Due to the low rainfall in our region, Phoenix largely relies on groundwater to supply the homes throughout the city. As a result, hard water is quite common in the area. Professionals can help homeowners learn about the hardness of their water and find the best ways to soften it.

What Is Water Hardness?

Because of its ability to dissolve a variety of substances and minerals, water is sometimes called a universal solvent. Two of the most common minerals that contribute to the hardness of water include magnesium and calcium ions. When they dissolve in the water supplied to your home, they create solid forms of magnesium carbonate and calcium carbonate.

In the United States, grains per gallon (gpg) is the common unit of measurement to show the hardness of water. This measurement includes the combined amount of magnesium and calcium ions.

To classify water hardness, there are four primary categories:
  • Less than 1 gpg, soft water
  • 1 to 3.5 gpg, slightly hard water
  • 3.5 to 7 gpg, moderately hard water
  • Over 7 gpg, hard water

Causes of Water Hardness

A region’s geology and geological features are largely responsible for how hard the water is in a specific area. Aquifers are a common source of hard water, and one is the primary source of residential water in Phoenix. Wells are also a big source of hard water. This is because water from both of these sources goes through geological formations that are rich in minerals.

Some water from lakes and rivers can also contain enough minerals to be classified as hard. This typically occurs when water flowing into these comes from mineral-rich groundwater sources.

Rainwater passes through different rocks on its way to bodies of water or underground water sources. The most common rocks include gypsum, limestone, and dolomite. As it passes through these rocks, water picks up magnesium and calcium ions.

Effects of Hard Water

Hard water can have various effects on your home. The harder the water, the more significant the consequences will be.

Your household appliances that rely on a water source may not have as long a life span when you have hard water. Such appliances include washing machines, water heaters, and dishwashers. You might also notice less efficiency when you are using these appliances. The issues stem from mineral deposits accumulating in the pipes that feed water to these devices.

If you have hard water, after you take a shower, your skin and hair may look duller and feel drier. This is because hard water cannot effectively rinse shampoo and soaps from your hair and body. That results in a residue building up.

You may also notice that your detergents and soaps are not as efficient with hard water. When you have hard water, it will interact with your detergents and soaps, making them less effective for cleaning. Because of this, you may come to realize that you are using more of them to get things clean.

Hard water may result in corrosion and clogs in your home’s plumbing system. This is due to the fact that it can cause scale buildup that decreases the water flow rate in your pipes.

Testing for Water Hardness

It is vital to get professionals to test the water hardness in your home. They know exactly what to check for and how to use the tests to get accurate results. However, there are some signs to look for that indicate your home has hard water. Inspect your faucets for evidence of scale buildup. This looks like a white chalky substance. It can take a while to accumulate.

If your laundry looks and feels different after you wash it, this could be due to hard water. It may start to discolor or look dull even when it is relatively new. Clothing and other laundered items might also feel scratchy and stiff despite the use of a fabric softener. Your laundry probably won’t get as clean as it would in soft water.

Your dishes and glassware may have streaks and white spots after you clean them. This is true whether you wash them by hand or run them through your dishwasher. Over time, the mineral deposits responsible for the streaks and spots can accumulate on your dishes and glasses and be more difficult to remove.

You might notice soap scum forming much faster on your shower, bathtub, shower doors, and bath tiles if you have hard water. Compared to normal soap scum, it can also be more difficult to remove.

When you have hard water, it can be harder to work bath soaps and shampoos into a lather. You could also have a harder time rinsing these products.

If these signs are present, it is time to call in professionals. They will utilize tests that are highly accurate and more precise than the test strips you can get at the hardware store. When they do the testing, they will not only tell you if you are dealing with hard water, but they can also inform you of the exact levels of magnesium and calcium that are present. This will make it easier to pick the best water-softening solution for your home.

Softening Hard Water

Once you know that you have hard water in your home, it is time to choose a method for softening it. There are four primary water management and softening techniques available.

The first is chemical softening. This uses sodium carbonate and lime to treat and soften your water. They both work to remove the minerals from your water that cause it to harden.

Template-assisted crystallization systems take the hardness ions and transform them into microscopic crystals. Unlike the scale from normal ions, these microscopic ones will not adhere to surfaces. The system then flushes them out so that they are not able to accumulate.

Ion exchange water softeners will swap out sodium ions for magnesium and calcium ions using resin beads. You will need to recharge the resin beads periodically to keep your water soft.

Reverse osmosis is another option for water softening. It utilizes a semi-permeable membrane to remove hard minerals from your water. While it does this, it also removes a variety of other impurities so that your water is cleaner too.

Get Softer Water in Phoenix

Softening your Phoenix home’s water can be beneficial for everything from drinking to bathing. Our experts at Wyman Plumbing & Mechanical can come to your location and test your water, offer you the analysis and sound advice, and help you choose the best method for softening it.

Once we complete this project, we are also available for a variety of other plumbing needs from water heaters to trenchless pipe services. Our team of professionals can also assist with your appliance repair and smoke testing requirements.

Contact us at Wyman Plumbing & Mechanical today to learn more about dealing with hard water in Phoenix.

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