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How Calcium and Magnesium Affect Water Hardness

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Water provided for the community is unsafe as it sounds. Water sources are having a lot of contaminants and these bring many dangers especially when it comes to the health of the body. These will lead to slow but effective deterioration of the body.

These contaminants often contain calcium and magnesium which are dissolved minerals usually found in hidden aquifers. Calcium and magnesium in water may not be necessarily bad for the body unless your diet includes calcium and magnesium.

Regardless of those contaminants not being a problem, it is the cause of water hardness. This doesn’t mean that water is hard in a literal sense but just maybe a little harder to swallow than usual.

Water hardness is one of the things to consider whenever you have a water source that is being treated and distributed to the community. This is one reason why water filters are getting more attention nowadays. Water hardness is directly affected by the calcium and magnesium ions that would bond with other ions in the water found in aquifers.

These sources of water will need treatment and the methods don’t always eliminate the problems found in the cured water.

What is Water Hardness?

Water hardness is directly affected by the number of dissolved minerals that are found in the water source.

Hard water is mostly high in calcium and magnesium. You can usually see traces of how ‘hard’ the water is. Hard water contains a high mineral content. You measure the hardness of the water in ‘grains’ per gallon. This has many units of measurements that are being used to identify the hardness of the water.

The considered best way of identifying and measuring the hardness of water is by giving a sample of water to water laboratories for testing. This will greatly benefit the individual and the user of the water by knowing how safe the water is.

Hard water can be felt and seen. An example of water hardness is when you wash your hands. And depending on the hardness, you may see or feel a white film that is left behind after you use soap. This film can indicate that the water source contains traces of calcium and magnesium. Also, it contains calcium and soap reacts actively to calcium and may form what we call soap scum.

This will require you to wash your hair, laundry, or hands with a larger amount of soap or detergent to completely clean them.

Problems with Hard Water

Water hardness has no health risks known but it can be a nuisance to the one using the water. This can potentially cause a mineral build up in pipelines and heating systems. This also has a poor soap or detergent performance.

Hard water has its benefits and disadvantages when it comes to the health of an individual. It was also said that hard water can help in supplementing the needed calcium and magnesium intake the person should have in their diet.

The intake of calcium and magnesium is being monitored by the intestinal absorption mechanism that the body has. This is being monitored thoroughly but the interaction of calcium with other minerals inside the intestines is not strict.

These interactions can cause some complications when it comes to the ability of the intestines to absorb the minerals that it’s supposed to absorb. As for excessive intake of magnesium, there will be possible cases of diarrhea occurring.

  • Household
    1. Bathing – Hard water will react to soap which would create a sticky scum. Thus, the cleaning property of soap is rendered useless.
    2. Cooking – The presence of dissolved minerals in the water will cause the water’s boiling point to increase and will require more time to boil. This can also leave traces of the utensils being used.
    3. Drinking – Hard water can affect the digestive system that may cause diarrhea.
  • Industrial use
    1. Dyeing industry – The calcium and magnesium will react to the dyes and form unwanted precipitates and disrupt the color of the dye and form spots along with the fabric.
    2. Laundry – During laundry, hard water will react with soap and make a stain that is difficult to wash off unless you use a larger amount of detergent to neutralize the effects of calcium and magnesium to soap.

Ways of Softening Water Hardness

Some various ways and techniques can soften the hard water. These are to help the people who use water to have something to keep their water clean and safe to use around the house and other industries.

Below are some ways of softening water hardness:

  • Lime Soda Process
    • Cold-Lime Soda Process
    • Hot-Lime Soda Process
  • Zeolite Process
  • Ion Exchange

Ion exchange is one of the commonly used methods of softening water. This method works similarly to a filter but it filters the calcium and magnesium present in the water source by letting water pass through a cation exchange column. This method will first filter out the cation in the water and release hydrogen. The water then goes through another process with the anion exchange column where it filters out negatively charged ions while releasing hydroxide.

Final Thoughts

Water hardness cannot be avoided when the water source is from an aquifer that contains dissolved minerals but there are ways of treating the water to remove calcium and magnesium. Although there are no known adverse effects of using water that is ‘hard’, there are complications that may arise in the long run and cause digestive or urinary problems. These are what you can encounter in using hard water.

Hard water is known to leave behind a white film that helps indicate its presence in the water. This problem will require you to have a filtration system to lessen any health issue that the water can bring. Softening water requires money but investing in technology that will improve the experience of water being used is better for the long term than enduring the water that will slowly deteriorate the body’s health.

Calcium and magnesium will only be considered good when found in the water when it is part of the diet. If it isn’t part of the diet, this may lead to many complications to not only the digestive and urinary systems but also to other organ systems.

Fix your problems with hard water by using our very own whole house filters here at AquaOx. See more here


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