When it rains, the water that hits the ground does not contain any minerals, but it does have varying levels of acidic atmospheric pollution. As the acidic water comes in contact with different rock formations, it begins to slowly dissolve minerals such as Calcium Carbonate, which is found in limestone. As the mineral content in the water increases, the water is considered "harder".
The longer water is exposed to a certain stone, the harder it will be. For example, water from an underground aquifer will be harder than water from a river or lake. Hardness is depicted in milligrams per liter (mg/L), parts per million (PPM) or grains per gallon (gpg).
Hard water is healthy to Carbon based lifeforms because it contains essential minerals, with this said, it is detrimental to pipes and equipment due to its tendency to accumulate as hard scale. There are different ways to reduce scale accumulation, but before selecting the method that best fits your needs, it's important to know if you live in a hard water area.
The Cost of Hard Water
Hard water causes scale to accumulate in pipe systems and equipment. This scale build-up comes at a significant cost.
Scale buildup compromises energy-efficiency. For example, in water heating and cooling systems, an eighth of an inch of scale buildup results in a 20 percent loss of efficiency. This means scale causes energy costs to increase significantly.
Scale buildup in pipe systems damages the pipes and cause leaks. The subsequent costs of fixing or replacing the pipe system can be very significant. Because of these leaks, there can be severe water damage to the building, including mold growth.
Scale buildup shortens the life of residential appliances and commercial/industrial equipment because it reduces water flow and encourages corrosion. Many equipment operators utilize acid cleaning regimens to remove scale accumulation. In conjunction with dissolving the scale, this method gradually destroys metal components and reduces the equipment's life-cycle.
Scale buildup can cause sensors, such as flow meter, not to operate adequately.
Scale buildup causes significant downtime to manufacturing operations.