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The Effects of Hard Water

Sep 21, 2018  |  By Brham Trim (Red Deer)  |  General Plumbing

Dripping faucet 1

Many have heard of 'hard water' before, but what is it? How does it affect us?

Water, as it travels below the surface of the Earth, absorbs minerals by passing through rock formations. When it passes through limestone or chalk formations, it picks up calcium and magnesium particles. The more of these substances that are absorbed, the 'harder' this water becomes.

Drinking hard water has no significant known health risks, but does have some minor health benefits. That said, there are other drawbacks to hard water. For one, harder water can leave a white, chalky film on washed clothing and dishware, and is also the culprit behind soap scum in washrooms. A bigger concern, however, is the calcium scaling that can build up in your piping. This build up can reduce water and heat flow, hurting the performance of your home’s plumbing and heating.

In Red Deer, water hardness averages to around 12.3 grains per gallon (around 211 milligrams of calcium chlorate per litre) – defined as moderately hard. To compare, Vancouver has very soft tap water at 0.3 grains per gallon, while Regina’s water is much harder at 29gpg.

Hard water in Red Deer is not currently seen as a significant problem in Red Deer, however some residents do elect to have a water softener installed in their house to mitigate its drawbacks.