7 Effects of Hard Water

Arizona is known for many things, including hard water. Since it’s ubiquitous, many homeowners may not realize that hard water can cause everything from soap scum to water heater failure. They may also not know that although damage from hard water is a risk, it is not a foregone conclusion. Here are seven effects of hard water, and what you can do about it.

1.      Soap scum, mildew and water marks

Soap scum is the filmy white residue you can never quite scrub off your shower doors and is a major symptom of hard water. The minerals in hard water mix with the soap you use in your shower, and make it so some of the soap is left behind after rinsing. To reduce the formation of soap scum in the first place, switch from bar soap to a liquid or gel body wash.

If you leave soap scum alone for too long, it can continue to build-up and combine with mold and mildew causing some truly unpleasant odors. This is especially prevalent in the sink overflow, the small hole located underneath or across from your faucet, which can fail to drain correctly due to hard water. The soap scum that forms can produce smells that resemble sewer gas.

2.      Cloudy spots on dishes, silverware, and glass

If you notice stubborn cloudy or dull spots on your dishes, silverware, mirrors and more, hard water is likely to blame. It’s difficult to achieve a streak-free shine with hard water, due to its high mineral content. A whole-home water filtration system is the best way to eliminate the hard water problem. However, if that’s outside your budget, or you’re renting, a small under-counter water filter for your kitchen sink is a good solution.

3.      Water heater problems

Over time, sediment builds up in the bottom of a gas water heater’s tank. This can cause the heater to lose efficiency. Since Arizona has very hard water, sediment build up happens much faster than in other parts of the country. In electric heaters, limescale and sediment can build up on heating elements as well as the bottom of the tank. In both cases, this can lead to:

  • Reduced efficiency
  • Higher utility bills
  • Reduced capacity

To protect your water heater from the harmful effects of hard water, we recommend that you drain and flush the tank at least once a year. This can be completed on your own, or you can call a plumber for help.

4.      Frequent plumbing repairs and problems

Hard water doesn’t only cause buildup in the shower or on your dishes—it can also wreak havoc on your plumbing system. The accumulation of minerals can impact your pipes, causing damage and even blockages. Over time, hard water causes pipes to corrode or even burst, creating a major plumbing emergency. Hard water also decreases the lifespan of plumbing fixtures and appliances, and increases the chances that you’ll have to replace them earlier than expected.

5.      Higher utility bills

Due to mineral buildup caused by hard water, your water heater and plumbing system have to work harder to bring you the water you need. This leads to a faster rate of wear-and-tear as well as higher water and energy bills. Hard water can also make your washing machine less effective, leading you to use an extra rinse cycle, which wastes more water.

6.      Dry or itchy skin

If your skin is dry, itchy, and flakey no matter how much you moisturize, hard water is to blame. The high mineral content of hard water makes it difficult for soaps and cleansing products to fully dissolve. The result is irritation due to leftover product buildup on the skin.

Hard water also damages our skin’s natural protective barrier because of its low pH level. Our skin naturally has a pH level that is higher and more acidic, but when exposed to hard water the pH level shifts and disturbs the skin’s natural functions, including fighting bacteria.

7.      Frizzy, dry hair

Hard water makes it hard to completely wash shampoo, conditioner, and styling products out of your hair. The buildup left behind can cause dandruff, along with dry and frizzy hair. Your hair may also feel limp, brittle and hard to style. Additionally, if you color your hair, hard water may make the coloring fade faster. The good news is you can put an end to bad hair days with a showerhead water filter. These filters easily attach to your existing showerhead and can be found at your local hardware store.

Hard water help

The best way to address a hard water problem is with a filtration system. That way, mineral deposits and contaminants can be removed from the all the water that enters your home, and not just the water that come from specific faucets. At Chas Roberts, we specialize in installing whole-home water filters that use the following filtration methods. If you’re not sure which one is right for you, we can visit your home for a filtration assessment.

Particle filtration

Particle filtration removes traces of particles in water, including rust, sand, and clay. If you have well water, particle filtration can be helpful for removing sediments from the water.

Reverse Osmosis

To improve the taste of your hard tap water, Reverse Osmosis (RO) is a great solution. As one of the most popular water treatments in Phoenix, Reverse Osmosis uses a five-stage process to produce pure and great tasting tap water.


Distillation removes minerals, metals, and microorganisms from water. The distillation process kills potentially dangerous bacteria and leaves very few contaminants behind.

Ion exchange (water softening)

Ion exchange replaces the excess calcium ions in hard water with magnesium ions, softening the water with no adverse effects. This natural process can facilitate cleaner and better tasting tap water in your home.

Hard water? No problem

If you’re tired of the negative effects of hard water, and want a solution from a plumbing company you can trust, contact Chas Roberts. From water filtration to repairing any damaged plumbing fixtures, our expert plumbers are here to relieve the headaches of hard water.