Although almost everyone knows that hard water is a bad thing, most people think its negative impact on your body, health, and appliances is negligible. But, according to some recent studies, it is indeed a pretty dangerous thing. In fact, the International Journal of Preventative Medicine recommends softeners to anyone who can afford them, because they drastically lower the consequences by eliminating certain minerals and substituting them with beneficial ones such as sodium.
Potential Health Problems
First of all, you have to know that it isn’t a nuisance and an inconvenience, but rather a serious issue. Many recent studies have shown that diseases such as diabetes, kidney stone, cardiovascular diseases, and even cancer can be linked to the adverse effects of various minerals that can be found in unprocessed water.
Hard water primarily contains high levels of calcium and magnesium. While these minerals are beneficial for our body in reasonable amounts, an excessive amount of sub-clinical minerals leads to a severe imbalance which then consequently causes hypomagnesemia.
How Is This Linked To Diabetes?
The enzymes responsible for regulating insulin levels are dependent on magnesium, and it’s not surprising to see a decrease in magnesium levels in non-diabetic subjects. Whether the low levels of magnesium is secondary to or precedes the resistance to insulin is yet to be explored.
The kidney stone is one of the most frequent conditions caused by increased amount of sodium and calcium. Because it contains excessive amounts of calcium and magnesium, your kidney is the perfect ground for developing this condition. More than ¾ of kidney stones are made of calcium salt. These stones form in the urine which is saturated with the minerals found in water. The excess is then transformed into a solid object also known as a kidney stone. However, the formation of kidney stone is based on nutritional, genetic, metabolic, and environmental factors as well. The correlation between water hardness and magnesium levels has been studied although the significance is yet to be proven.
The most dangerous impact of hard minerals is linked to cardiovascular diseases. According to numerous scientific studies, both high blood pressure and heart conditions can be related to it. Children can potentially suffer from growth retardation, while adults risk reproductive failure.
There is also an increased risk of certain types of cancer such as colon, ovarian, gastric, and more. However, the correlation with cancer needs to be studied further and is not proven yet.
Correlation Between Skin Issues And Hard Water
One of the most noticeable effects is its influence on one’s skin. The most frequent symptoms are irritation and dryness. Also, eczema has been recently linked with increased levels of certain minerals. It’s a chronic condition caused by inflammation. However, it has been associated with children only; adults seem to be a bit more resistant to it.
Hair is also influenced by unprocessed water. In fact, most people who bathe in it have noticed drastic changes in the volume of their hair. It also makes your hair more fragile and susceptible to damage. The primary factor for this is the inability of cleansing products to dissolve properly in saturated liquids. In simpler words, the soap you’re using while bathing isn’t dissolving in saturated water which causes the elements from the soap to irritate your skin.
The Negative Impact On Kitchen Appliances
The scale is incredibly harmful to kitchen appliances, especially ones with a heating element. When water dries, scale forms on the surface of the heating element. It acts as an insulator between the heater and water. Therefore, the heater needs more power to achieve the optimal temperatures. Consequently, appliances break more often due to mechanical fatigue.
Pipes and plumbing are also in danger if you have unprocessed water in your household. The most frequent problem is scale build-up in pipes which leads to clogging. Unclogging costs a lot of money and it usually requires total renovation. To avoid that, install a water softener, and you shouldn’t have an issue whatsoever.
General Everyday Issues
Stains are also pretty annoying. Increased levels of minerals cause stains in showers, sinks, bathtubs, and more. While it may not sound like a severe disadvantage, it’s a burden for a lot of people. Glass showers often get the worse treatment, and it’s not unusual for the glass to change its color and become dirty due to the influence of calcium. Cleaning the damage isn’t an easy task, and owning a softener solves most of these problems.
The best method for cleaning these stains is with vinegar. It’s the cheapest alternative to a water softener. All you need to do is make a 50/50 solution of water and vinegar. Pour the solution into a spray bottle, apply it, and wipe the stains.
One more characteristic thing about an increased level of minerals is the impact on one’s clothes. While soft water preserves the freshness and brightness of clothes, hard water makes it rugged and uncomfortable. This disadvantage is especially important if you have children or babies because their skin is much more sensitive and vulnerable to irritation and inflammation.
What Should I Do, Are There Any Solutions?
There are a few options available if you’re struggling with scale. The first one is to install a water softener. It’s not a demanding challenge, it’s affordable, and most importantly – it improves your well-being. However, there are a few things you need to consider before buying a softener.
Some of the questions you should ask are - “How big is my budget” and “How big is my household?”
Once you get the answers to those questions, you’ll be able to calculate whether purchasing a softener is an efficient choice. The alternatives aren’t particularly attractive either. If you want to avoid buying a softener, you will have to maintain your pipes on a regular basis, use a vinegar solution to clean the stains, and your clothes will lose softness over time.
If you think about it, a softener may not be the cheapest choice, but it’s certainly the safest bet.