Hard water may not seem like a big deal, making a water softener look more like a luxury than a necessity. However, most of Indianapolis’ water sources are considered “hard” by the United States Geological Survey. This means that limescale buildup can damage many parts of our homes over time, making the installation of a water softener a long-term preventative investment.Hard Water Effects on Appliances
All your water-using appliances, including your washing machine, dishwasher, and water heater, benefit from soft water by significantly reducing scale buildup. Scale can clog hoses and pipes and adhere to machine parts, making them less effective overall. Calcium and magnesium, which makes the limescale, also prevent laundry and dishwasher soap from mixing with water, which will leave soap scum behind and not clean as well as they should.
Limescale buildup at the bottom of your water heater tank acts as a barrier between the heating coils and the water. It takes longer to heat your water and reduces the tank’s water capacity, wasting both energy and water. Over time, that can add up to 20% to both your water and energy bills.
Lastly, scale buildup shortens the lifespan of these appliances by as much as half, and extending that lifespan will more than cover the cost of a water softener.
Hard Water Effects on Plumbing
If you’ve ever seen white, scaly buildup on your faucet, you know the havoc limescale buildup can wreak on your plumbing and fixtures. Limescale is difficult to remove from fixtures and usually takes the shiny finish with it when you finally get it off.
Limescale buildup in your pipes leads to reduced water pressure and clogs. Removing those clogs, also known as descaling pipes, can lead to damage over time. The plumber will eventually have to make a visit to open your walls and replace your pipes.
Hard Water Effects on Skin & Hair
While drinking hard water in the United States is not a health hazard, imagine what limescale does to your skin and hair. Limescale keeps the soap and water from mixing correctly, which leaves soap scum on your skin. This can prevent harmful bacteria from washing away. Soap scum also dries out your skin by preventing moisturizers from absorbing efficiently.
What It’s Worth to You
In the end, it all comes down to what you value most. If you’re a homeowner, not keeping your appliances and plumbing in healthy working condition can quickly add up. Would you instead pay less for a preventative water softener now or wait until the headache of having your pipes replaced? And dry skin can be annoying and painful, but hard water can also be hazardous to your health.
Either way, if you see a white “sheen” on your glass dishes or scaly buildup around the spout of your faucet, it may be time to have your water professionally evaluated.