Monday 19. August 2019
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What is Hard Water

hard water

Hard water is water that has high mineral content. Hard water minerals primarily consist of calcium (Ca2+), and magnesium (Mg2+) metal cations, and sometimes other dissolved compounds such as bicarbonates and sulfates.

Calcium usually enters the water as either calcium carbonate (CaCO3), in the form of limestone and chalk, or calcium sulfate (CaSO4), in the form of other mineral deposits.

Hard water is generally not harmful to one's health.


Hard Water Problems...

Laundering

Clothes washed in hard water often look dingy and feel harsh and scratchy. The hardness minerals combine with some soils to form insoluble salts, making them difficult to remove. Soil on clothes can introduce even more hardness minerals into the wash water. Continuous laundering in hard water can damage fibers and shorten the life of clothes by up to 40 percent.

Bathing

Bathing with soap in hard water leaves a film of sticky soap curd on the skin. The film may prevent removal of soil and bacteria. Soap curd interferes with the return of skin to its normal, slightly acid condition, and may lead to irritation. Soap curd on hair may make it dull, lifeless and difficult to manage.

Dishwashers

When washing dishes, especially in a dishwasher, hard water may cause spotting and filming on your crockery. The minerals from hard water are released faster when it comes into contact with heat, causing an increase in the amount of spotting and filming that occurs. This problem is not a health risk, but it can be a nuisance to clean and reduce the quality of your crockery.

Problems in Water Boiler Systems and Pipework

Hard water also contributes to inefficient and costly operation of water-using appliances. Heated hard water forms a scale of calcium and magnesium minerals (limescale deposits) that can contribute to the inefficient operation or failure of water-using appliances. Pipes can become clogged with scale that reduces water flow and ultimately requires pipe replacement. Limescale has been known to increase energy bills by up to 25%

Limescale in Solar Heating Systems

Solar heating, often used for heating swimming pools is prone to limescale buildup, which can reduce the efficiency of the electronic pump and therefore the overall systems performance will deteriorate.


Hard Water Benefits

Hard water is not a health hazard. In fact, the National Research Council (National Academy of Sciences) states that hard drinking water generally contributes a small amount toward total calcium and magnesium human dietary needs. They further state that in some instances, where dissolved calcium and magnesium are very high, water could be a major contributor of calcium and magnesium to the diet[1].
Moreover, very soft water can corrode the metal pipes in which it is carried and as a result the water may contain elevated levels of cadmium, copper, lead and zinc[2].

The ideal solution would be to leave the calcium in the water, but alter its state so that it couldn't form limescale. This is what magnetic water conditioners DESCALER aim to achieve.

References

  1. Health significance of drinking water calcium and magnesium; František Kožíšek, M.D., Ph.D.;February 2003
  2. Corrosion, Saturation Index, Balanced Water in Drinking Water Systems; Wilkes University
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