What is Hard Water?

Water Hardness

Hard water, AKA total hardness, happens when water makes its slow journey through different layers of natural strata.

As it percolates through various layers, it spends a long time in layers which may be chalk, gypsum and limestone. These consist of large amounts of calcium and magnesium carbonates, bicarbonates and sulfates, and it's the minerals in the layers that turns the water hard.

In America, when water holds over 120 mg per litre of calcium carbonate it is ranked as “hard” or “very hard.”

Over 50% of the water stations in the country have this type of water, while the other half were noted as “soft” or “moderately hard.”

The majority of surface rocks throughout North America are sedimentary. The mountain region of the west and southwest consist of igneous rocks, while the Appalachian Mountain region of the U.S. and eastern Canada are metamorphic rocks.

Limestone is a common carbonate sedimentary rock and often contains skeletal fragments of marine organisms – coral, foraminifera and molluscs. This is why it's heavy with calcite and aragonite, which cause water hardness.

The Great Lakes region, straddling the Canadian border, has some of the hardest water in America. This area makes up over 20% of freshwater on earth.

The Effect of Hard Water

Hard water is the impact that it has in industrial settings, as well as dwellings. Its signature of accumulated calcium on water-exposed surfaces tells you that you have a hard water problem.

Expect Malfunctions
You can expect malfunctions and costly repairs, including breakdown of boilers, water towers and other equipment used with water that has total hardness. In the home, be aware of inevitable lifespan and corrosion problems with water heaters, dishwashers, water pipes and fittings, and water ionizer/alkalizers. The latter, although sold to anyone with the required dollars are not suitable for the 50% of America with hard water. Your water is already alkaline, so buying a water alkalizer may be a waste. Because electric water ionizer/alkalizers essentially concentrate the alkalis already in the water, it's important to assess the effect of drinking such high level pH water may have on your health.

Water softening.
This is one alternative for people with hard water.
There are a few ways to do this, but one of the most popular involves the use of ion exchange resins. During this process, ions are replaced by twice the number of monocations, such as sodium or potassium.

Water softening treatment occurs at either the point-of-entry or the point-of use. Point-of-entry has been banned in some states, such as California, which has mandated that the process is harmful to the environment and to the health of water consumers.

Health Impact

The WHO says that “there does not appear to be any convincing evidence that water hardness causes adverse health effects in humans.” In fact it has been noted that there is health benefits of consuming hard water, due to the inclusion of the dissolved calcium & magnesium, particularly for those who do not sufficient.

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