Arizona Water–Should I be Concerned about Hard Water?
Most Phoenix residents know that we have some of the hardest water in the country. Why is hard water such a problem for us? Two common minerals in the Arizona soil – calcium and magnesium – are to blame. These tasteless, harmless minerals dissolve in the water, and create what is known as hard water.
What is hard water?
Hard water makes up about 85 percent of the nation’s drinking water, according to the U.S. Geologic Survey. Water hardness in Mesa, for example, ranges from 12 gpg (grains per gallon) to 22 gpg, depending on the water source that serves each area. The white, chalky film that you may find on the faucets or shower doors in your home is evidence of hard water.
Although hard water poses no health risk, it can create numerous challenges for the consumer. For example, the higher the hardness value, the more effort it takes for soap to perform its cleansing action. In addition to reducing the effectiveness of soap, hard water can leave soap deposits in sinks, and leave spots on dishes and glassware. Hard water can also create scaly calcium deposits on faucets, showerheads, and evaporative coolers, as well as the inside of pipes, hot water heaters, and automatic dishwashers. There are numerous commercial cleaning products that can help remove calcium scale build-up, and some soaps are formulated to work better in hard water.
What can I do about hard water?
The primary method of reducing water hardness available to the consumer is the installation of an ion exchange water softener. At Ben Franklin Plumbing AZ, we offer many water treatment options for people all over the Phoenix valley including water softeners and whole house water filtration systems. An ion exchange water softener removes hardness (calcium and magnesium ions) by replacing them with sodium, or in some instances potassium. Sodium levels in softened water increase approximately 8 milligrams per liter (mg/L) for each grain of hardness removed. Remember that once a system is installed, it is extremely important to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations, and service the unit regularly.
Can I drink the water?
Hard water can make getting clean a challenge and can damage your pipes. Filtered or soft water certainly looks, smells and tastes better but we’re often asked, “Is my water safe to drink?” Officials insist that it is safe to drink. “The water is as safe in the Valley as anywhere else,” they say.
“There are more than 5 million tests and measurements performed every year to make sure the drinking water meets those EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) requirements,” said Ken Kroski, a spokesman for the Phoenix Water Services Department.
Bill Reed, coordinator of the state Department of Environmental Quality’s Safe Drinking Water Program, added “It could be that the water doesn’t taste good or look good, but that doesn’t mean it’s not safe,” noting that cloudy water can still be safe and drinkable.
If you’re concerned about the effects of hard water, consider a water softener. If you’re concerned about whether your tap water is safe, drink up. If you need help navigating the decisions for your home’s water, contact Ben Franklin Plumbing AZ today. (602) 273-1740