What is hard water?

Are stains ruining your bathroom sink and glassware, and is your skin dry and itchy? It sounds like you have hard water.

Are stains ruining your bathroom sink and glassware, and is your skin dry and itchy? It sounds like you have hard water. But what is hard water? Understanding this pest is the first step in learning how to prevent it from wreaking havoc on your home and in your life.
Hard water is water that contains too many minerals, particularly magnesium and calcium. While not health hazards, these contaminants can be a nuisance and costly to you and your household.
Nearly 85 percent of American homes experience the symptoms of hard water, and many of them don't believe they have a choice in the matter.
And while magnesium is important -- every cell of every living thing needs magnesium to function, and we use it in everything from antacids to fireworks - having it in your water can lead to problems, such as:
  • Film and stains on glass shower doors, shower walls, bath tubs, sinks and faucets;
  • Sticky, dull hair;
  • Laundered clothes to appear dingy and feel scratchy;
  • Higher energy consumption and cost due to poor water flow in pipes and scale buildup in water heaters;
  • Mineral-derived odors in your home;
  • An increase in the amount of soap and detergent needed for cleaning;
  • A film of sticky soap curd on skin;
  • Spots on dishes and glassware;
  • Irritated skin.
But there is good news! Understanding what causes hard water (magnesium and calcium) can play a big role in how to prevent it from spotting glassware and making skin itchy.
How to make water soft
The best way to soften hard water is to purchase and install a water softener. These machines work as ion exchange systems to remove dissolved minerals.
Water softeners have resin tanks, in which water runs through a bed of beads covered with sodium or potassium ions. As water flows through the beads, hard ions trade places with softer ones, eliminating impurities in your water.
It may not be much to look at, but the old softener has come a long way.
Over time, your softener's resin beads will need to regenerate. To recharge them, add salt to your brine tank to swap calcium and magnesium ions with sodium and potassium ones. Doing so also flushes dirt and sediments from the beads into a wastewater drain.
Culligan makes this part easy: we deliver salt straight to your home.
When it comes to hard water, you do have a choice. Schedule a free water test with your local Culligan water expert. He or she will help you determine how hard your water is, diagnose all of your water issues and recommend a water treatment solution to best fit your needs.
Because your water, and your life, don't need to be harder than necessary.
For more on magnesium and hard water, watch our video: