What is hard water – and is it actually helpful?
Residents in middle Tennessee sometimes notice deposits in their household water that leaves a white film or a grain-like feel. This is a sign of hard water, which is common to our region and to households nationwide. So what does that mean for our customers?
Hard water has high mineral content and is formed when water percolates through deposits of calcium and magnesium-containing minerals such as limestone, chalk, and dolomite. Geology lesson aside, CUD sometimes hears concerns about water quality because hard water leaves a residue.
Those concerns usually fall into one of these categories.
- White film on dishes – When our customers encounter this, we advise them to adjust their hot water heaters to between 125 and 130 degrees Fahrenheit. We also encourage customers to flush their hot water heaters annually. To remove the film, we recommend white vinegar or Lemi-Shine.
- Sand or granular substance in the water – These particles are calcium deposits (typically blue, green, brown, or white) that formed in your hot water heater. We recommend you flush the hot water heater and/or adjust the temperature on it.
- Oily film in coffee and tea – Hard water bonds with the fatty acids in those drinks and sometimes results in a residue in the pitcher.
What does this mean for our water quality?
The first thing to know is that the quality of your drinking water in middle Tennessee annually meets or exceeds federal standards.
The second thing to know is that hard water can actually offer a health benefit. A study published in the International Journal of Preventive Medicine noted that hard water can help to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and gastric cancer. The calcium found in hard water can also help people who have a calcium deficiency.
From a global perspective, the World Health Organization offered its findings as well, noting that hard water has no known adverse health effect.
With all of this in mind, maybe it’s time to drink a little less sweet tea and more from the tap. Because it’s actually good for you.