What Is Hard Water? And Other Frequently Asked Questions

Many new homeowners who have never had to deal with hard water in the past may have questions about hard water and the effect it can have on a home's plumbing. Knowing what hard water is, how to tell if your home has hard water and what to do about it can help you care for your property.

What is hard water?

Hard water is water that has a high content of dissolved rock and other impurities.

What's the problem with hard water?

When it dries on surfaces around the house, hard water leaves impurities behind. These impurities may not be noticeable at first, but over time, hard water will leave stains on objects that get wet frequently, like shower doors, faucets and dishes. These stains can be an inconvenience for homeowners because they can be very difficult to remove.

In addition, hard water can cause a buildup of minerals inside faucets and pipes. This buildup, known as "scale," can cause plumbing clogs and can ruin faucets over time.

What can you do to prevent hard water stains and scale from forming?

The best way to prevent problems associated with hard water is to install a water softener. Water softeners are plumbed into the main water line entering the home. These appliances work by replacing the minerals in the water with sodium ions.

If water softeners use sodium to remove the minerals from hard water, does that mean that softened water is salty?

Softened water has a very low sodium content and should not taste salty.

Is softened water safe to drink if you're on a low-sodium diet?

Softened water should be safe to drink, even if you're on a low-sodium diet, because the sodium content is so insubstantial. However, you should always double check with your physician before drinking softened water.

If you have noticed that there are hard water stains on your home's faucets and dishes, what can you do to remove the stains?

Soaking dishes in vinegar will make hard water stains easy to remove. To remove hard water stains from faucets, make a paste made from baking soda, water and lemon juice. Use a sponge to apply the paste to the faucets, then scrub the paste against the faucets and rinse the fixtures with soft water. If scale has built up in your showerhead, you can clean the showerhead by taking it off and soaking it in a bucket of vinegar.

If you want a water softener for your home, what should you do?

If you want a water softener for your home, contact Johnson Water Conditioning or a similar company for more information.