Can’t lose those stubborn spots on your glasses? You probably have hard water.

With hard water found in about 85% of homes in the United States, you’re bound to have experienced the signs of it around your home. The high mineral content of hard water, and more specifically, high concentrations of calcium and magnesium, is what’s to blame for these experiences. As water evaporates, these minerals harden themselves onto items as mineral deposits, also known as “scale.” The more scale present, the more problems that exist.

Stubborn Spots on Glasses

These are some of the most common problems you may be experiencing around your home due to hard water:

  • Around the home
    • Crusty, white scale buildup on faucets, shower heads and water-using appliances
    • Dishwasher that no longer cleans dishes very well
    • Reduced water flow due to clogged pipes
    • Hard-to-clean film and scale on bath and kitchen fixtures, shower walls and toilets
    • Spotty, filmy glasses and dishes—even after washing
    • Soap that refuses to lather despite using copious amounts
    • Gray, dingy clothing
    • Towels that feel hard and scratchy post-wash
  • Financial hits over time
    • Higher utility bill costs over time
      • Hard water will require up to 29% more energy to heat your water over the life of a water heater
      • The estimated increase in energy bills over a 10-year period: $1,500
    • Decreased efficacy of major water-using appliances, including big ticket items like water heaters, dishwashers and washing machines
    • A 30% to 50% decrease in the lifespan of major appliances
    • Increased purchases of items such as laundry detergent, bath and kitchen soaps and lotion
      • Estimated annual cost without a softener: $1,039
      • Estimated annual cost with a softener: $225 (75% to 80% percent savings)
  • Personal well-being
    • “Squeaky” skin post-wash
    • Excessively dry skin
    • Dull, limp hair
    • Razor burn
    • Hair color that quickly fades

If any of these signs are present in your home, the best way to know for sure if you’ve got hard water is through a hard water test. It’s quick and easy, and it will tell you how hard your water is. Armed with that info, you’ll be able to look into the best solutions for your home.