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You may be thinking, “How can water be hard? It’s a liquid!” However, water hardness doesn’t mean the water is literally hard. Instead, it’s a measure of the water’s mineral content.

When water in the environment passes through soil and rocks, it picks up a lot of different particulates. Among these are minerals like calcium and magnesium. An excess of these minerals is what we call “hard water”.

The United States is located in a part of the world that largely consists of ancient sea beds. These sea beds have high concentrations of limestone. As a result, most water in the U.S. passes through this limestone at some point, and 85% of people in the U.S. have hard water in their homes.

Here in Northern Illinois, we’re in a region of extreme water hardness. Chicago’s water has a hardness of approximately 8 grains per gallon, which is well into the range we consider “hard”. This is why water softeners are especially necessary here and throughout the Midwest.


In addition to making you itchy and leaving a film on your dishes, hard water will also rob you of thousands of dollars over the years if you don’t do something about it.

Here are the ways that hard water is costing you money:

  1. Damage to your appliances

    Hard water scaling builds up in your pipes and appliances, reducing water flow and efficiency—especially in your water heater. It’s estimated that 5 grains of hardness reduces efficiency by 8%, and one study found that extremely hard water can reduce efficiency as much as 48%. That’s hundreds of dollars lost every year.
  2. Spending More on Detergents

    Because hard water neutralizes soaps and reduces their effectiveness, you have to use more of them to get the same clean. You’re probably spending far more on than you have to on cleaning supplies cleaning supplies such as dish soaps and detergents and personal hygiene products like shampoo and body wash. That’s hundreds of dollars a year literally going down the drain
  3. Clogged Fixtures

    Fixtures can get clogged due to hard water buildup—for example, your faucet’s blending valve. This means you’ll need to pay for a service visit to fix it.

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