Is Hard Water Bad for You?

Is Hard Water Bad for You?
If your home has hard water, you’ve probably noticed some of the symptoms - from limescale on your fixtures, to dry skin after a shower. Over time, the nuisances of hard water can cost you money, as your pipes clog and your appliances need repair or replacement.

While the negative effects of hard water aren’t typically a health or safety issue, other contaminants that often accompany it - such as iron and manganese - may put your health at risk.

The only way to know for sure what else may be lurking in your water - and how to treat it - is to test it, and choose the appropriate filtration solution.

Whether your home has hard water alone, or other issues, the installation of a water treatment solution is a wise investment in protecting both your home and your health.

What is hard water?

Water is classified as “hard” when it has a high concentration of dissolved minerals in it.

Hard water is formed when groundwater travels through and dissolves minerals such as calcium and magnesium, carrying them into your groundwater supply. The higher the mineral content, the harder the water.

While the level of hardness varies across the country, 85% of US homes have hard water. Measured in grains per gallon (GPG), you may start to see the effects of hard water at around 7 gpg of hardness.

If you’ve noticed chalky buildup on your faucets, or spots on your freshly washed glasses, you’re seeing signs of hard water. In order to choose the most effective treatment solution, you will need to test your water to verify both the level of hardness, and to identify any other contaminants that need treatment.

Health effects of hard water

The good news is, hard water itself isn’t considered a health risk.

The calcium and magnesium in hard water may actually contribute a small amount towards your dietary needs. Some studies suggest hard water may provide a protective effect from cardiovascular disease, or a protection against cancer, or protect against atherosclerosis in children.

It’s the other contaminants that often accompany hard water - such as iron and manganese - which may cause negative health effects.

Excessive iron may make your hair dry, brittle and discolored, and aggravate skin problems such as acne or eczema.

High levels of manganese can cause problems with memory, attention, and motor skills. Excess manganese can also cause learning and behavior problems in infants and children.

Because hard water is usually not the only issue in a home’s water supply, any other contaminants discovered in your water test will likely have their own list of potential health risks.

Impacts of hard water on the body

The effects that hard water have on your body aren’t considered health risks as much as nuisances.

Hard water prevents soap from lathering or rinsing well.

Instead of fully dissolving, some soap combines with the minerals in hard water, making you have to use more soap to try to get clean. When you shower, a film of undissolved soap can remain clinging to your skin, making it feel dry and itchy.

When you wash your hair, shampoo that barely lathers leaves it dry and limp.

Hard water may trigger eczema of your skin, and dandruff in your hair.

Testing your water hardness

The most effective treatment of your water issues relies on verifying your full range of problems.

If you suspect you have hard water and your water source is a municipal water treatment facility, you can check out your local Consumer Confidence Report (CCR), an annual drinking water quality report from your water supplier. If you have a private well, you can purchase a water test kit and test it yourself.

Read more about how to tell if you have hard water

How to solve for hard water?

There are two primary options for addressing hard water: water softeners, and salt-free water conditioners.

Salt-based water softeners remove minerals from your water, while salt-free water conditioners prevent the minerals from adhering to your pipes and appliances.

Read more about how water softeners work

Shop Water Softeners

Shop Salt-Free Water Conditioners

If you want to treat more complex issues, you can review the full line of treatment systems, or contact a Tier1® customer service expert to discuss your options.

Call for personal recommendations from Tier1® customer service at 1-855-378-9116.

Read more about filtering water of contaminants at home

Read more about best whole house water filtration systems

Hard water treatment helps your home and health

In the U.S., you’re more likely than not to have to deal with hard water in your home.

The effects you experience from hard water may be not only an annoyance, but the cause of serious issues.

When you test your water to verify what exactly is in your water, you can choose the most effective treatment, in order to make the best long-term investment in your home and health.