What Is “Hard” Water and What Does It Mean for My Minnesota Home?

“Hard” water is basically water that has a high amount of minerals (mostly calcium and magnesium) dissolved into it.

And even though hard water isn’t dangerous to our health, it can cause a number of household problems. 

Some of those “hard water problems” include:

  • Scale buildup in pipes and water appliances (water heater damage)
  • Film and spotting on dishes
  • Stiff clothes after laundering

We’ll explain each of those “hard water problems” and show you what you can do to prevent them. But first, let’s take a closer look at how hard water is formed.

How do minerals get into the water in the first place?

Well, as rain falls, it travels along the ground or rocks, absorbing minerals along the way. So, usually, the type of terrain that a certain area has determines how “hard” or “soft” the water will be.

And because the terrain under Minnesota is saturated with limestone, the water is particularly hard in this area. Note: Limestone is made primarily of calcium carbonate.

In fact, the water in Minnesota has 15 to 25 grains of hardness per gallon of water (GPG is a measurement of water hardness). Compared to the national average of 5 to 9 GPG, our water is considered “very hard”.


A map of water hardness throughout the U.S. In this graphic, water hardness is measured by milligrams of hardness per liter of water.
Source

What does “very hard water” mean for my Minnesota home?

Hard water isn’t a health concern but it can make life a little tougher. For example, hard water can cause the following problems:

Scale buildup in pipes and water appliances

As hard water travels, some of the minerals leave the water and cling to the surfaces of your pipes and water appliances. And over time, those minerals build up, creating a thick scale that:

  • Reduces the flow of water
  • Encourages bacteria growth
  • Reduces the efficiency of water heaters
  • Damages and reduces the lifespan of water appliances (especially water heaters)

Film on glasses and dishes

Just like limescale can cling to the insides of your pipes, it can also cling to the surfaces of your dishes. This layer of film makes glass dishes look dull, grimy and dirty.

Over time, that film will be harder and harder to remove from your dishes, forcing you to use more dishwasher detergent to clean your glasses. In fact, one study found that homeowners with hard water used 50% more dishwasher detergent than homeowners with soft water.

Stiff clothes after doing laundry

The extra minerals in our hard water react with laundry detergent soaps to form a “curd”. That soapy curd clings to your clothes making them look dirty, feel stiff and appear discolored.

And just like dishwasher detergents, many homeowners find themselves using twice as much laundry detergent to get clothes softer and cleaner.

The solution? Whole-home water softening

If you’re tired of dealing with hard water problems, the simple solution is to soften your water. A whole-home water softener remove minerals in your water before the water enters your home or travels through your pipes and appliances.

Installing a whole-home water softener means:

  • Cleaner, sparkling glass dishes 
  • Less soap scum left behind on shower curtains and bathtubs
  • Money saved on dishwasher detergent and laundry detergent
  • Extended life of water appliances, including your water heater
  • Better tasting water

Want to learn more about whole-home water softening? Ask a Minnesota tech

If you want to know more about how you can benefit from a whole-home water softener, just contact us.

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