A common misconception is that hard water causes health problems when drinking it. That’s not the case at all. Fact of the matter is, hard water is actually beneficial for drinking since it contains high amounts of calcium and magnesium.
The real problems occur when you want to use it for practically anything else. Limescale deposits inside pipes and appliances, dermatitis and hair loss when showering, streaks on dishes, dingy clothes, and much more. How do we solve some of the most common problems caused by hard water? We’re here to give you a few tips and tricks that will do just that.
Calcium is highly reactive when exposed to acidic substances. You might not be able to scrub it with soap and water, but vinegar will do the trick just fine. In this case, you can place small fixtures inside a bowl filled with vinegar to dissolve the limescale buildup in about an hour. After getting the fixtures out of the bowl, simply scrub them with a brush or clean cloth.
As for fixtures that can’t be taken apart, such as faucets, you can soak a clean cloth in vinegar and wrap said fixtures with it. Granted, depending on the buildup level, you might want to leave them wrapped overnight. Afterwards, discard the cloth and scrub the remaining scales of buildup with a brush or clean cloth.
Note: do not use this trick on plated fixtures, such as gold ones. It will damage the gold plating and it will make it look far worse than if it had limescale on it.
Change Your Detergent
A surprising number of people have no idea that you can get detergent meant specifically for hard water. Many folks rely on big name brands without even considering anything else.
If you do your research further from what you’re already used to, you’ll be pleased to discover lists of dishwasher detergents for hard water, as well as laundry detergents that have built-in liquid softeners. Or, alternatively you could use liquid softeners separately for your clothes and rinse-aid agents for your dishwasher.
Get a Water Softening System
There are many water softeners available on the market today. Depending on the restrictions and regulations in your area, you can get a traditional salt-based water softener, or you could opt for an alternative, such as a water descaler, reverse osmosis system, or water conditioner
In any case, if you want to prevent the effects of hard water completely, this is the way to go. Instead of fixing the problems caused by it, these machines will give you softened water straight from the faucet, shower, etc. Just make sure to check out this detailed fact sheet first.
Change the Temperature
If for some reason you can’t afford purchasing such units right now, you can still use a fairly efficient prevention method for your plumbing system.
The main culprit is your hot water heater. Or the boiler. When calcium crystals in hard water come into contact with heat, they start a process called mineral precipitation. In short, the high heat combined with the calcium encourages the formation of limescale.
As such, you will see more mineral buildup inside the heater, which can significantly increase its operational costs. To avoid this, we recommend taking down the water temperature a notch or not using hot water entirely. Of course, this isn’t always possible. But it’s a good replacement solution until you can get enough money to buy a water softening system.
The Bottom Line
Hard water may cause a lot of problems, but fortunately they can all be solved. No matter your budget, you can still keep limescale deposits under control and prevent your appliances from breaking down much faster than they would normally do with the tricks mentioned above.