If you think you have hard water in your home, you can buy a test kit to find out for sure. You may even find the information you need on your city's website, since their periodic water tests should be public. However, you don't really need a test, because you should be able to tell if you have hard water by the signs it leaves behind. Here's a look at some of the indications your home has hard water and what you can do about it.
Water is considered hard when it has a lot of minerals in it. When the water evaporates, the minerals are left behind. This mineral scale can be seen in various places in your home. You'll probably see it around your shower, tub, and faucets. You may notice it on your dishes too, and particularly on your coffee pot. Mineral scale can even build up inside your plumbing where it can't be seen. Scale can lead to all kinds of problems with your plumbing and appliances. It causes clogs and shortens their lifespans.
Preventing scale buildup is the primary reason you may want to get a water softening system in your home. Hard water isn't necessarily dangerous as a health hazard, but it's a hazard to things like your washing machine, dishwasher, and coffee pot. Plus, it is difficult to remove from your tub, and if you don't use a lot of elbow grease to get rid of it, your bathroom will look dirty. The easiest solution is to install a water softener to eliminate the hard water from doing damage in the first place.
Another sign of hard water is that it doesn't make suds very well. This makes it harder for dish detergent to clean your dishes and laundry soap to clean your clothes. You can even tell the difference in the shower when you use soap on your skin. Soft water creates rich, lathery suds. Plus, it feels silky soft. You'll even notice the difference once you dry your skin. It will feel smoother and more supple. When you install a water softener, you may notice your laundry comes out cleaner and brighter too, especially if you are used to dealing with very hard water.
One good indication of whether you have hard water is found in considering where it comes from. If you get your water from a well on your property, it is probably hard water. However, treated municipal water can be hard too. Water that comes from underground tends to have more minerals and be harder than surface water that comes from a river. The degree of hardness varies among cities and geographic locations. If you want to know exactly how hard your water is, you'll need to do a test. You can buy a kit and test the water yourself, or you can have it tested by a company that installs water softeners.
The way to eliminate problems with hard water is to install a water softener that treats water with salt to chemically make the water softer. Keep in mind, this process doesn't remove odors, microbes, or contaminants from your water. To filter your water for purity, you'll need to add another step in the filtration process. A water softener treats your whole house, while a purity filter is usually installed on a single faucet, such as under the kitchen sink. For more information, speak with experts like Dupage Water Conditioning.