Hard water doesn't look any different from soft water. Thus, you might not know that you need a water softener if you don't know the signs to look out for. The following are some of the telltale signs that are likely to mean you need a water softening system.
Signs of Mineral Deposits
Hard water contains more minerals, typically calcium and magnesium, than soft water does. The minerals can leave deposits on utensils or appliances that come into contact with the hard water. For example, you might notice a dull coloration over your water glasses after they dry off. You may also notice deposits on your coffee pots or cooking utensils.
Dry Skin and Hair
You should also suspect that your water is hard if your skin and hair are dry most of the time. In this case, the minerals in the water are preventing your skin from getting moisturized by the water. For example, the minerals or the combination of the minerals and soap may leave a film of deposits on your skin and hair, which prevent moisturization. Dry skin can trigger itchiness for those with sensitive skin.
Accelerated Fading of Clothes
Colored clothes, particularly those with bright colors, don't fare well in hard water. You should suspect that your water is hard if your clothes seem to fade, losing their colors faster than other people's clothes. The problem arises in two main ways. First, hard water doesn't lather easily, which means it also doesn't clean as effectively as soft water. Clothes that aren't cleaned as effectively tend to experience accelerated fading. Secondly, the reaction between soap and minerals in the water leaves a scum over the clothes that also contributes to accelerated fading.
Increased Utility Bills
Hard water can increase your utility bills in two main ways. First, hard water takes a long time to heat, so anything that involves heating water will use more energy than it would use to heat soft water. This leads to increased energy bills. Secondly, hard water doesn't clean as effectively as soft water, and you need more hard water than soft water to clean the same clothes. This leads to increased water bills.
Frequent Problems with Plumbing Appliances
Lastly, you should also suspect a hard water problem if your plumbing systems seem to experience frequent problems. Maybe your water heater's efficiency is compromised, the shower doesn't have adequate pressure, and your plumbing fixtures seem to struggle to support the water flowing in them. All these problems might be caused by minerals in hard water. For example, the minerals can block plumbing pipes or accumulate on the bottom of the water heater tank and reduce its heating efficiency.
Contact a plumbing company like Cox Construction & Plumbing in order to learn more about soft water systems and other plumbing items.