Hard water can take a toll on your pipes, shorten the life of your appliances and make doing the laundry even more of a chore. Unfortunately, hard water is a major problem in many parts of the country, and millions of homeowners are struggling to overcome the problem.
If you have hard water, you will probably know it by the white residue and other telltale signs. Even so, it is a good idea to have your water professionally tested, especially since not all hard water is the same. Until you know what types of dissolved minerals are responsible for your hard water problems, it will be difficult to devise a smart solution.
While a number of minerals can make water hard and cause issues with appliances and cleaning, the main culprit is calcium carbonate. This mineral is common everywhere, and it is an integral part of the earth's crust. Water softeners work by neutralizing the calcium carbonate in your home's water, thereby solving the problems excessive hardness so often creates.
Calcium carbonate is not the only mineral that can wreak havoc with your home's water and your major appliances. Although calcium carbonate is the main culprit, minerals like copper, iron, aluminum, zinc and magnesium may also be present under your home - and in its water. That is why it is so important to have your water tested before purchasing any type of water softening device.
Some water softeners are designed solely for calcium carbonate neutralization, while others work equally well on aluminum, copper, magnesium and other hard water culprits. The more you know about your own water and issues where you live, the easier it will be to overcome these issues.
Dealing with hard water issues is no easy task. If your appliances break down before they should, if your clothes are difficult to clean or if the water from the shower leaves a film on your skin, chances are your water is harder than it should be.
If you suspect hard water in your home, the first step is comprehensive testing. Once you know how hard your water is, you can take steps to correct it, including the installation of a quality water softener.