Your Place: The hard facts about hard water

McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

If I made water softeners for a living, I’d sure as shooting be interested in consumer attitudes about hard water.

Wouldn’t you?

That’s a rhetorical question. No replies are necessary.

It should come as no surprise, then, that Morton Salt, which makes water-softening products, found in a survey that 85 percent of American homes have hard water, though many homeowners might not know it, and even more don’t know how to fix it.

More than 90 percent of 500 Americans surveyed deal with soap scum or water stains caused by hard water, Morton said.

Hard water limits soap’s ability to lather, leaving a filmy residue of scum that can irritate skin.

Because of this, those who suffer from skin conditions such as eczema seem to have the most problems with hard water.

In addition to skin, hard water is tough on just about everything in a household — from pipes, to appliances, to clothes, and ultimately a homeowner’s budget.

Anything the water touches will be affected.

Morton Salt’s survey found that one-third of hard-water users at least sometimes needed to replace appliances or fixtures because of the buildup created by their water.

Though many Americans know that hard water can take a toll on them and their homes, only one in five has taken action by having and using a water-softening system, according to the survey.

Most hard-water sufferers cite the high cost of a softening system as the top reason for not purchasing one for their homes, followed by the perception that such systems are too difficult to maintain.

The survey found that 66 percent of respondents said they were embarrassed at least once when houseguests saw the effects of hard water in their homes.

I know this sounds like a topic ripe for discussion at the next presidential candidates’ debate, but, my fellow Americans, if you are worried about hard water and fear that you may have it, Morton Salt is offering homeowners free test strips.

You can make the request online at mortonsalt.com. On the company’s home page, click on the water-drop icon.

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