Water Quality in the Valley Creates Plumbing Issues
I remember growing up in the Valley, thinking when people said ‘hard water,' they meant bits of rock and gravel coming out of the faucet. Then, one day I went to a friend’s house, and they had a water softener. I remember washing my hair in the shower and trying like crazy to rinse the soap out of my hair. That was my first experience with soft water.
In our last blog, we talked about how we get the water here in the Valley. Our water comes from the snow run-off produced by Colorado. It’s naturally soft, beautiful stuff until it hits our caliche-laden soil, where it picks up a tremendous amount of calcium and magnesium.
After an irrigation class, I understood how the chemically-infused platelets of soil would refuse to allow water to soak into the ground. I also realized that the hard, white deposits left on our sink fixtures and tiles could create an ongoing problem not only for irrigators but for plumbers and housekeepers, as well.
The solution for irrigators is simple: to lower the pH of the water, we can take a calcium carbonate molecule, written as CACO3, add Sulfuric acid--or sulfur--added to the water, which creates water, hydrogen dioxide, and a bit of calcium sulfate:
CaCO3 + H2SO4 → H2O + CO2 + CaSO4
No one wants to know the chemical equation parts.
In actual English, it means we need an acidic product to dissolve the hardness, or alkalinity when it collects as mineral deposits. Maids have it figured out: vinegar is a good choice, or lemon juice, or whatever acidic product is available. (I noticed that canned tomatoes cleaned up better than other messes I made.)
The upshot of all this is that while your housekeeper can soak your shower head in a baggie full of vinegar, or rub a lemon on your dishes and fixtures for ‘that sparkling shine,' the water, and pipes--where it’s harder to reach--are still going to be affected. Calcium may also build on gaskets or valves and cause leaks. The point is to remember what you’re dealing with and respond accordingly.
Some customers decide they’ve had it with hard water and spending a ton of money on soap and hard water products and ask us to install a water softener or reverse osmosis filter. If either of those options appeals to you, give us a call. We’ll be happy to talk to you about those and other options.