Hard water is caused due to dissolved minerals, that are present in more than normal concentration in it.
These dissolved minerals are multivalent cations.
Cations are positively charged metal complexes.
Multivalent Cations are defined as cations, with a charge of more than 1+ ; and usually, the cations have charge of 2+ .
The commonly found cations in hard water are of Calcium and Magnesium.
Some of the harmful effects of hard water in a domestic setup are:
The ability of soap to form lather is reduced, thus requiring more amount of soap and causing a lot of soap to get wasted.
Instead of lather, soap forms a white precipitate called scum.
Not only does hard water result in wastage of soap, but it also interferes with nearly almost each cleanup task from washing of clothes at home to dish washing to bathing and personal grooming.
Laundry washed in hard water could look dingy and feel harsh and unsmooth. Dishes and glasses can also be noticed once dry. Hard Water can cause a film on glass shower doors, shower walls, bathtubs, sinks, faucets, etc. Hair washed in Hard water could feel sticky and appear dull. Dealing with issues of hard water at home are often a nuisance.
Even some synthetic detergents are far less effective in hard water, as compared to that in soft and pure water, because their active ingredient is partly inactivated by hardness, even if it stays dissolved.
Another negative effect of hardness in water is that hard water forms deposits, that clog the plumbing fixtures in homes.
These deposits, which are called scale, restrict the water flow in the pipes, and can lead to blockages.
In industrial setups, hard water can be dangerous as it can cause costly breakdowns in boilers, cooling towers, and paraphernelia that handles water.
In boilers, the build up of deposits reduces their heating efficiency, by obstructing the flow of heat into water, resulting in the overheating of the boiler components made of metal.
To avoid and overcome the adverse effects of hard water, water softener should be used.
Water Softeners are available both as Domestic or Home Water Softener, and Industrial Water Softener.