You’ve no doubt heard your friends, neighbors, and family members all talk about the water quality here in Albuquerque. One of the most common subjects that gets brought up is the relative hardness of the water here in Duke City. In this article, we’ll review some of the impacts of hard water in Albuquerque and what you can do to soften the water in your home and protect your pipes and appliances.
What is hard water?
Hard water is water with a higher mineral content—calcium and magnesium are the two most common minerals—than other sources of water. Water hardness is measured in parts-per-million—even the mineral content of hard water is relatively low.
Measuring hard water
Most homeowners tend to think of “soft water” and “hard water” as two absolutes: in other words, water is either one or the other. This isn’t actually the case. Water hardness is actually a sliding scale, with a majority of American homes falling somewhere on the spectrum between “soft” and “very hard.”
Sources of hard water
Generally, cities and areas that draw water from groundwater tend to have more problems with hard water than those that get their water from surface sources, such as rivers and lakes. This is because groundwater—which constantly moves through rocks deep underground—has a higher mineral content than surface water.
Hard water and your health
Contrary to myths and urban legends, hard water is not bad for your health. In fact, as a minor source of calcium and magnesium—two nutrients your body needs—hard water is a net benefit. Many homeowners in blind taste-tests also prefer the taste of hard water.
Hard water in Albuquerque
According to data from USGS, the water in the Albuquerque metro area is rated as “hard.” Our groundwater sources are rated as “very hard.”
Hard water and your appliances
It’s when hard water and heat meet that things start to go wrong for your home. Heating hot water can lead to the formation of calcium carbonate, a solid, chalky buildup also known as “scaling.” Scaling is a big threat to your appliances since it has the potential to clog water lines and add additional wear-and-tear to the appliance. Let’s review the impact of hard water on three common home appliances:
- Dishwasher: Hard water can be rough on your dishwasher, as the additional mineral content wears down the inside, interior components, and racks of the dishwasher. Hard water also leads to spotting and film buildup on glasses.
- Washing Machine: Just like in your dishwasher, hard water is rough on the interior tub itself. However, there’s an additional effect: the minerals in hard water can more quickly leech the texture and color out of your clothes, causing them to fade faster and become worn thin faster.
- Water Heater: This is where homeowners most often experience problems with hard water. The constant combination of hard water and heat in your water heater tank means calcium carbonate can build up through the years, even to the point where it reduces the tank capacity.
Hard water and your pipes
Everything that’s true for your home’s appliances also applies to your pipes. Here, the scaling effect caused by hard water flowing through your pipes day-after-day, month-after-month, and year-after-year can cause major problems. Calcium carbonate that forms on the interior of the pipes begins to restrict the flow of water through the pipe, which in turn increases the water pressure. This added pressure put additional stress on the rest of your home’s pipes, appliances, faucets, and shower heads.
If the pipes can’t handle the pressure, you’re looking at the potential for a pipe burst. The alternative isn’t much better: if the scaling builds up enough, it’ll block water from moving through the pipe altogether. At this juncture, you’re looking at a re-piping project for your home.
Consider a water softener
The water that comes out of the tap might be hard here in Albuquerque, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do anything about hard water in your home. By having the plumbers at Wagner install a whole-home water softener, you can remove the hardness from your home’s water supply. The benefits of this include:
- Reduced damage to your pipes and appliances
- Reduced damage to your dishes and clothes
- Less soap and detergent use
- Better water heater efficiency
If you’re concerned about the impact of hard water on your home, give us a call here at Wagner and ask about our lineup of effective water softeners from Krystal Klear. These are some of the best residential water softeners available, and we’re proud to install them in Albuquerque homes. Call us to learn more!