Maricopa, AZ’s water hardness is not a secret. If you’ve ever heard anyone talk about water hardness or mention a hard water problem but don’t know what it is exactly, this is a subject that is worth taking some time to educate yourself on.
When you hear about hard water problems it sounds like it’s bad for you. In reality, water hardness does not lead to health effects. It rather points to an undesirable aesthetic quality.
What Is Water Hardness?
Water hardness indicates how hard water is. Now you’re probably thinking, isn’t water soft? What is meant by hardness is a high content of dissolved minerals, such as calcium and magnesium in the water. The reason we even talk about water hardness is because of the potential effects these minerals have on your water quality at home.
Measuring Water Hardness
Water hardness is measured on a scale by milligrams of calcium carbonate per liter.
- 0-60 mg/L is soft;
- 61-120 mg/L is moderately hard;
- 121-180 mg/L is hard;
- And over 180 mg/L is very hard.
Maricopa County, AZ Water Hardness
There are some areas in the United States which are bad hotspots for hard water. It all depends on your county’s water sources and the concentrations of minerals in the soil. Maricopa County, AZ’s water hardness level is high. The county’s water comes from three sources: the Salt/Verde River System, the Colorado River System, and groundwater. Groundwater usually contains a lot of dissolved minerals.
Water hardness is highest in Phoenix within the county. In fact, Phoenix is among the worst in the country for hard water. Most of the other cities in Maricopa County have moderately high levels of hard water and it has been a concern for some time. Their water levels are at 170-284 PPM, which is the data from the 2019 Water Quality Report.
In the city of Scottsdale, the water hardness levels are very high. Most of the water comes from groundwater, but the city has decided not to treat the water hardness. Due to the fact that treatment is expensive and most of Scottsdale’s water is used for outdoor purposes, it wouldn’t be cost-effective.
According to the published 2019 Water Quality Report, the water hardness level ranges from 116-290 parts per million (PPM). This puts Glendale, like the other cities in Maricopa County in the hard to very hard category. The city regularly monitors water quality and treats the water according to priority. Water hardness is an aesthetic issue and therefore doesn’t get treated. Water treatment is left to the personal choice of individual homes and businesses.
The city of Chandler in 2019 had a water hardness range from 108 – 559 mg/L. The report also indicates that their water goes through seasonal changes in flavor. The city regularly monitors the water to keep the number of algae at a low level and to prevent a bad drinking water taste.
Where Does Water Hardness Come From?
Water hardness originates when groundwater is the source of water. As water passes through soil and rock, it dissolves minerals. These minerals stay in the water and by the time the water reaches the city water supply, it enters with high levels of dissolved calcium, magnesium, and some other minerals.
Hard Water vs. Soft Water
Hard water is confusing at first because we never think of water as hard. As a liquid, it isn’t hard to touch. The reason it’s called hard is since it comes with a high level of dissolved calcium, magnesium, as well as some other minerals. Soft water is the opposite, which means it has a lower amount of these dissolved minerals, which is in the 0-60 mg/L category.
However, it is possible to notice that hard water can have a bit of a “hard” feel. It’s not hard, but in contrast to soft water, it can leave a film. Also, many people notice when they switch to soft water that their water is slippery or silkier. This is why soft water is named such.
For a detailed comparison of hard and soft water, click here.
The Effects of Hard Water
There aren’t severe effects of hard water on a person’s health. There aren’t any health effects at all. Hard water is included in the aesthetic section of water quality assessments. The aesthetic factor of water quality indicates the quality of taste, odor, and hardness, but typically doesn’t have to do with health risks.
Effects on Skin
Hard water is arguably “good” when it comes to drinking water since it can be beneficial for certain people to take in more minerals. Regarding effects, they are undesirable effects on hair and skin. When you wash your hands, do the dishes, or take a shower, you might notice that your skin becomes dry and has film on it, which means it may take longer to wash the soap out. Also, it can cause eczema.
Effects on Hair and Clothing
Hard water is also known to be poor water for washing your hair, as it dries it out and doesn’t have a great clean look. Hard water also wears out clothing in the laundry.
Effects on Plumbing
Furthermore, it can damage your plumbing. It leaves hard-to-clean spots on fixtures, allows limescale buildup, which can destroy the efficiency of appliances and plumbing in your home.
Knowing these effects, you can feel at peace that you haven’t been harmed health-wise until now, but it’s perhaps time to consider that you want to aesthetically improve your water quality.
If you’re worried about these effects and are unsure if your home has hard water, then you can do a few things to confirm the water hardness in your area. Some are at-home methods that won’t take more than a few minutes to read. You can even check simply by washing your hands to see if they feel drier after, and after a shower to pay attention to whether your hair feels dry.
The Solution of Soft Water
If you’re considering a better quality of water for aesthetic purposes, and you should, then you can get it by investing in a water softener. Water softeners do exactly that–they soften your water. As it is a filtration system, it takes out the minerals that lead to the effects that you wish to eliminate.
Soft water is quite popular now in Arizona so it’s worth thinking about what measures are most trusted to remove water problems. It does come with a lot of benefits, so check it out to see what you’re getting into.
Getting a Water Softener
It’s not necessary, but we highly encourage it, because even aesthetics is not something to compromise on. Water softeners help with the taste, the odor, the dry effects on your skin, wear on your clean clothes, and even the plumbing.
You can get a water softener from American Home Water and Air, which services Phoenix, Glendale, Scottsdale, Peoria, and Chandler. Get the best one for your home in Arizona and it’ll have a very pleasing effect on your water for washing your hands, doing the laundry, and washing your hair–basic things you do throughout the day that shouldn’t be overlooked.