Are You Moving to Barrie?

Are you considering a move to the Barrie area? Perhaps you’re already in the process of running around with your real estate agent, trying to find that perfect new home. But there’s one important factor that you might not have thought of as you check features off your wish list.

Hard water. Water in Barrie ranges from 9.5-21 grains per gallon, depending on what end of town you are in. To put this in perspective, that qualifies water across Barrie from ‘hard’ to ‘very hard’ on a scale. Especially if you are coming from an area with lower levels of hardness, in Barrie you are going to have to reckon with the effects of hard water.

What is hard water?

Simply put, hard water is water with high concentrations of various minerals, predominantly calcium and magnesium. These minerals build up over time on surfaces and inside pipes, leaving a coating in your shower, sink, faucets, inside your kettle and various other places. This can lead to everyday frustrations like a clogged shower head, white particles in boiled water, stubborn soap scum, and more.

Why is hard water an issue?

Hard water can affect your household and your own body in numerous ways, both seen and unseen. Aside from the effects noted above, many people’s skin reacts harshly to hard water. Minerals build up on the skin, irritating skin conditions and clogging pores. Minerals condense on your hair, particularly around the roots, aggravating dandruff and weighing your hair down.
High concentrations of minerals in water nullify much of the potency of soap, leaving you to use extra shampoo, extra laundry detergent, and extra dish soap to get the job done. The colour and strength of fabrics repeatedly washed in hard water will also suffer.
Unseen mineral build up can begin to clog your pipes and the inner workings of dishwashers, washing machines, and refrigerators. This limits efficiency and the lifespan of your appliances, costing you money without your knowledge.
In many cities, the level of hardness in municipal water is low enough that these issues are manageable. But if you live in the city of Barrie, you are going to have to address your hard water in some way.

How can I get rid of hard water?

Though there are many Band-Aid methods of combating hard water which could work for you in an area with naturally softer water, the simplest option is to install a home water-softening system. The system is connected directly to your new home’s water lines and softens water to every corner of your household. No more chalky build up – anywhere! For further cleaning, you can even add on a Reverse Osmosis system to purify your drinking water. An RO system will remove harmful chlorine, industrial chemicals, unwanted smells, iron, and more.

How will I benefit from soft water?

Your body:
Water is absolutely vital for the human body, but this goes beyond mere survival. Water is necessary for the daily health, maintenance and function of your body. Your blood, your brain, your organs, your skin – they all need plenty of water to get you through the day, repair and flush toxins. But if that water is laden with chemicals, chlorine, and other unwanted substances, you are putting yourself at risk over time. Drinking and bathing in purified, soft water will do your hair and skin more favours than any outrageously priced skin cream. 

Your home:
Soft water will increase the efficiency and life of appliances, give you cleaner and longer-lasting clothes, and speed up your cleaning routines. Your coffee and ice will taste better. Your shower will require half of the scrubbing. And no more combating white flakes in your kettle.

Your wallet:
Installing a home water softener and/or RO system is not only a long-term investment in your health and home, but it can have substantial financial benefits. It goes without saying that appliances that are not subjected to mineral build up can enjoy a longer lifespan. Soaps – shampoo, laundry and dishwasher detergent – will have a greater effect in soft water, as its foaming action is not impeded by unwanted minerals and chemicals. You can reduce the number of cleaning products which you use and there is no need for those added Band-Aid products. Households that would otherwise rely on bottled water will be able to simply drink from the tap – benefiting you and the environment.

Have more questions? Click here to find out more from water specialists who live and work in your community.


How Hard Water Affects Your Dishwasher and Dishes

Hard water can cause spotted, cloudy dishes and shorten the life of your dishwasher.
A dishwasher has an average life expectancy of 9-11 years if maintained properly and not exposed to hard water.  If you have hard water, you can expect the lifespan of your dishwasher to be much shorter. This is also the case with your other appliances that use water, such as the washing machine, hot water heater and coffee maker. 

What Are Signs of Hard Water in the Dishwasher?
You can tell you have hard water if your dishes come out spotty or covered in a white film.  Sometimes this problem is more obvious on your clear glassware.  You will also see a buildup on the tray slide rails and on the element.

What Is Hard Water?
Hard water is defined as water that has high concentrations of calcium, magnesium and iron. Water hardness is measured in grains per gallon (gpg). Soft water has 0-1 gpg, Slightly Hard 1.1-3.5 gpg, Moderately Hard 3.6-7 gpg, Hard 7.1-10.5 gpg, Very Hard over 10.5 gpg

So I Know I Have Hard Water, What Can I Do?

Use the correct amount of detergent.
Too little detergent will leave deposits on your dishes.  Hard water requires the use of more detergent.
Use a rinse aid. Rinse aids loosen the hydrogen bonds of water causing it to spread out thinly on a clean surface so you’ll see less water spotting on your dishes.
Clean the filters regularly.  Hard water deposits can build up on the filters in your dishwasher impeding water flow and dishwasher performance. 

Soften the water.  By adding a water softening system for your household water you can remove hardness minerals from your water lengthening the life of your dishwasher and other appliances that use water.
Most water softeners regenerate with saltwater. Regeneration is a process where the softening media (called resins) inside the softener is cleaned by allowing the saltwater (or brine) to percolate through the media stripping it of all hard water ions. Once regeneration is completed, the salt and water solution is flushed into the sewer and into the environment. Today’s technologically advanced water softeners will use salt and water efficiently, saving you money while reducing the impact on the environment.


Recommended Water Softeners for residents of Barrie

In the city of Barrie, Ontario, water hardness levels range from 8 - 9.5 gpg in the South-end of the city and over 21 gpg in the North-end of Barrie. The residents of the south end of Barrie receive their water supply from the lake and those living in the north end of the city receive their household water from ground water sources. Regardless of where your water supply originates in Barrie, you need a water softener to help prevent the many problems that can occur when using hard water in your home. As long time residents of Barrie ourselves, we have lived in both ends of the city and have seen the huge difference a water softener makes in our water quality. Unfortunately, we have heard many people living in Barrie have been told the city is softening the lake water "for us" before it reaches south end homes, but this is simply not the reality.

Here is an example of the huge difference a water softener can make in a Barrie home;

These glasses are from a South-end Barrie home. The owners  were shopping for a new dishwasher but decided to try putting in a new water softener first. As you can see, the glasses in the middle were washed before their new water softener was installed and the glasses on the ends after the installation. This couple was absolutely thrilled with the results because they don't need to purchase that new dishwasher anymore, saving them about a thousand dollars! 

There are many other issues with hard water besides wear and tear on our appliances.   

Heres the scoop on the problems associated with using hard water in our homes;

Hard water contains large amounts of calcium and magnesium — two minerals that cause the soapy scum on glasses and lime residue on bathroom fixtures. Hard water can cause mineral build-up in water heaters, pipes, dishwashers and shower heads, reducing water flow.  In addition to narrowing and potentially clogging pipes, scale prevents efficient heat transfer, so a water heater with scale will have to use a lot of energy to give you hot water. Soap is less effective in hard water because it reacts to the calcium or magnesium salt of the organic acid of the soap. These salts are insoluble and form grayish soap scum, but no cleansing lather. Soap and shampoo’s ability to lather is reduced, and laundry becomes stiffer and duller in appearance. Soap and shampoo do not rinse off as they should and often leave an invisible film which blocks pores, attracting and holding dirt and bacteria, causing chapped, itchy, dry skin and limp and lifeless hair. Hair colour can be affected as well, especially if you use home hair colouring kits. 

As the table below shows, water hardness is measured with five different classifications and can be expressed in mg/litre or parts per million (ppm) or grains per US gallon (gpg).

                               Water hardness classifications
Water Hardness
below 17 mg/litre or ppm (0 – 1 gpg)
Slightly hard
17.1 – 60 mg/litre or ppm (1.1 – 3.5 gpg)
Moderately hard
61 – 120 mg/litre or ppm (3.6 – 7 gpg)
121 – 180 mg/litre or ppm (7.1 – 10.5 gpg)
Very hard
over 180 mg/litre or ppm (over 10.5 gpg)

For  Barrie residents we would recommend a Water Softener with chlorine removal because this will not only beautifully soften your household water, but also remove the chlorine that is added by the city. We would also recommend adding our Reverse Osmosis System to treat your household drinking water assuring the purest, healthiest, best tasting water possible for your family. To save you even more, our company offers a product bundle- Water Softener bundled with our Reverse Osmosis System, for bundle details click here. For more information on these or any of our other products please don't hesitate to contact us.