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Blog > Showering in hard water (Are you really getting clean?)

Showering in hard water (Are you really getting clean?)

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Jan 18, 2016 | Water & Home Living

For many of us, taking a shower is priceless personal time. You’re alone with your thoughts getting ready for the day, winding down from a workout or hectic daily schedule.

You are supposed to get out feeling clean and refreshed. But if you’re showering in hard water, your showering experience could definitely be better.

In fact, when you bathe or shower in hard water, you may not be getting as clean as you should. Here’s why…

How Minerals in Hard Water Keep You from Getting Clean

Dissolved minerals like calcium and magnesium are what make the water in your home hard. Those minerals also create an undesirable chemical reaction with your soap, shampoo, and body wash as well as shaving cream.

What happens is the calcium and magnesium ions in hard water react with fatty acids in soap to form insoluble lime soaps, which are ineffective at cleaning.

If you were paying attention during Chemistry class, here’s the chemical equation:

2 C17H35COO−Na+ + Ca2+ → (C17H35COO)2Ca + 2 Na+

In this chemical reaction, positively-charged calcium ions replace sodium ions in your shampoo or soap leaving scum and lime scale deposits on your skin and in your hair.

That’s right.  If you have hard water, the same disgusting soap scum you’re always scrubbing in the tub is on your body too.

The best way to know if you’re dealing with hard water problems in the shower is to look at how well you’re lathering up. Hard water prevents you from getting a nice soapy lather in the shower. When you have soft water, it’s much easier to produce a foamy lather from your soap and shampoo.

After installing a water softener in their home, some people notice their skin feels slick and even slippery after bathing.

Part of this may be due to the fact you aren’t accustomed to how truly-clean skin feels. What you feel might simply be the real you. But you may also be in the habit of using too much soap. You won’t need to use as much with soft water.

How Hard Water Affects Your Hair

hard-water-hairHave you ever noticed how your hair can look and feel different when you shower in different places?

Your hair behaves one way after showering at the gym, turns out another way when you’re vacationing or staying in a hotel, and looks completely different when you wash your hair at home.

That’s most likely because the hardness of the water varies from location to location.

A writer for the beauty website xoVain experienced some hard water showering issues when she vacationed in rural Wisconsin. She provides some great advice for showering in different types of water.

If you have hard water at home, your hair may feel dry all the time and become frizzy making it tangled and difficult to manage. It may also have a dull, lifeless appearance. That’s because those minerals and deposits build up in your hair.

With a water softener in your home, those hard water issues are eliminated. You will find that your hair has a more-attractive shine when you shower in softened water. And soft water will make your hair more manageable, so it’s easier for you to style it the way you want.

Sometimes people with finer hair complain that soft water can make their hair feel flat or even greasy. This is probably because you’re using too much soap and not rinsing it out of the hair completely. Rinsing your hair in the shower for a little longer may solve that problem.

Of all the hard water hair issues, the scariest has to be hair loss. Calcium build up can form around the base of hair follicles causing hair to break off and potentially hindering growth of new hair.

How Hard Water Affects Your Skin

hard-water-skinHard water can give you skin troubles too. Let’s start with the scalp.

The calcium salts that build up in your scalp can cause dryness and flaking, AKA dandruff.

You might assume it’s the shampoo you buy causing dandruff. But hard water may be the real culprit.

Hard water can make the rest of your skin feel dry and itchy as well. That’s thanks to the soapy residue left on your body, which clogs pores. Plus, the minerals in hard water can suck moisture right out of your skin leaving it even more dry and irritated.

In fact, certain studies indicate hard water may cause additional aggravation in people with skin conditions like eczema and dermatitis. According to the dermatology site DermaHarmony.com:

“While hard water itself doesn’t cause dermatitis, it can irritate the condition or even initiate a flare-up. The combination of hard water with a co-existing dermatitis condition can lead to more frequent and severe outbreaks.”

Even washing clothes in hard water can be problematic to those with sensitive skin. Hard water leaves soap residue on your laundry too, and that residue is in contact with your skin all day long. If you have sensitive skin, the soft water a high-quality water softener provides could help you avoid much of the dehydration that occurs.

As the American Cleaning Institute explains, soap’s “effectiveness is reduced when used in hard water.” That means not only will you fail to get clean in the shower, it will be tougher to keep your house clean as well.

With hard water, you’ll end up using more soap to keep your body clean and more product to clean your home too. Softer water could mean you save significant money and time in the long run.

What Can You Do?

If you have a private well, you’re definitely dealing with hard water. But the majority of municipal water sources have levels of hardness as well. According to the USGS, in the United States, 85% of the water is considered hard.

There are certainly little tips and tricks you can use to try and improve your showering experience. However, there’s really only one permanent solution…that’s a water softener.

Water softeners remove those dissolved minerals from the water in your home. They are an investment that will make life for you and your family more convenient and more enjoyable.

Want to learn more about water conditioning options and what kind of water softener would be ideal for your home? Water-Right’s product lines are among the best residential water treatment options in the industry.

All Water-Right dealers are equipped to help you with your problem water needs. Impression Series® & Sanitizer Plus® Products WaterCare® Products Evolve® Products

Blog > WATER QUALITY AWARENESS 10 ANSWERS TO YOUR QUESTIONS ABOUT U S TAP WATER

WATER QUALITY AWARENESS 10 ANSWERS TO YOUR QUESTIONS ABOUT U S TAP WATER

Water & Health

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August is National Water Quality Awareness Month, and it comes at a time when drinking water in America is making headlines again.

Researchers say the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, is nearing an end as tests show significantly fewer homes have water contaminated with lead. The situation there has heightened awareness about drinking water contamination nationwide, which could be more widespread than the public realizes.

Lead is far from the only thing that can contaminate a home’s water, and it’s important to know what your family is drinking. This article is not intended to shock and scare people about water quality. However, you should be aware of possible risks and take steps to keep your family safe and healthy.

Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about water quality in the U.S.

1. How Does U.S. Water Quality Compare to the Rest of the World?

We are very fortunate to live in part of the world in which the water quality is much better than other places. That’s why you’re often warned not to drink tap water when you travel to certain foreign countries.

This infographic, which cites research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), indicates only the U.S. and Canada along with western Europe, Japan, and Australia have tap water that’s considered safe for drinking.

According to the organization WaterAid, more than 650 million people around the world have no access to safe drinking water, and 900 children die every day because of digestive issues from unclean water and poor sanitation.

While it’s true that things could be much worse for Americans, we must continue to be vigilant about water quality.

2. Who Regulates the Water We Drink?

The answer to this question depends on which kind of drinking water you’re talking about. There are multiple agencies responsible for regulating water quality in the U.S., and there are some who are more critical about the way it’s handled.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is in charge of overseeing the water that comes out of your tap. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversees and regulates the quality of bottled water.

Individual states are responsible for regulating water that is bottled and sold within their borders. Finally, your municipality must make sure it is following federal and state standards regarding water quality.

The EPA does not regulate private wells, and rules for testing differ from state to state. In many cases, it is the homeowner’s responsibility to make sure their well water is safe.

3. What are Water Contaminants?

According to the EPA, the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) defines water contaminants quite broadly. A contaminant can be anything that isn’t a water molecule. So if it’s not H2O, it’s technically a contaminant.

This means that not every contaminant is unsafe to consume. For instance, the dissolved minerals found in 80% of the water in the U.S. pose no health risks. However, minerals like calcium and magnesium can cause hard water problems.

There are many other water contaminants that could lead to health problems. The Water Quality Association (WQA) provides a list of common water contaminants and documents their potential health risks.

The EPA says water contaminants can be:

  • Physical– sediment or organic material that changes water’s physical properties.
  • Chemical– either naturally-occurring or man-made.
  • Biological– microorganisms like bacteria, viruses, and parasites.
  • Radiological– chemical elements that emit radiation such as cesium, plutonium, and uranium.

4. What Contaminants Might be Found in Ground Water?

According to GroundWater.org, more than half of the U.S. depends on groundwater, which can be used for municipal water and as the source of water for people with private wells.

Groundwater is an important resource, but it can become easily contaminated and polluted. As the experts at The Groundwater Foundation explain …

“Groundwater contamination occurs when man-made products such as gasoline, oil, road salts and chemicals get into the groundwater and cause it to become unsafe and unfit for human use. Materials from the land’s surface can move through the soil and end up in the groundwater.”
Those materials also include pesticides, fertilizer, and other agricultural runoff like manure, as well as toxic material from hazardous waste sites and leaky landfills.

The graphic below shows the many ways groundwater becomes contaminated and the sources from which those contaminants may come.

sources_of_gw_contamination (1)

5. What Goes Into Municipal Water?

Municipal water is processed at a water treatment facility before it’s delivered to the public, which should make it safe for residents to use.

Municipalities add chemicals to the water when it is treated. One of the most common chemicals used in water treatment is chlorine, which is used as a disinfectant to kill bacteria and other microbes. Sometimes chloramine, a combination of chlorine and ammonia, is also used.

A small, but potential risk of these chemicals comes from byproducts they create in the water when reacting with organic compounds. Those byproducts are trihalomethanes (THMs) and haloacetic acids (HAAs). Some studies indicate THMs and HAAs are linked to increase risk of serious health problems like cancer and heart disease.

However, it’s important to note that water quality would be much worse if municipalities did not use these chemicals to eliminate what could be harmful. The World Health Organization (WHO) says health risks from chlorine are small compared to the dangers of failing to properly disinfect public water.

6. How Does Lead Get in Drinking Water?

Due to the media attention Flint, Michigan, received over its water crisis, a lot of people have questions about lead in public water systems around the U.S.

Lead (as well as copper) typically enters the public supply by leaching into water from corroded fixtures and outdated plumbing. Homes built before 1986 will likely have plumbing with copper pipes using solder that may contain lead.

Lead can cause serious negative health effects, especially in children. The challenge is that it is undetectable by human senses. You can check with your local water authority for information about lead levels, but it’s important to note that the CDC and EPA say there’s no level of lead recognized as safe for consumption.

If you have concerns about the presence of lead in your water, you can have it tested in a state-certified laboratory. You can also read more in our article on lead in drinking water.

7. What if My Water Tastes, Smells, or Looks Strange?

Certain things can affect the flavor, odor, and appearance of your tap water, not all of them are necessarily harmful.

Many people with public water can taste the chlorine, although the most noticeable problems tend to come from private wells. Contaminants like sulfur can impact the smell, while iron will cause discoloration and staining.

The overall amount of total dissolved solids (TDS) in your tap water will definitely affect the taste, smell, and appearance. While many of these issues are not serious concerns, they can certainly be a nuisance. Water filtration systems, including a high-efficiency water softener to reduce hardness, can provide solutions.

You can contact a residential water treatment expert to come to your home and evaluate things like mineral content and TDS. Check out our pictorial about in-home water quality consultations to see what you can expect during a visit from one of our trained experts.

8. Is Bottled Water Safer and Cleaner than Tap Water?’

You might think the safest bet is to purchase bottled water at the store if you want to avoid contaminants in the water you drink. In the past 10 to 15 years, regulations surrounding the quality of bottled water have improved, and bottlers need to back up their claims concerning how their product is marketed. However, bottled water may not be the most cost-effective or environmentally-friendly way to get quality drinking water.

In many cases, bottled water is nothing more than tap water that has usually been treated. This means you could be wasting your money and creating unnecessary waste by drinking bottled water when other filtration options can give you the same quality in your home.

Learn more about why you should stop buying bottled water here on our blog.

9. How Can I be Sure My Water is Safe to Drink?

The most trustworthy way to find out what’s in your water and its safety is to send samples to a state-certified lab and have it tested.

You can also do some of your own initial research into water quality. For example, the EPA requires your local water utility to provide a Consumer Confidence Report on water quality every year. It should have details on contaminants that may be in your water and the health risks. Use this online tool to find out how to get your report.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) also provides an online database to help people find reports from their area.

For homeowners with a private well, the Groundwater Foundation recommends having your water tested at a state-certified lab, like Water-Right’s Clean Water Testing, at least once every year.

Water samples for testing should be taken from the source as well as the tap. For bacterial concerns, it’s best for homeowners to contact a local lab because the bacteria could die before an out-of-state lab can test for contamination. For instance, e-coli only lives in water for 48 hours, so testing must be done as soon as possible.

10. Are There Residential Water Treatment Products that Can Help?

If you want complete peace of mind concerning what’s in your water, there are various in-home water filtration options.

One of the best ways to reduce contaminants and get safe water from the tap is to install a reverse osmosis (R.O.) system. Find out more about how R.O. systems work as well as the benefits of reverse osmosis water here on our blog.

Yet another option for improving water quality is a UV light purification system.

All Water-Right dealers are equipped to help you with your water needs.

Click the links above to visit the websites of our trusted brands. You can use the ‘Find a Dealer’ tool to locate a professional near you. For those who have serious concerns about water quality or potential contamination, you can use our Clean Water Testing service to get the answers you need.





Blog > INFOGRAPHIC | WHAT IS YOUR HOME’S WATER PROBLEM?

INFOGRAPHIC | WHAT IS YOUR HOME’S WATER PROBLEM?

Water Problems

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Access to quality water is easy to take for granted, but when something’s not right with your home’s water, you want it fixed as soon as possible.

Figuring out what’s wrong can be tricky. That’s why we created this infographic listing some of the most common symptoms of household water problems and some likely causes.

Do any of these issues look familiar to you?

Diagnosing water problem infogrpahiic
(Click infographic for larger image)
There may be more than one problem with your home’s water quality causing multiple symptoms. While this infographic can give you a basic idea of what might be causing issues, it’s best to let a water treatment professional provide a proper diagnosis.

Water-Right’s network of experts can come to your home and provide a free water quality analysis, helping you identify solutions to your problems that give you with the right water for life.

All Water-Right dealers are equipped to help you with your problem water needs.

Click the links above to visit the websites of our trusted brands. You can use the ‘Find a Dealer’ tool to locate a professional near you. For those who have serious concerns about water quality or potential contamination, you can use our Clean Water Testing service to get the answers you need.

Blog > Hard Water – Why Your Appliances Don’t Stand the Test of Time

Hard Water – Why Your Appliances Don’t Stand the Test of Time

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They just don’t make things like they used to.

You’ve probably muttered a statement like that when replacing a washing machine that kicked the bucket, calling a service tech to repair your dishwasher, or had a water heater leak all over the floor.

Link: http://www.water-rightgroup.com/blog/hard-water-appliances/
Blog > Hard Water - 8 Major Signs You Have Problems in Your Home

Hard Water - 8 Major Signs You Have Problems in Your Home

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Like 85% of the nations' population, your are likely among the many individuals dealing with one or more of the common problems caused by hard water. Learn more about why your water may be causing strange stains, funky smells, and other complications in this blog post from Water-right.

Link: http://www.water-rightgroup.com/blog/8-hard-water-...