Spots on dishes and soap scum on glass shower doors are tell-tale signs of hard water. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, hard water is common in many parts of the country, including the Central Valley of California.
Hard water is any water that contains significant amounts of naturally occurring minerals – particularly calcium and magnesium.
Water becomes hard by picking up minerals as it moves through soil and rock. Because water is an excellent solvent, it picks up and dissolves minerals easily. Water from wells tends to have more minerals than water from rivers and streams because of the amount of time groundwater is in contact with these minerals as it passes through many layers of soil and rock.
Water laden with minerals came to be known as “hard” because their presence tends to make it difficult to lather soaps and detergents. Water containing little calcium or magnesium is called soft water.
Though hard water can be a nuisance, it is not known to cause adverse health effects. In fact, calcium and magnesium are essential nutrients. Hard water is safe for drinking, cooking and other household uses.
How do you know if your water is hard?
There are many ways to tell if you have hard water. Calcium buildup and scale on plumbing fixtures and appliances is one sign. Soap scum and film on shower walls, bathtubs, sinks and faucets is another. Many people with hard water find that soaps, shampoos and household cleaners don’t lather well.
SSWD water sources come from both groundwater and surface water. Water hardness levels will vary throughout the year because of the two water sources. At any given time, customers may receive only surface water, only groundwater or a blending of the two source waters. For water quality information, please read the latest Consumer Confidence Report.
What can you do about hard water spots?
Many people use vinegar to reduce spots on dishes or remove buildup on appliances.
Commercial products are available which specifically target hard water deposits on bathtubs and showers. These items can be purchased at home improvement, drug or grocery stores. Please be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using these products.