How Hard Water Affects Appliance Efficiency (and What to Do About It)

| 2/9/2018 9:21:00 AM

Tags: appliances, home energy, energy efficiency, home improvement, Kayla Matthews,


Water contains many dissolved substances we can’t see, so we’ve developed simple terminology to describe its specific condition. Hard water is one: Hard water can smell and taste bad. It also can lead to mineral deposits on your appliances and within their workings, which can make them less effective and less efficient over time.

What Is Hard Water?

Hard water is so named due to its high content of dissolved minerals. You can’t usually see that content, but you can taste or sometimes smell it. While water can contain any number of minerals and other substances, the primary offenders are calcium and magnesium.

The minerals in hard water cause us problems when they bind to other substances. Soap, for instance, won’t foam up as well, which makes washing our bodies and clothes less effective in removing dirt or bacteria — you may have noticed clothing ending up with odd stains or dishes come out of the dishwater spotty.

How Does Hard Water Affect Appliances?

Appliances which use water, such as our dishwashers and hot water tanks suffer the most from hard water. Minerals in the water (think dissolved rocks) build up on the heating elements and slowly bring down the efficiency of the appliance.

A hot water tank has to work much harder to heat water to the desired temperature when it is coated with minerals. It draws in more energy and raises your utility bills in the process. It can cost almost 30% more to heat the same amount of water when it is untreated, hard water.

Dewey M.
2/23/2018 10:23:01 AM

Very narrow minded view of "what to do about it". I read the article to see about alternative solutions but it seems I already know more about it then the author. Pretty much a waste of time.

2/23/2018 9:28:23 AM

Good intro into hard water. Skipped how to treat hard water. Also left out the fact that salt treatment is being outlawed in a lot of jurisdictions due to ground water contamination with the salt flush from cleaning the softener. No mention of alternatives, such as citric acid. Mother has some very good articles, very through coverage with the risks and rewards spelled out. This one missed on all counts. When you do another one on water treatments include the alternatives, along with the risks and rewards.

mother earth news fair 2018 schedule

Next: June 2-3, 2018
Frederick, MD