What is Hard Water Well Water | FAQ's

Water Treatment Systems For Hard Water

Hard water is a common problem for many homeowners. While it poses no health threat, it can be a nuisance. Hard water is caused by dissolved calcium and magnesium and the approximate water “hardness” can be determined with a simple home water test kit.  To exactly determine the concentration of minerals does, however, require laboratory analysis.

Adding powdered or liquid softeners to a batch of water can manage water hardness, but there are other treatment systems to address the issue as well. Ion exchange softening units can effectively reduce water hardness for example. The effectiveness of physical water treatment devices to control scale build-up or otherwise manage hardness has not been scientifically tested.

FAQ's About Hard Water

1.  What is Hard Water?

Dissolved compounds of calcium and magnesium, and occasionally other divalent and trivalent metallic elements present cause water hardness. The term “hard water” originated to describe waters that were “hard to wash in.” This referred to the soap wasting properties prevalent with mineralized water.  The dissolved minerals prevent soap from lathering by causing the development of an insoluble precipitate in the water.

Hardness can be a nuisance as it typically causes scale buildup on pans and in pipes and water heaters. It interferes with almost every cleaning task, from laundry to dishwashing, bathing, and personal grooming. The amount of mineral hardness in the water determines the amount of soap and detergent needed for cleaning. Water hardness also affects the efficiency of dishwashers, washing machines, and water heaters can increase your energy consumption and costs.

2.  What Causes Hard Water?

The minerals that cause water hardness, calcium and magnesium are abundant in nature, and while they’re not found in their elemental form in the earth, they occur in combination with other elements in a variety of forms. Common minerals that contain calcium include chalk, limestone and marble. The elements are chiefly calcium carbonate (CaCO3), or mixtures of calcium and magnesium with other impurities. The hardness in water is caused by these dissolved minerals and other cations.

3.  Hard Water Treatment Options

Water softening can remedy many of the objectionable effects of water hardness. In terms of water treatment, hard water can be remedied with either a point-of-use or point-of-entry system. Because hard water may actually have some health benefits, a point of use system is often a good choice. This allows homemakers to have a choice of hard water or soft water for consumption. Unfortunately, this does not address the other issues of scaling and laundering.

Some municipalities treat for water hardness at the source so this is not an option for some homeowners on city or municipal water supplies. Hardness can be reduced using one of three basic methods.

  • Chemical softening – using lime or lime soda softening, hot and cold
  • Membrane separation or nano filtration
  • Cation exchange softening – inorganic, activated carbon, or organic base exchanges

For home use, water softening is almost exclusively done through the use of Cation Exchange Systems.

If you have a hard water problem, your best remedy is to contact Skilling & Sons. We’re happy to come to your home, check your water and explain the options available to you.  Water treatment can make your hard water problems disappear!