Hard water can be rough on your home. It can leave buildup in your pipes, shortening the life of your plumbing. It can also cause stains on clothing and in the sink or tub. Even worse, hard water may leave behind residue in your hair and on your skin so they don't look as good as they should. If you are concerned about hard water, read through this guide to see if you should consider a whole house water softener.

Is there white or rust-colored discolorations on the inside of your sink or tub?

If so, you have calcium, lime, or iron buildup, most likely from your water. You may even notice a crusty buildup on shower walls or around the faucet. Not only is this buildup unsightly, it can be difficult to clean off. Since it is abrasive, it may even scratch the porcelain sink, the tiles, or a the glass shower surround when you try to scrub it away.

Does your water pressure seem to be slowly dropping, or is the flow of water becoming smaller?

This can occur when hard water deposits in the pipe are restricting the flow of water. You can check to see if this is the case by removing the aerator at the tip of the affected faucet. The tip usually screws off, which will reveal a small screen. If you have hard water, you will see the white or rusty looking buildup just inside the tip of the faucet as well as on the aerator screen.

Are clothes coming out of the washer with unexplained dark or rusty stains?

Once again, minerals in the water are to blame. Another hard water issue is stiff clothing or poor absorption, which is usually most readily noticed in your towels. Hard water, especially if it contains iron, can leave behind impossible to remove stains that will ruin your clothing.

Is your hair dull or does your skin itch?

The excess minerals from hard water can buildup in your hair, causing it to look limp and dull. If you have curly or wavy hair, you may notice it become frizzy as the hard water dries it out. Hard water also strips moisture from your skin, leaving it overly dry. This can lead to itching. For some people, it may even cause skin conditions like eczema to flair up.

A whole house water softener will save your plumbing, fixtures, clothing, and your health. Consult a water softener installation contractor like Anderson Water Systems for more help.