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What Are the Benefits of Hard Water?

A glass of hard water, which contains calcium and magnesium.
Hard water can cause lime scale to build up on kettles.
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  • Written By: Andy Hill
  • Edited By: PJP Schroeder
  • Last Modified Date: 17 September 2014
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Throughout the world, a large percentage of the population is drinking water that is classified as hard. The hardness of water is determined by the levels of dissolved magnesium and calcium within the supply. A common misconception regarding hard water, one that has been refuted by the World Health Organization (WHO), is that it can be detrimental to health. The National Research Council goes further by promoting the benefits of hard water, stating that the large quantities of calcium and magnesium can actually contribute to the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of these minerals.

In the United States, nearly 90% of homes have hard water. A similar level is noted in the United Kingdom, where the majority of domestic supplies are considered to be between hard and very hard in terms of water mineral content. Other developed countries generally feature a wide spread of water hardness.

When considering hard water, it should be noted that there are both advantages and disadvantages for home owners through having high mineral-content water fed into their homes. One of the benefits of hard water comes from the ingestion of calcium ions from the water along with magnesium traces. Both of these minerals are essential in the modern diet. Many people also consider hard water to possess a more pleasant taste than soft water.

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Another by-product of hard water can be both a benefit and a disadvantage, depending on where in the pipe system it occurs; this is the formation of a hard layer of carbonate within pipes, faucets, and kettles known as lime scale. This carbonate layer is insoluble and can therefore restrict water flows through pipes. Lime scale can also form on the insides of kettles and around faucet heads, although this is not entirely detrimental other than from an aesthetic perspective. As one of the benefits of hard water, lime scale can also extend the operable life of water pipes by keeping the water flow and pipe material separated.

The benefits of hard water are often overshadowed by concerns regarding the safety of drinking high-mineral content water. These concerns stem from research that has suggested a link between male cardiovascular health and the level of calcium present in water. After studying the available evidence and research, the WHO concluded that insufficient data was presented to be able to accurately confirm a link between the two factors. With a large proportion of the developed world’s population being subject to hard water supplies, there would appear to be no convincing evidence to suggest any correlation between water hardness and health issues.

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Feryll
Post 4

I am pleased to read the first paragraph where the article talks about how hard water is not dangerous to a person's health. We have hard water, and people told me we needed to get a filter or buy bottled water for drinking. I assumed they were right because I don't know much about hard and soft water.

This article makes me feel more comfortable with our water. Who knew that not only was drinking my water not dangerous, but I can actually get some nutrients I need from my water?

Drentel
Post 3

@Laotionne - I'm not going to say there are no benefits to hard water. After all, this article points out some possible benefits, but over the long term, soft water is going to save you money and probably a few headaches.

I know people who have had appliances go bad because of hard water, and I have heard estimates that say hard water can cut the life span of the average hot water heater by 30 percent. Given the option, I would advise you to at least get some of the minerals out of your water if you have hard water.

Laotionne
Post 2

That's interesting what this article says about hard water having benefits. I had no idea there were any benefits to hard water because I am always hearing about products to get rid of the effects of hard water.

I was definitely surprised to read that the lime scale that builds up in your pipes because of hard water can actually extend the life of your water pipes by separating the water flowing through the pipe from the actual material that makes up the inside of the pipe . I have always heard about how the deposits eventually close off the pipes.

I guess this goes to show that when the glass is half empty it is also half full. It all depends on the way you choose to look at the situation.

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