Getting used to living in a new home with hard well water can be daunting and stressful when you start realizing that hard well water is quite a bit different from the city water you are accustomed to. Well water tends to taste and smell different from city water, particularly when city water has a lot of chlorine in it, but that's not the only considerable difference between well water and city water. The hardness of water makes a huge difference. Here's what you need to know.
Well Water Is Laden With Minerals
Well water is naturally filtered through the ground. The water picks up minerals, particularly calcium and magnesium, during this natural process. These minerals dissolving in the water make the water hard. The more minerals in the water, the harder the water will be.
So what does this mean, exactly? Well, water hardness isn't going to affect your health, but it can cause a number of different annoying things, some of which can be expensive.
Several Differences You May Notice
Hard water causes several things that can ultimately impact your wallet, including these 3 things:
- You'll need more soap. You will notice that you will use more soap to create lather than you needed when you had city water. The minerals in hard water do not allow soaps to be effective. The salts in the soap bind to the minerals and cause the minerals to be insoluble, which means the minerals don't dissolve. The result is soap scum instead of lather. You'll use more soap to get the amount of lather necessary to break down the oil and dirt you're trying to wash away.
- You'll need to repair or replace appliances. Any appliance that uses water may need to be repaired or even replaced at some point in the future. The mineral content in hard water can get deposited onto the piping and heating elements of your water heater and various appliances, including your coffee maker. The build-up can cause blockages, as well as damaging components such as thermostats.
- Your water pressure may get low. Mineral deposits can also form inside your home's plumbing. If the deposits take up too much space inside the plumbing, you'll notice a drop in water pressure or worse — a complete blockage. In extreme cases, pipes and fixtures may need to be completely replaced.
A Water Softener Can Help
While the problem is caused by the water coming from the well, the remedy for the problem is to hire a plumber to install either a water softener or a water conditioner in your home. The main difference between a water softener and a water conditioner is that a softener removes the minerals and replaces them with salt while a conditioner prevents the minerals from binding together or onto surfaces. Softened water has no mineral content, but conditioned water still has the same mineral content as before.
You can choose to install a system for your entire house or just at certain points such as the kitchen sink. Keep in mind that some systems require more maintenance than others, such as salt versus salt-free water softeners. Your plumber can help you determine which type of system would work best for you and your family.
However, when you first install a water softener or conditioner, you may notice sediment in your water. Should this happen, don't be too alarmed. The likely cause of this would be the mineral deposits inside the plumbing being broken up by the softened or conditioned water as it flows through the plumbing. Alternatively, ask your plumber to descale your home's plumbing before installing the water softener or water conditioner.
To learn more, contact a plumber.