You know what else is inevitable in life besides death and taxes? If you live in Waterford, MI, or anywhere in Oakland County for that matter, chances are you have to deal with hard water and the effects it has on you and your house. That’s why Kotz Heating, Cooling & Plumbing urges clients to learn more about water conditioning and water softening.
What is hard water?
Besides being a punch line for comics like the late George Carlin (“How can water be “hard”?), what exactly is hard water? It’s water filled with minerals, most commonly calcium and magnesium. But enough with the science what does hard water mean for you:
- Soap scum—You are going to see this on your dishes, faucets, and fixtures. The soap scum forms a cloudy film on surfaces.
- You can also feel it—The same scum will make your skin feel dry and itchy. Laundry will also feel stiffer instead of soft and plush.
- Soaps & shampoos—These will not be as luxurious because the mineral content in hard water prevents them making a rich lather.
- Limescale buildup—This is what the minerals will cause inside your water pipes and showerheads. The buildup eventually affects the performance of the entire plumbing system and can also damage water heaters.
Now that we’ve established the damaging and annoying effects of hard water, let’s talk about some solutions.
We will start with the most common solution first, a traditional water softener. It uses sodium (salt) to create a chemical reaction which removes much of the mineral content. Since the minerals are actually removed the water will have a more slippery feel to it and your soaps and shampoos will be luxuriously foamy. Because sodium is added to the water it does affect the taste. A water softener does not filter the water or remove any odors.
Sometimes definitions can overlap leading to confusion about water conditioning and water filtration. Let’s try to explain this in simple terms.
- There is a product commonly called a salt-free water softener, but the more correct term is a water conditioner. It also uses a chemical process to change the minerals in the water. The emphasis is on the word change because the minerals are not removed. Instead the mineral crystals are hardened so they can’t adhere to surfaces. This means no more limescale buildup, but the mineral content is still there which means:
- The water maintains the same taste
- You maintain healthy mineral content
- Soap scum can still be a problem
- Water filtration is more about removing contaminants. While the high mineral content of hard water is an annoyance, it is not considered water contamination. Water filtration products are designed to remove chemicals from the water. Things like chlorine and hydrogen sulfide can cause strange odors and taste. Two types of water filtration are carbon filters and reverse osmosis. Our Kotz experts will help you determine which might be best in your home.
There’s a plan to fit your needs
Everyone remembers the disastrous Flint, MI water crisis which serves as a reminder about the importance of ensuring good water quality in your Waterford, MI home. Whether it’s water softening, conditioning, filtration, or some combination of the three, call Kotz Heating, Cooling, & Plumbing to find a plan that works for you.