Hard Water in Calgary

What is it? What is “Hard” Water?


Hard water is water that contains high levels of dissolved calcium and magnesium.

These minerals come from soil and rock such as limestone that dissolves in our river systems. Our water sources are the Bow and Elbow rivers which travel through the Canadian Rockies before reaching Calgary.

Hard water is not a health risk, but it is troublesome because hard water causes mineral buildup on all fixtures, poor soap and or detergent performance, and can cause skin irritation.

Hard water interferes with almost every daily cleaning task from personal grooming, bathing, dishwashing, laundry and general cleaning.

The amount of hardness in the water affects the amount of soap or shampoo used in bathing and can cause skin irritation.  Doing laundry in hard water can make fabrics stiff and rough. Can result in incomplete stain removal, graying and dulling of colours. In addition, soap curds and hard water deposits can be deposited on dishes, bathtubs, showers and all water fixtures.

Why it Matters

Hard water is brutal on appliances. Not only appliances but plumbing piping in your home as well. Heated hard water forms a scale of calcium and magnesium minerals that can contribute to the inefficient operation or failure of all water-using appliances and piping.

According to Natural Resources Canada, your hot water heater is the second highest user of energy in your home.  Hard water mineral build-up in your hot water heater takes more energy, making your water heater work harder and wear out faster.

Managing Hard Water

Water hardness can be managed in two ways: by packaged water softener such as baking or washing soda or borax. Or mechanical water softening units.

How to remove hard water:

  • Start by mixing half water and half Vinegar in a spray bottle
  • Spray the mixture in you tub and shower or on other water spots and wait a few minutes before wiping clean.
  • Dry the surface to prevent further spotting


  • Make a paste of baking soda and vinegar
  • Smear the paste over the surface of the stain and let sit 15 minutes.
  • After waiting 15 minutes, scrub clean and rinse with water.
  • Remember to dry the surface to prevent further spotting


  • Finally, you can try removing hard water using lemon juice
  • Spray lemon juice on hard water spots and let sit 10 minutes
  • Rinse after 10 minutes
  • Again, make sure to dry the clean surface.


Packaged water softeners only take care of the areas that are accessible.

Mechanical water softening units: Water softeners work on an ion exchange process. The calcium and magnesium ions are replaced with sodium ions as it passes through a mechanical water softening unit.

Having a mechanical water softener permanently installed into your home’s plumbing system to continuously remove the calcium and magnesium takes care of your water heater, pipes and plumbing fixtures.

Call Today 403-873-2597 to have a professional plumber from Son-Rise Plumbing install your Water Softener!

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Simple Tips To Help You Deal With Plumbing Issues

If you are completely new to the world of plumbing,then you are probably thinking that some tips on plumbing will help you immensely so that you can begin maintaining your own at home. Listed below are some tips to get you started with your home plumbing maintenance and repair.

Make sure you know where your home’s water shutoff is located. You never know when there might be an emergency involving a broken pipe or damaged connection that requires you to turn off the water right away. In addition, knowing where the shutoff is located is vital before you start any plumbing project, in case anything goes wrong.

Do not put cooking oils, fat, or grease, down your drain. These fats cause clogs by solidifying in pipes. To properly dispose of fats, put them in a bowl with a lid that you can dispose of. Once it gets hard, throw it in the trash or compost bin.

Group all of your plumbing repairs before scheduling a plumber to come out.

Check all of your fixtures and faucets. If anything is dripping, running or clogged, make a list for the plumber. That way, when the plumber comes, they can do all of the jobs in one visit. This will cut down on charges.

Use strainers in all drains to catch hair and other objects. This will prevent all the material from going down the drain and causing a clog, which can cause a bigger problem down the line. Clean out the strainers daily so that you don’t start getting backup of water in your sink or tub.

If your water is coming out black, then most likely you have an iron and magnesium issue to your water. You need to contact a water softener company, and get them to come out and assess your water. They will be able to fix the problem by adding a water softener.

Install screen traps or drain covers on all of your sinks and tub drains. Most home plumbing calls are about clogged pipes. These can be caused by debris, especially hair, washing down the drains. Putting in a trap means that you can clean this debris off before it ends up in the pipes.

You can pour baking soda down a drain followed by some vinegar if you want to keep drains clear.

This should be done once a month, and a cup each of baking soda and vinegar should be used. Plug up the drain and allow the chemical reaction to occur. After a few minutes,just flush the drain out with water that has reached a boiling point. Doing this periodically should keep your pipes free of hair and soap scum.

Drain the sediment from the bottom of your hot water heater twice a year to keep the hot water heater working at its optimal levels. Simply open the drain valve and allow the water to run out into a bucket until the water runs clear. Then close the drain valve.

If you are using PEX tubing for the supply lines in your home, make sure you get the right tools for the job. PEX tubing requires a completely different tool type than regular lines. PEX has a lot of benefits though, so don’t let the different requirements throw you off.

Do not be surprised if a plumber charges you more than you expected. Many customers think that fixing a toilet or other drainage problem should be easy, therefore the price should be low. You must remember that not only does a plumber have to charge for labor, but they have to charge for parts that you need.

Do not forget to check the temperature of the water heater in your house, especially if you are planning to leave for an extended period of time.

You should keep the temperature no higher than 120 degrees, which will help to reduce energy use and prevent your system from burning out.

If you have a foul odor coming from your garbage disposal, this is due to food debris buildup.
You need to put ice cubes, orange peels, and lemon peels into the disposal and run for about 30 seconds. Next, run some liquid dish soap through the disposal. This should take care of the problem if there is not a substantial blocking buildup.

Plumbing is one of those jobs that you should not do yourself. If it is something easy like a toilet repair or changing out a faucet, go ahead and give it a try. If it is a major repair, then you are better off hiring a contractor and it may be required to have a licensed plumbing contractor do the work for you.


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