hard water problems

What is Hard Water?

Water is a great solvent and dissolves minerals very easily. Pure water can be called the universal solvent. As water moves through soil and rock, it dissolves very small amounts of minerals and holds them in solution.

Calcium and magnesium dissolved in water are the two most common minerals that make water “hard”. The degree of hardness becomes greater as the calcium and magnesium content increases.

What is limescale and how does it relate to hard water?

Limescale is the chalky off-white crust that lurks inside your kettle and boiler and stains your surfaces… but you probably already knew that. Scientifically speaking limescale is a deposit of calcium carbonate and a residue left behind by hard water.

And how does it relate to hard water?… When hard water evaporates, it leaves behind calcium carbonate deposits. These limescale deposits build-up on any surfaces that hard water is in contact with and can accumulate quickly. Unfortunately, limescale loves to stick to limescale and these deposits are tough to get rid of as well as being unsightly.

You will find limescale in many places, some that you can see and others where it is hidden from view. Limescale can be found inside your water pipes, on the heating elements of a boiler and on any surface where water has evaporated.

Hard Water in Pipes

Typical Symptoms of Hard Water

Hard water interferes with almost every cleaning task of laundering and dishwashing to bathing and personal grooming. If your water is hard you will undoubtedly be experiencing some or all of these symptoms:
  • Clothes laundered in hard water may look dull and unwashed
  • Dishes and glasses may be spotted and streaky when dry
  • A film may be left on glass shower doors, shower walls, baths, sinks, and taps
  • Hair washed in hard water can be wiry and dry
  • Reduced water flow caused by a build-up in pipes
  • Blocked irrigation sprinklers and drippers
  • Blocked stock-trough float-valves

The amount of hardness in minerals in water affects the amount of soap and detergent necessary for cleaning. Soap used in hard water combines with the minerals to form a sticky soap curd.

Heated hard water forms a scale of calcium and magnesium minerals. This scale can build up and contribute to the inefficient, costly operation and potential failure of water-using appliances such as kettles, dishwashers and hot-water systems.

Pipes can become clogged with scale that reduces water flow and ultimately requires pipe replacement.

Treating Hard Water with Magnetic Water Conditioners

Magnetic Water Conditioners (water softeners) don’t actually remove the calcium and magnesium from the water, but they DO render them technically inert. They lose their ability to bind and to set like cement. This means you will no longer get that scale build-up on everything that the water comes into contact with.

Magnetic Water Conditioners focus a very intense magnetic field through the pipe wall into the water. This strong magnetic field influences the ionic charges of the mineral ions (salts) in the water, which makes them behave differently. This change results in the water acting “softer”. Calcium and magnesium no longer set like cement, onto the pipe inner wall, on taps, baths, shower head or shower doors and walls.

It also affects the mineral ions (salts) so they lose their ability to bind to the soil particles. Reduce the effects of salinity. Magnetic water treatment will reduce the impact of salt on plants and soil giving you healthy lush vegetation and soil. Magnetic Water Conditioners are the best solution to your hard water problems for both natural and town water sources.

Abstract
Scales are hard deposits which stick very firmly to the inner surfaces of the pipes and are very difficult to remove. This document outlines the effect of magnetic water treatment on the scaling power of hard waters and shows how permanent magnets help to remove existing scale deposits in water. It demonstrates how a strong applied magnetic field increases the aragonite/calcite ratio in the deposit and thus inhibits scaling potentiality of treated water. Therefore, magnetic water treatment accelerates crystallization of mineral scales preventing them from adhering to the pipes.

Magnetic Water Conditioners

(Home water softeners)

Suits Pipe Sizes from 20mm (3/4″) to 50mm (2″)

Magnetic Water Conditioners

Magnetic Water Conditioners focus a very intense magnetic field through the pipe wall into the water to be treated. The very strong and intense magnetic field interferes with the ionic charges of the mineral ions (salts) in the water, which makes them behave differently. This change results in the water acting “softer”. Calcium and magnesium no longer set like cement, and salts lose their ability to bind to the soil particles.  Magnetic water conditioners are the ultimate solution when you are using water from natural sources and town water.

Benefits of using a Magnetic Water Conditioners

  • Treats calcium and magnesium build-up in the water,
  • Calcium and magnesium no longer set like cement in your household pipework,
  • No more calcium build up on your on taps, baths, shower head or shower doors and walls,
  • Hot water elements last longer and heat more efficiently,
  • You can wash the car and windows without forming scale or streaks on the glass,
  • Water becomes soft and will easily form a lather.

(Details at the end of this page)

Hard Water in Irrigation or Garden Water

Iron in irrigation and garden water

When bore water has iron levels in excess of 0.3mg/l installation of a GrowFlow Magnetic Water Conditioner tends to accelerate the oxidation of the dissolved iron to form iron oxide.

If this water is for irrigation only, magnetic treatment will prevent iron oxide build-up in the system as the change to the iron oxide molecule enables it to pass through the system without building up as a scale or blocking micro sprinklers or drip emitters.

The GrowFlow magnetic treatment also slowly breaks down any existing iron build-up in the system. This process can produce very small flakes. Because of this the problem of blocked drip emitters and micro sprinklers may get worse before improving.

Salinity and Sodicity (too much sodium)

These are two often-related areas… but not necessarily. Salt is NOT necessarily sodium chloride. That’s table salt! Salts can be calcium carbonate, or magnesium sulphate, or many other combinations as well as sodium chloride.

Salinity is a different matter. Saline waters DO often contain high levels of sodium, therefore all of the above may well still apply. Your water test will show this.

Salinity will show up in your water test as a high EC (electrical conductivity). Read the article “How Plants Take Up Water” and note the point made about how it takes energy for the plant
to take up water from the soil.

When there is salt in the water (or in the soil-water because of salty water and/or salty soil) it is extremely difficult for a plant to take a drink. The plant uses its energy from evapotranspiration to draw water from the soil. When there is salt present it becomes more and more difficult for the plant.

Water moves from the soil into plant tissues by osmosis (definition: “osmosis is the passage of water from a region of high water concentration through a semi-permeable membrane to a region of low water concentration”).

Where there is salt in the soil and soil-water, the salt in the soil/water draws the water back to itself. Therefore the saltier the soil and soil-water, the less water is taken up by the plant.
The plant is stunted. If it’s very salty, it may eventually die of thirst.

The other important issue is this: when you apply saline water to the soil, much of this water evaporates. The water evaporates… the salt does not! Generally, the more you use saline
water, the higher the concentration of salts you will create in the soil. Whilst moderately saline water may not show immediate problems, it may well become a problem in years
ahead.

High levels of sodium in soil (either occurring naturally or from high-sodium and/or high SAR waters) will make a soil SODIC. Sodic soils have a horrible dispersive, hard–setting and
easily compacted structure. Well, structured soils have plenty of exchangeable calcium. Poorly structured, dispersive “sodic” soils contain high levels of exchangeable sodium where there should be calcium.
Calcium holds soil particles together, ensuring:
  • Stability
  • Root penetration
  • Water infiltration; and
  • Aeration

Sodium ions have only half the charge of calcium ions and therefore hold particles weakly… which means that the bonds fall apart, leading to:

  • compaction
  • poor aeration
  • poor infiltration; and
  • root penetration
High levels of soil magnesium have a similar detrimental effect on the structure. The solution is:
  • replacement of calcium ions (commonly through gypsum)
  • drainage (ripping); and
  • leaching of sodium ions
Additions and maintenance of soil organic carbon will also assist in rebuilding healthy soil structure.

High salinity levels will have detrimental effects in a number of areas. Initially, salt makes it more difficult for plants to withdraw water from the soil even if the soil appears to be quite moist. Salt attracts and absorbs the water competing with plants for available soil moisture, and as the available soil moisture declines, plants have to exert more energy to satisfy their water needs resulting in stressed wilted plants in what appears to be adequate soil moisture conditions. Salt accumulation on plant foliage after spray irrigation may burn the leaves. Sodium reacts with the soil to change the soil structure in a detrimental manner, reducing water movement (permeability) and aeration in the soil. As the plant root absorbs water from the soil it also absorbs the salts, plant foot etc, dissolved in it. High concentrations of salts taken up by the plant can damage the plant internally, having a toxic effect on the plants, affecting the plant’s physiological processes and often resulting in reduced and stunted growth, yellowing and death of the plants. High salinity will reduce the availability of some plant foods, for example, high levels of sodium or magnesium may induce calcium or potassium deficiencies in plants growing in soils low in these elements.

There may be evidence of corrosion in metal pipes, plumbing, hot water systems, irrigation fittings etc.

Livestock may avoid drinking water having high salinity levels or at least have a reduced intake of water. This reduced intake of water and/or the presence of high levels of sodium and chloride may affect livestock’s appearance, thrift performance, and the females’ milk production.

Treatment of Sodicity with the GrowFlow Magnetic Water Conditioner

Treatment with the GrowFlow Magnetic Water Conditioner dramatically reduces the build-up of sodium in the soil and will generally assist in leaching built-up soil sodium thus allowing the treated water to be used without detrimental results.

Treating salinity with GrowFlow Magnetic Water Conditioners

GrowFlow Magnetic Water Conditioners are used to treat all but the worst of saline waters (we will always tell you if we can’t help you!). This treatment has consistently shown positive results both in plant growth and in soil test results.

The same osmosis issue applies when saline waters are applied to plant foliage, especially on the more sensitive crops. The water evaporates, leaving minute crystals of salt on the leaves. These salts will then draw moisture out of the leaves into themselves resulting in dead patches and spots on leaves… or even dead leaves or dead plants.

Again, GrowFlow Magnetic Water Conditioners will prevent salinity problems in all but the worst of waters.

Expected improvements on water with high salinity levels

The following improvements can be expected when water with high salinity levels is treated with a GrowFlow Magnetic Water Conditioner:

  • Changes to the water molecule reduce the surface tension of the water, allowing faster wetting and penetration of water into the root zone.
  • The salts are changed to more harmless compounds with magnetic water conditioning,
  • The changed salts will not affect the plant foliage or change the soil structure,
  • They are not toxic to sensitive plants and they will not alter the balance or availability of plant nutrients.

The changes to the water molecule (as described above) result in a leaching action that will prevent salt build-up in the soil and reduce soil salinity as a result of the previous watering of soil.

Much of the information we have on the results of GrowFlow Magnetic Water Conditioners in controlling the damaging effects of salt in irrigation water on plants and soil is received by way of feedback from our customers.

It must be pointed out that these results depend on the level of salts in the water. In cases of high salinity, not all plants can be grown, however, treatment will allow a broader range of plants to be grown.

If you want to learn more… Download… Water Problems Explained in more detail.PDF  Now…

Great Water with Clear Pipes – with No Ongoing Costs

GrowFlow brings you world-class expertise in the latest magnet technology and its application to water treatment.
3 Year Manufacturer’s Warranty and 25 Year Magnet Guarantee (Conditions apply).

Download GrowFlow Guarantee and installation instruction.pdf

Advantages and Uses

GrowFlow Magnetic Water Conditioners (Water Softeners) are extremely economical and environmentally friendly. No need for chemicals or electricity! No waste byproducts. No maintenance required. No water volume limits and they NEVER need replacing.

The GrowFlow conditioners (Water Softeners) are available in a variety of sizes and strengths to suit any situation where there are mineral salts in the water, scale build-up and/or blockages in water pipes. They can be used effectively for industrial, agricultural or domestic applications.

Magnetic water treatment addresses issues with magnesium water, calcium water, calcium build-up, water salinity and iron in water. It is fantastic for garden water.

Suits Pipe Sizes 20mm (3/4″) to 50mm (2″)

Customer feedback

H. Kingaroy QLD
Using extremely salty Class 5 salinity water with extremely high calcium levels for lawns and gardens: “We are extremely happy with the unit, as you told me our water was the hardest water you had ever seen and you did not guarantee usage on my vegetable garden. I am very happy to say the vegetables are doing fine, as well as my kikuyu lawn.”

Ray McCarthy, Orielton, Tasmania
High Class 4 salinity bore water: “It’s made a big difference to us. They said the water was too salty for growing raspberries, but they’re doing fine with the magnetic water conditioner. And it’s better in the house as well.”
The Smiths, Cloncurry QLD
Using very hard (high calcium) bore and town water with Class 3 salinity: “We have really terrible bore water in Cloncurry. And the town water is even worse than our bore sometimes. The plants don’t like it and it leaves white scale on everything you wash with it. The gardens look a treat now, and we can even wash the cars with it. No one washes their cars in Cloncurry! But we can because our water’s clean now. Great stuff.”
G. Bird, Rockhampton QLD
(see before and after shots below)
High calcium bore water with some iron as well: “We have problems with calcium and iron in our bore water here at home. We got a magnetic conditioner for the house and were showed how to get rid of the iron too. Now we get no more staining and no more white spots and streaks in the house.”