Horrible H20: Why Does Florida Have Hard Water?
When you think of something hard, it's likely that a rock, a brick, or a piece of wood comes to mind. Although there's no arguing that these objects are solid, they aren't the only ones categorized as such.
As much as it might surprise you, the water streaming out of your faucet when you're washing the dishes, taking a shower, or watering the lawn is possibly hard too. This is especially true in the Sunshine State itself. That's right, Florida.
With that being said, here's a brief explanation of what hard water is and why Florida has so much of it.
Florida's Land Contains Large Amounts of Limestone
According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), most of the ground water found in Florida contains between 121 and 180 milligrams per liter of hard minerals. The minerals, including calcium and magnesium, dissolve in the water and are usually invisible to the human eye. To understand why Florida is abundant with such water, you must first understand the cycle.
The Hydrologic Cycle
As you might know, water travels in a natural cycle better known as the hydrologic cycle. Essentially, this is the process that involves the movement of water through the environment. Water molecules found in the rivers, lakes, and oceans evaporate to form clouds. The clouds then fall as rain, and as a result, this precipitation is absorbed by the ground or runs into the rivers, lakes, and oceans.
Hard water is created when the ground absorbs it. Since water is a universal solvent (it can dissolve almost anything), it eats up anything that's found in the soil when it's absorbed. Limestone, which is a softer rock, is eaten up by water while it's absorbed by the ground and picks up much of the calcium and magnesium. This process is how water becomes hard.
Florida: A Karstic State
Florida is known as a "karstic" state. What this means is that much of the land -- or rock -- in it contains large amounts of limestone. To put things into perspective, approximately 5 to 10 percent of the Earth is considered karstic. As rain falls into the ground in Florida, it dissolves the limestone while filtering down. The dissolved limestone creates the hard water.
Floridians Aren't Using the Right Equipment to Soften Their Water
Okay, so now that you've learned about what creates hard water and why Florida has so much of it, you must consider the ramifications that it has on your daily life. Think about it: You use water in many important processes daily. Whether it's laundering your clothes, bathing your body, or washing your dishes, water is an essential part of your life.
Hard Water's Negative Impact
When you use hard water during these processes, it has a negative impact in more ways than you probably thought. Believe it or not, hard water can shorten the lifespan of your clothes by up to 40 percent. When it comes to bathing in it, it dries your skin and can damage your hair (if you have any).
That's not all, though. Hard water has a direct impact on your appliances' functionality and other parts of your home or apartment. Appliances like dishwashers, meant to clean your dishes, can actually leave behind spots and film because of the hard water used during the wash cycle. In many cases, it's almost a waste to even try to run the dishwater if you want your glasses and silverware spotless. Not only that, but hard water is known to clog up pipes, reducing water flow and increasing energy bills by up to 25 percent.
Solving the Problem
To combat your hard water problems, it's important to have a system in place that's strong enough to cut through the minerals causing the issues. Some alternatives to water softeners do exactly that, providing you with great tasting water while eliminating the problems that hard water can cause to your body, your home, and -- ultimately -- your pockets.
If you live in or have visited the Sunshine State, it's likely you've noticed how horrible the water tastes and how inefficient it is when it comes to washing your body, your dishes, or your clothes. Blame it on the hard water. To soften it up, use the right equipment and you'll be enjoying endless amounts of clean H20 in no time.
Photo Credit: Florida Hard Water Problems/shutterstock
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