We’re going to be looking at a few things that hard water is responsible for doing within your home. We’re not going to stop at the scale build-up, but we’ll go over how it affects appliances, food, clothing, and cooking.
Hard water will greatly affect any appliance in your home that comes into direct contact with water. Hard water is not only a nuisance, but it can actually do some damage to your household items. Coffee makers, electric kettles, dishwashers, washing machines, and water heaters will succumb to the ill effects of scale build-up. Depending on how hard the water is, heating elements will become covered in scale, this means the parts affected will not work at full capacity and become inefficient.
The hot water heater is the biggest victim with hard water. As hard water enters, the heater causes some of the water to evaporate, thus leaving calcium and magnesium behind. Oftentimes this problem can become so severe that the heater makes a popping sound. That’s due to the limescale building up on the heating elements and when those elements start to get hot again, it causes the scale to break off and float around and hitting in various parts of the tank.
The dishwasher heating element also falls victim to hard water. It’s basically the same scenario with the water heater. Hard water comes into contact with the heater, then it evaporates and leaves. Over time, that scale can build up as thick as 3/4”, rendering the dishwasher useless and will need to be replaced. Coffee makers and tea kettles can also become overwhelmed with scale build-up. The heating element in a coffee maker and the inside walls of a tea kettle will develop scale build up over time. When there is so much scale buildup, the performance of the appliance deteriorates and will need eventual replacement.
Hard water is known to cause damage to washing machines and the clothes that it washes. Hard water will create scale build-up on the tub which can cause it to become unbalanced during the spin cycle. Build-up also occurs on the holes on the drum, this is bad because that area comes into contact with clothing the most. During the wash cycle, clothes will rub against the abrasive build-up and wear down or even tear the fabrics. In addition, hard water prevents a full lather, in turn, more detergent is used.
In addition, the minerals in the hard water will bond to clothing fibers, leaving a dingy yellowish residue and make colorful fabrics look dull. White fabrics will no longer be as bright as the day you bought them and no matter how much bleach is used or pre-soaking whites, they will remain dingy because the minerals on the fibers do not come off.
Cooking with hard water affects food in a variety of ways. The excess calcium and magnesium end up bonding to food and can make flavors dull and colors not as vibrant. The dissolved solids in the water will also affect bread, cakes, and brownies. It often contributes to baked goods to have a higher density and less flavor.
Just think of it this way, with hard water, there are dissolved minerals floating around and once the water evaporates, it leaves spots around your faucets, glass, showers and etc. That is the same principle with food, if hard water is used in the cake batter, the water evaporates during baking, then the minerals are left behind. Those minerals will affect the cake’s overall texture, flavor, and appearance.
How to fight hard water
There are companies out there that sell various products claiming to soften water such as magnets that can be placed on pipes or electronic gizmos that are supposed to prevent the minerals from bonding to surfaces. Unfortunately, those things do not work. It does nothing to remove dissolved solids from the water. The most effective weapon against hard water is to get a whole house water softener installed. The Aquasure Harmony AS-HS48D can treat up to 48,000 Grains of hardness, just right for a household size of 2-4 bathrooms with up to 5 people.
The resin inside the Harmony will grab the solids from the water and prevent them from going into the home’s water system. It holds onto those minerals tightly and will only let go of them during the regeneration process. The system comes with a brine tank and it uses the saltwater solution to clean the resin bed. When the salt enters the resin tank, it trades spots with the dissolved solids that it held on to. Once the solids are released, the system does a backwash to send them into the drain. The magnetic and electronic devices mentioned earlier don't change the water structure in the same way as the softener does. In fact, if compared, the soft water treated by the Aquasure system will actually feel soft and silky, while the magnetic/electronic systems will feel like untreated water, not as smooth, and it feels like it has some texture to it.