Hard water is water that is rich in magnesium carbonate, calcium carbonate ions, and other minerals. It forms as a result of percolation of water through chalk and limestone deposits that are mainly composed of magnesium carbonate and calcium carbonate.
Water can either be permanently or temporarily hard.
There are various damaging effects of using hard water. In industrial settings, it can lead to the breakdown of equipment such as boilers and cooling towers. On the other hand, in domestic environments, hard water can cause clogging of pipes and accumulation of limescale in home appliances such as water heaters and kettles.
In this article, we will cover some of the best ways to deal with the damaging effects of hard water.
1. Home Water Filtration
Nearly all commercial water filters make use of ion exchange resins to get rid of water hardness. Filters are made in the form of beads that are packed in cylinders popularly known as ion exchange columns. They are fitted with home appliances like dishwashers, shower heads or plumbing systems to continuously make water that passes through it soft.
Resin beads comprise of sodium ions. Magnesium and calcium ions swap with sodium ions as hard water flows through the home water filtration systems. Magnesium and calcium ions remain attached to the resin beads. Consequently, the water becomes soft because of absence of the two aforementioned mineral ions.
Some home water filtration devices make use of hydrogen ions rather than sodium ions.
2. Addition of Sodium Bicarbonate
Hard water contains high levels of magnesium and calcium carbonate ions. The ions usually precipitate, resulting in the formation of limescale. Limescale not only makes taps look ugly but also causes clogging of pipes found in heating systems.
Washing soda/ sodium bicarbonate can get rid of both permanent and temporary hardness. Sodium carbonate can dissolve in water, whereas magnesium and calcium carbonate cannot. Sodium carbonate ions react with ions from magnesium and calcium contained in the water. As a result, an insoluble precipitate is formed.
The water becomes soft because of the absence of magnesium and calcium ions. Consequently, it would form lather with soap more easily.
To eliminate the effects that hard water often causes in your home, you can consider boiling the water before use. However, boiling can only get rid of temporary hardness. Additionally, the water can only be boiled after it has been fetched from the pipes. Therefore, this technique should be used alongside other methods.
4. Non-precipitating Conditioner
Commercial non-precipitating conditioners work by trapping some minerals while washing dishes or doing laundry. It’s important to choose conditioners that don’t precipitate to avoid leaving stains on dishes, clothing or washing machines.
Are you aware that vinegar can eliminate stains on fabric, dishes, and drains? Stains are usually caused by the accumulation of minerals found in hard water.
To get rid of stubborn stains, apply either diluted or concentrated vinegar on stained surfaces or clothing, scrub and rinse with enough water.
Follow these few tips and avoid any future damaging effects of hard water in your home.