"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Is hard water bad for you? 2 water quality engineers explain the potential benefits and downsides that include hard water.

When you switch in your faucet to get a glass of water or wash your face, you most likely aren't eager about what's in your water – aside from water. Depending on where you reside and whether you will have a water softening system, your water may contain dissolved minerals reminiscent of calcium and magnesium. And these minerals can play a task in whether certain contaminants like lead stay out of your water.

more dissolved minerals, Your water is “hard”.. But is difficult water actually good or bad for you?

As Engineering researchers For those that study water quality, we've seen each the nice and bad effects that soft and hard water can have on every little thing from plumbing systems to the human body.

What is difficult water?

Hard water is water that accommodates dissolved minerals reminiscent of calcium, magnesium, iron and manganese. Soft water accommodates less of those minerals.

Hardness is measured by way of calcium carbonate, CaCO₃, which is used as a reference to check different minerals.

The amount of those minerals in a city's water supply Varies by region.. It relies on each where the water is coming from and the way the water is treated.

Communities that get their water from wells moderately than surface water reminiscent of lakes, rivers, streams, and reservoirs often begin with intensive water treatment. As groundwater moves through the soil to the well, it picks up minerals. At the identical time, areas where rock and sediment types are more liable to leaching can result in hard water.

The hardness of water flows across the United States, where purple and blue indicate soft water and white and red indicate hard water. This map was updated in 2005 by the US EPA.
US Geological Survey

Effects on water lines and distribution

Water that could be very hard or very soft. Damages pipes and causes health and aesthetic concerns..

Because hard water has a high mineral concentration, minerals can construct up in pipes, causing clogged pipes in homes and public water systems. Hardness also creates more deposits. High temperature, so hot water heaters are liable to mineral buildup. In areas with hard water, water heaters have a shorter life span.

A pipe with gray material around the inside.
A pipe with a thick layer of mineral deposits inside.
Mevedech/Wikimedia Commons

But hard water also can help. While minerals from hard water can clog pipes, a skinny layer of mineral deposits in water lines can protect you from ingesting toxins that may enter the pipes themselves. Water with none minerals can contribute to pipe corrosion, because and not using a thin, protective layer of minerals, the water can begin to eat away on the pipes, releasing metals from the pipes into the water. Drinking this water can mean ingesting metals reminiscent of lead, copper and iron.

While water that is simply too soft or too hard can have different effects on water lines, there may be more chemistry than simply hardness that contributes to pipe corrosion and clogging. Therefore, there isn't a particular hardness level that's cause for concern. Water treatment plants take appropriate measures to accommodate different hardness levels.

A large water tank, surrounded by a fence.
Drinking water often goes through treatment at a plant before it reaches your own home.
Florida Water Daily, CC BY

Effects on skin and hair

Whether you employ hard or soft water for laundry can have significant effects in your skin and hair.

Hard water is more likely. Let your skin dry. The minerals in hard water strip the skin of moisture and form deposits that clog pores.

Hard water also can strip hair of moisture, leaving it dry and coarse. Dry hair is more liable to frizz, tangles and breakage. Mineral deposits can also form. On the hair and scalp, it clogs your hair follicles and results in dryness and slow hair growth.

Many households have their very own. Water softening systems. A water softener system may help with dryness and buildup on hair and skin. But lots of these systems trap and replace calcium and magnesium with sodium, a mineral that doesn't contribute to water hardness, reducing overall hardness. Increased sodium content in water generally is a concern for anyone on a low-sodium eating regimen.

Overall health advantages

Besides the aesthetic and water heater concerns, the hard water is potable Actually good for you And doesn't include any serious negative negative effects.

For example, the additional magnesium and calcium you eat can provide hard water. A soft solution For digestive problems and constipation.

In addition, researchers have found a positive correlation between drinking water hardness and Bone health. Because Calcium is an essential mineral in bones.People in areas with drinking water that's high in calcium can have higher bone mineral density and a lower risk. For osteoporosis.

Researchers have also found that drinking hard water is related to a Reduction in cardiovascular disease-related deaths. Magnesium helps regulate your heart muscle, while calcium maintains the sodium-potassium balance in your heart muscle, which it must work.

Whether you will have hard or soft water, don't worry an excessive amount of. Water treatment plants take appropriate measures to make sure secure water for the communities they support.

To learn more about water hardness in your area, you possibly can contact your local water treatment plant about its specific water treatment process. Private well owners can contact their state government for testing recommendations for his or her area.