Hard Water: What is it and How to Reduce It

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According to the WQA (Water Quality Association), the most common problem reported by consumers throughout the US is hard water. According to a U.S. Geological Survey, hard water is present in more than 85% of the country. Yikes!

What causes hard water

More than 60% of the earth’s water is groundwater. As it travels through soil and rock, it picks up minerals (including magnesium and calcium) along the way. These two contaminants (calcium and magnesium) produce hardness in water. Generally, hardness is measured in grains per gallon (gpg).  For example, if a water test indicates a range of 1.0 to 3.5 gpg, the water is considered slightly hard. If the measurement is greater than 10.5 gpg, the water is rated as being very hard.

How to know if you have hard water

  1. Clogged pipes and appliances is a common sign of hard water. Hard water mineral deposits can build up in pipes or plumbing equipment, coffee makers, and more. You may notice a reduced water flow.
  2. You may notice a film on their shower tiles or bathtubs, or even on yourself. The film that is left often results in additional scrubbing and scouring of the affected fixtures, and can cause hair to be dull and limp, and dry the skin. Also, your water heating costs could increase as a result of hard water. Hard water mineral deposits can form an insulating barrier between the heating element and the water to be heated.
  3. The calcium and magnesium in hard water negatively act on many detergents and soaps causing a reduction in their cleaning capabilities. The soapy residue they form can be abrasive and reduce the life of clothing.

How to solve your hard water problem

To solve the problem of hard water in your home, filtration will be the most effective approach. By investing in a water softening system, it will “swap out” the excessive magnesium and calcium (as well as other hard water minerals present) for sodium ions. These ions will decrease the negative effects of hard water in your home.

Three main parts make up water softeners:

  1. Resin bed: Made up of small bead-like materials. The beads will attract and hold positively charged ions(such as sodium), but will exchange them whenever it encounters another positively charged ion such as magnesium and calcium.
  2. Resin tank: Contains the resin bed
  3. Brine tank: Holds the dissolved salt solution that is necessary to “regenerate” the resin (i.e to reverse the ion exchange operation). The salt will force the magnesium and calcium ions to be released, where they are then discharged as waste during the backwashing cycle. The beads will then be ready to once again attract hardness ions from the water.

Conclusion

Chances are you’ll come face to face with hard water and some point in time, but with the right tools, you can reduce the chances of it being a consistent nuisance in your home.

Bad Hair Day? Water Softener System to the Rescue!

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I’ve got unruly hair… always have. My hair is coarse, long and thick.  I grew up in rural OH and had very hard water to contend with.  Hard water, aka water containing large amounts of minerals such as calcium, magnesium, bicarbonates and sulfates, is not kind to girls with hair like mine… or any hair type for that matter.  How do you know hard water is affecting your locks?  I know the symptoms all too well.  Let me share:

  • Hair never “feels” clean.  You can’t fully rinse out the shampoo or conditioner.  There is always a residue sticking around.
  • Your hair is dry (straw-like even), and breaks at the gentlest touch no matter how many deep conditioning treatments you use.
  • Tangles upon tangles, regardless of the amount of conditioner applied.
  • Hair color – don’t bother.  It will fade before you get home from the salon.
  • And frizz…don’t forget the frizz.

 

Why does hard water have this effect? Basically it is due to the high mineral content present.  The minerals cause the hair cuticles to “stand up” which gives the hair that rough feel. For the same reason, it becomes nearly impossible to rinse hair thoroughly. Plus, since shampoo cannot break down properly in hard water, it is difficult to wash out styling products, resulting in product build-up. In addition to causing bad hair days, dissolved calcium and magnesium in your hard water causes scale. Scale builds up on the insides of pipes, water heaters, tea pots and coffee makers. Overtime scale build up can completely clog pipes and ruin appliances.

Fortunately for me and others like me, there is a solution!  We just need to filter the water before we use it.  The best way to accomplish this is to invest in a water softening system for your house.   These systems replace excessive calcium and magnesium, as well as other mineral content in your water, with sodium ions, which decrease the detrimental effects of hard water. There are other benefits to installing a home water softening system as stated on Livestrong.com such as:

  1. Easier cleaning. Softened water helps rinse off soap residue for cleaner dishes and clothes, as well as your general household cleaning.
  2. Longer lifespan for appliances.  Hard water minerals can build up over time in your appliances causing decreased efficiency and usability.  According to North Dakota State University, water-softening systems extend the life of washing machines, dishwashers, water heaters and other appliances that use water.
  3. Faster hot water.  Softened water heats quicker. Estimates find increased efficiency in water heaters up to 30% when using soft water!
  4. Cleaner plumbing system.  The mineral and metal build up caused by hard water can lead to clogs and corrosion in your pipes and your faucet fixtures.  Softened water can eliminate this issue, saving you money on costly repairs and replacements.

 

There are a variety of water softeners available.  Visit FiltersFast.com for all of your water filtration needs and say goodbye to “bad” hair for good!

 

How Water and Air Filtration Affect Your Quality of Food

We all need food to survive. According to NPR.org, Americans eat 1,996 pounds of food per year. That is equivalent to the weight of an elephant. July is National Culinary Arts Month, a month long celebration to promote awareness of cooks and their contributions to new culinary trends. Any cook will tell you that having great food quality is critical to any dish that you are preparing. Did you know that air and water has a big impact on the food we eat. How? For starters, water is used throughout the production of food. From the farm to processing to the kitchen table, water is a direct ingredient in many of our favorite dishes.

Hard water in particular can have a negative impact on food quality. How? Fruits and vegetables become extremely tough if cooked in hard water. This is due to the amount of calcium ions in the water influencing its textural properties. The taste of pasta can also be negatively affected by this. The Everpure Water Softening Cartridge softens your water by reducing minerals like calcium and magnesium, which are the culprits of hard water. This cartridge will also help improve the taste of your beverages, such as tea or coffee as well.

Sometimes, half the battle in food quality is keeping the food fresh. To do this, many of us resort to our refrigerator to keep meals safe to consume. But often, the refrigerator could be doing the opposite of what we want it to do. If your refrigerator air filter has not been replaced or is not working properly, your food will not stay fresh and will create unpleasant food odors in your fridge. How do you overcome this problem? The Frigidaire PureAir Ultra Refrigerator Air Filter eliminates foul odors from your refrigerator and freezer. This Frigidaire filter uses a combination of activated carbon, baking soda and zeolites, that will last up to 6 months and help food stay fresh.

Even if you are not a culinary artist, you still want to prepare meals that are pleasing to the palate for you and your family. The next time you notice a drop in your food quality, do not automatically blame your cooking. It could be a result of the water quality or even your refrigerator’s air filter.