How to Tell if You Have Hard Water (And How to Fix It)

A United States Geological Survey found that 85% of homes in the US have water with some level of hardness. Not only can hard water be an annoyance for homeowners, but it can also wreak havoc on your plumbing system. 

Learning how to recognize the signs of hard water in your home can help you identify the issue and find a permanent solution to prevent hard water in the future. 

Do you want to learn more about the most common signs that you have hard water? Keep reading this article for everything you need to know about spotting this issue and how to fix hard water in houses. 

Signs of Hard Water

Learning how to recognize hard water is essential for homeowners. It will help you identify the problem within your plumbing so you can treat it before it is too late. 

Here are some of the most common signs that you have hard water in your home. 

Low Water Flow

First, you likely have hard water if you have low water flow or water pressure in your house. This is often because hard water leads to scale, a buildup of mineral deposits. If these are left untreated, it can cause clogged pipes. 

Because of this, it makes it more difficult for water to flow through your plumbing systems. You may notice that the water pressure from your shower or other faucets is much lower than normal if you have hard water. 

Soap Scum or Limescale

Another easy way to identify hard water in your home is by finding soap scum or limescale on many of the fixtures in your home. Soap scum and limescale are often mistaken for each other but are different. 

Limescale is an off-white, chalky deposit that is created when hard water is heated or when it evaporates.

On the other hand, soap scum is created when soap and calcium ions come together. The result of this combination is an invaluable precipitate that coats surfaces in showers, tubs, and sinks. 

If you notice either of these types of buildup on your sink, tub, shower, or faucets, it is a clear sign that you have hard water. 

Water Spots on Dishes

Not only does soap scum affect your appliances and things like your shower, but it can even impact the appearance of your dishes. When you clean your dishes and the water evaporates, it will leave behind calcium and magnesium deposits. 

This results in spotty dishes that never look truly clean. To prevent these spots from developing, it will require a lot of elbow grease and you may even have to dry all of your dishes by hand. 

Stains on Porcelain

While hard water can cause soap scum and limescale buildup in your home, it can also lead to other unsightly stains on your porcelain. This is because some of the minerals in hard water, specifically iron, can cause stains that look like rust spots. 

This will lead to red or brown stains in your toilet or in your bathtub. While the stains can be removed, they will likely keep appearing in your home until you have completely resolved your hard water problem. 

Strange Tasting and Smelling Water

Not only does hard water leave spots and stains around your home, but it can even affect your drinking water. Many people find that hard water tastes metallic because of the excess minerals it contains. 

Most often, iron is what contributes to the metallic taste in your water. 

However, hard water can smell like other minerals and may even smell like rotten eggs. If your water tastes or smells strange, you may want to invest in iron filters for well water or sulfur filters for well water. 

This water purification may be able to solve the problem and remove many of the minerals from your drinking water

Dry Skin

Hard water can also cause serious dry skin and other skin irritations. This is because hard water makes it difficult to completely remove soap from your skin while you bathe. 

The soap residue and mineral deposits that are left behind on your skin can dry out your skin and make it itchy. 

If your family already has skin conditions, like eczema, it may make the symptoms worse. 

Soap Is Hard to Lather

When you bathe in hard water, it can impact your shower experience and make it more difficult to get clean. As was mentioned before, the soap reacts with the minerals in hard water which makes it hard for your soap to lather when you bathe. 

This is why the soap is more difficult to wash off. 

If you notice that your body wash or your shampoo is not lathering and you are not getting as clean when you bathe, it could be due to hard water buildup in your shower. 

Grimy Clothing

Grimy clothing is another common sign that you are dealing with hard water in your home. This is because the hard water that creates the soap scum in your home makes it difficult to wash soap residue from your clothing. 

This means that as you do a load of laundry, the water doesn’t completely remove the soap from your clothes. Sometimes, the soap residue even traps dirt in your clothing which makes them look dirty and feel grimy after being washed.

It increases the soil buildup on your clothing, making your clothes feel scratchier and making them look dingy.  Often, this causes your clothing to look dull and less vibrant. It can even make your clothes wear out more quickly. 

Some minerals, like iron, can even stain your clothes when it oxidizes. 

While you can buy special detergent formulated to work with hard water, it will often require more laundry detergent to get your clothes clean. Instead, it is best to invest in a water softener or a whole house water filtration system. 

Dull Hair

Just as hard water affects your skin, it can also affect your hair. Because the hard water takes moisture out of your hair, it makes your hair look dull and lifeless. 

It also makes it difficult to completely rinse the shampoo out of your hair, which can make it look dirty even after you have just washed it. 

When you solve your hard water problem, you will find that your hair instantly looks better and is easier to manage!

Inefficient Household Appliances

Finally, you may have hard water in your home if your appliances don’t run as efficiently as they did when you first bought them. As was mentioned before, hard water can lead to scale buildup in your pipes and make it more difficult for water to pass through. 

Just as this affects your plumbing system, it can affect any other household appliances that use water. This includes your dishwasher, washing machine, water heater, and even things like your coffee maker. 

As the minerals from the water hardness accumulate on your appliances, it causes them to wear down more quickly. This makes them run inefficiently and may lead to an early replacement for many of your appliances. 

Not only can hard water make your appliances wear out more quickly, but it can also increase your utility bills. When an appliance is less efficient, it requires more energy to do its job and will lead to increased bills each month. 

Hard Water Treatment

One of the main ways that you can treat hard water is with a water softener. it is a type of whole house water filtration system that removes minerals from your water that cause hard water. This includes minerals like calcium and magnesium. 

A typical water softener uses ion exchange and needs sodium to function properly. However, there are also salt-free water softeners that you can use in your home!

An alternative to a water softener is known as a water conditioner. Rather than removing hard water minerals from the water supply, it changes the makeup of these minerals. 

This will prevent the minerals from sticking to your plumbing and will reduce scale buildup in your appliances and plumbing systems. However, this will not truly treat hard water. Because of this, you may still notice mineral spots on your dishes and many other signs of hard water in your home. 

Finally, you can use reverse osmosis water filters or well water filtration systems to remove hard water from your home. Because a hard water filter removes the minerals from your water, it can prevent the minerals from building up in your plumbing. 

If you need drinking water filters for your home, we can help!

Have Hard Water in Your Home? Get Hard Water Treatment Today

Hard water is an annoyance for homeowners and can make it difficult to keep your dishes, clothes, and fixtures clean. However, it can also be a serious issue for your plumbing system and can cause thousands in damage. 

Getting a water softener or a water filtration system can help you remove these contaminants from your water and prevent these issues! If you need salt-free water softeners, Palm Beach Water Purification can help!

Contact us today to learn more about our products and for a free in-home water testing service!