean, and this buildup can be hard to remove because it can mix with soap to form soap scum.

Many cleaner manufacturers develop products that they claim remove soap scum, but you can save time and money by removing the minerals before they get to your home.

Water Spots on Dishes

When drops of water dry, they leave white spots of calcium and magnesium. They do not cause any harm, but they spoil the look of clean dishes. If you host parties or dinners with friends, family, and neighbors, why waste time cleaning water spots off your plates and silverware when you can soften your water instead? 

Scale on Your Water Heater

You might not be able to see the buildup of sediment, called scale, on your water heater. It affects the efficiency of your water heater and can even become a safety hazard. Mineral deposits inside the water tank act as an insulator. They prevent heat from the heating elements from reaching the water and keep heat from radiating out from the tank, causing the heater to be less efficient and prone to overheating. 

Reduced Effectiveness of Your Dishwasher and Washing Machine

Just as hard water makes it harder for soap to lather when you take a shower or wash your hands, it reduces the effectiveness of dish soap and detergents. For water to be effective at cleaning, it has to be able to break up dirt and dissolve stains. Hard water, having minerals dissolved in it already, is less able to carry off anything from your clothes or dishes.

A Hard Water Test Reveals Hard Water

If you suspect that you have hard water but don’t know for sure, a simple water hardness test is a good way to put the matter to rest. Many companies sell water hardness tests, and they are typically simple to use – just dip a test strip in your tap water and compare the strip’s color to a chart that comes with the kit. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions precisely for an accurate result.

Do I Need a Water Softener?

Now that you know how to tell if you have hard water, you can decide whether to install a water softener.  With soft water, you would gain benefits such as:

  • cleaner dishes
  • better-tasting water
  • longer-lasting appliances
  • more efficient hot water

Ultimately, the decision to get by with hard water or to invest in a water softener is personal. If you have questions about the costs and benefits of a water softener, you should talk to an expert about water softening options. If anything worries you about water softening, don’t hesitate to ask the professionals at Pride Services.

How Water Softening Works

Water softeners use salt (or sometimes potassium chloride) to remove magnesium and calcium from the water. When water enters a water softener, it passes through beads made of resin. These beads have sodium ions on them, switching with the sodium and magnesium. 

Once the water has passed through the beads, you wind up with mildly salty water instead of hard water. The concentration of salt in the water is very low, so it should not affect your health. If you are concerned about sodium levels, talk with your doctor before installing a water softener.

Professional Water Softener Installation

Installing a water softener requires some expertise in plumbing systems. If you’re not an expert, it is better to have a professional plumber install the water softener. If you live in Island Park or a nearby town in Nassau County, have Pride Services install your water softener. We’ll discuss the model and type of water softener that’s right for you, install it at a competitive rate, and help you keep it running smoothly.

Schedule Your Water Softener Installation Today

The recent housing boom has kept many contractors busy. Act now to schedule an appointment for the time and place you want. Contact us for more information about water softener installation, how to tell if you have hard water, or to learn more about water filtration services. Call 516.619.1781 to speak with a Pride Services representative. We’re committed to helping all our customers in the Island Park, NY, area to get the pure water you deserve. 

Published: Mar 12, 2022

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