Welcome to H2OKits Water Blog - The Official Blog for www.H2OKits.comJust the other day, I came home to my beautiful bride trying so hard to clean my son's vaporizer. To my surprise, I found a large amount of mineral build-up 0n both vaporizer probes. The deposited material was inhibiting the vaporizer from working properly and therefore making it inefficient. After I got both probes cleaned, I decided to take a picture of the material that was calcified on the two 3 inch probes to illustrate how hard water deposits negatively impacts your appliances. I did not recover all the material but I did get 75% of it. That's when I realized that consumers may not consider the negative impact of their hard water and decided to share this information with you.
What is Hard Water?
Hard water is water that has a high mineral content (contrast with soft water). Hard water usually consists of calcium (Ca2+), magnesium (Mg2+) ions, and possibly 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. The predominant source of magnesium is dolomite (CaMg(CO3)2). Hard water is generally not harmful. The simplest way to determine the hardness of water is by using a Water Hardness Test Kit.
Primary Drinking Water Standards are based on health considerations and Secondary Standards are based on taste, odor, color, corrosivity, foaming, and staining properties of water. There is no Primary or Secondary standard for water hardness. Water hardness is classified by the U.S. Department of Interior and the Water Quality Association as follows:
Classification (mg/l or ppm)
Soft (Dark Blue)----------------- 0 - 17.1
Slightly hard (Light Blue)--------17.1 - 60
Moderately hard (Light Blue)----60 - 120
Hard (White)-------------------120 - 180
Very Hard (Red)---------------180 & over
The Effects of Hard Water
Hard water interferes with almost every cleaning task from laundering and dish washing to bathing and personal grooming. Clothes laundered in hard water may look dingy and feel harsh and scratchy. Dishes and glasses may be spotted when dry. Hard water may cause a film on glass shower doors, shower walls, bathtubs, sinks, faucets, etc. Hair washed in hard water may feel sticky and look dull. Water flow may be reduced by deposits in pipes.
Dealing with hard water problems in the home can be a nuisance. The amount of hardness minerals in water affects the amount of soap and detergent necessary for cleaning. Soap used in hard water combines with the minerals to form a sticky soap curd. Some synthetic detergents are less effective in hard water because the active ingredient is partially inactivated by hardness, even though it stays dissolved. 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.
When doing laundry in hard water, soap curds lodge in fabric during washing to make fabric stiff and rough. Incomplete soil removal from laundry causes graying of white fabric and the loss of brightness in colors. A sour odor can develop in clothes. Continuous laundering in hard water can shorten the life of clothes. In addition, soap curds can deposit on dishes, bathtubs and showers, and all water fixtures.
Hard water also contributes to inefficient and costly operation of water-using appliances. Heated hard water forms a scale of calcium and magnesium minerals 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.
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