What does hard water mean?

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When we talk about "hard" water, we are obviously not talking about the physical state of the water, but about its chemical composition. Water, although often considered a simple chemical compound, can be an environment for many other substances. Hard water is water that contains a high concentration of minerals, mainly calcium (Ca2+) and magnesium (Mg2+) ions, which come from dissolved salts such as calcium carbonate (CaCO3) or magnesium sulfate (MgSO4).

Water hardness characteristics are particularly important as they have a direct impact on our daily lives. Hard water has specific properties that can affect the operation of many household appliances and the effectiveness of various processes, such as washing clothes, washing dishes and even the condition of our skin and hair.

Where does water hardness come from?

Water hardness is not a quality that water gains from contamination, but is a natural component of water that comes from its source. When water flows through soils containing minerals such as limestone, dolomite and gypsum, it dissolves some of these minerals, thus increasing its hardness.

The dissolved calcium and magnesium ions that make water hard come mainly from the carbonate and sulfate salts of these metals. Carbonates and sulfates are the two most common forms in which these metals occur in the earth's crust. The movement of water through these rock formations, whether in the form of surface water or groundwater, gradually dissolves these salts, leading to an increase in water hardness.

Impact of hard water on everyday life

Hard watercan have a significant impact on daily activities and home appliances. All this is due to the tendency of calcium and magnesium ions to form sparingly soluble deposits in reaction with other substances. For example, hard water is not recommended for washing because magnesium and calcium ions combine with the soap to form an unsightly deposit. As a result, fabrics become rough and gray and detergents become less effective.

Similarly, hard water can cause scaling on the heating elements of appliances such as washing machines, dishwashers, boilers and coffee makers, shortening their life and increasing energy costs. But that's not all - hard water can also affect our health and beauty, often causing dry skin and hair.

Hard water is a natural phenomenon and is not harmful to health, but for the convenience of everyday life and to protect home appliances, it is worth considering installing a water softening system. By softening the water, we remove excess calcium and magnesium ions from it, which eliminates problems related to water hardness and contributes to a better comfort of our everyday life.

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