It might sound like an oxymoron at first, but hard water does exist. In fact, hard water is one of the biggest household concerns in the U.S., as many of its states suffer from elevated water hardness values, putting the health of its citizens at risk. While Canada is much more fortunate, enjoying extensive fresh water supplies, the water quality is still a growing concern following a number of incidents involving municipal drinking water.

What Is Water Hardness?

All freshwater consists of trace amounts of naturally occurring minerals. However, hard water has an excessive amount of these minerals, particularly calcium, magnesium, and manganese. There are many factors that can affect water hardness. The water source can be contaminated with rain, dust, volcanic gases, and other naturally occurring gases, such as carbon dioxide. Or, it can be tainted by toxic pollutants, such as fertilizers and pesticides.

In Canada, the principal source of water hardness comes from sedimentary rocks and soil seepage. According to a national survey, the average Canadian water hardness is around 120 mg/L, except in the Nelson-Saskatchewan and Mississippi basins, the Prairie province’s and Ontario where water hardness exceeds 180 mg/L.

While it might sound harmless, several studies have proven the link between hard water and several health concerns, such as cardiovascular diseases, growth retardation in young children, and reproductive failure among other maladies.

Drinking Water Options

Canadian residents are presented several options for the source of their drinking water, though the majority still choose to drink direct from their taps, regardless of whether the origin is municipal or a private source. According to the best plumber in Edmonton, more than half of the households in the area treat their drinking water before drinking. While some treat their drinking water for aesthetic reasons (to remove foul or weird odors, for taste, and for appearance), most households do this to eliminate actual and perceived health risks such as mineral, metal, or bacterial contamination.

Boiled-water advisories are often rolled out by the government, but most households prefer to install and use specialized filters and equipment, such as water softeners, to treat drinking water.

Water Softener Installation

A water softening device is a specialized piece of equipment that removes minerals and metals from your drinking water via the ion-exchange process. Though it may sound more economical, conducting your own water softener is not recommended because it requires a certain skill set, such as cutting and joining pipes. Therefore, it is still recommended that homeowners call a professional plumber to do the installation to avoid potential problems that might arise from amateur installation.

Sources:

Water Hardness and Alkalinity, USGeologicalSurvey.gov
Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality: Guideline Technical Document – Hardness, StatisticsCanada.gc.ca