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Does Tampa Have Hard Water — And What Can I Do About It?

Tampa is known for having hard to very hard water, which means the water contains high levels of minerals such as calcium and magnesium that can cause frustrations on your home appliances, clothes, skin, and hair.

How Hard Is Tampa Water?

According to the most recent water quality report for Tampa, the average total hardness is 186 mg/L or 10.9 grains/gallon, which classifies as hard. This is slightly higher than the 2021 measurements of 171 mg/L or 10.4 grains per gallon.

Tampa Bay Water, which serves Hillsborough, Pasco, and Pinellas counties, is a regional water utility that provides wholesale water to those three counties as well as New Port Richey, St. Petersburg, and Tampa. They offer a water quality report that also lists no hard water measurements.

While Plant City offers an annual quality report, there is no direct measure of hard water listed.

Water systems within Hillsborough county can be found on this page as well, including Cypress Cove, East Lake, Fairview, Hershel Heights, Northwest, Oakview Estates, Pebble Creek, San Remo, Seaboard, and South Central.

What Are Some Of The Issues With Hard Water In Tampa?

Older homes in Tampa with galvanized copper plumbing can experience scale buildup in pipes from hard water. This buildup can decrease water flow and pressure and can also lead to premature pipe corrosion. Scale can also accumulate in water heaters, reducing efficiency and increasing energy bills. Other appliances that use water, such as dishwashers and ice makers, can also have reduced lifespan.

Scale buildup can be seen on faucets, shower heads, and toilets. This is an appearance issue and can also affect functionality. If you irrigate your flowers, it can leave white spots on foliage. Homes with wooden structures, such as decks and patios, may experience issues if you clean them regularly with hard water, such as discoloration.

Is Hard Water Treatment Available In Tampa?

Culligan Water is the most immediate fix — for as low as $9.95 a month you can solve your hard water problems immediately with a water softener.

There are proactive steps you can take to stop hard water buildup from affecting your home or your family. This includes keeping your surfaces around water clean and dry, and using spray cleaner on shower doors and mirrors regularly.

Home remedies can help temporarily. Most solutions involve white vinegar, which is a general household cleaning solution:

Wrap paper towels or rag soaked in vinegar around the faucet and let it sit for an hour. Rinse and wipe it dry.
Take off the shower head and soak it in white vinegar for 12 hours. Scrub with an old toothbrush, rinse and reinstall it.
Spray with white vinegar or white wine to remove lime scale and hard water stains.
DishwashersOnce a month, add a cup of white vinegar to your dishwasher and run it through a cycle.
Add a gallon of white vinegar to the empty washing machine and run through a cycle with hot water.
Toilet Tanks Add three cups of white vinegar to your toilet tank.
Run a cycle unfiltered through the reservoir full of white vinegar to remove mineral deposits. Run two more full 12-cup brewing cycles with regular water.
Sinks and
Spray the surface with lemon juice or vinegar, let sit for half hour. Wipe clean.

How Does Hard Water Cause Soap Scum and Spots

Soap scum is the white film that comes from the addition to the fatty contents of soap to the mineral-rich ions of hard water. These are technically called “lime soaps.”

This type of soap is ineffective in washing dishes, clothes or hair. Because of this, more soap is required to form a lather, and more can stick to your hair and skin. Synthetic detergents are less likely to make this reaction.

How To Fix Limescale Spots On Your Tampa Home’s Fixtures and Appliances

Fixtures are the hardest places to deal with hard water spots, because often you can’t see the heart of the problem.

An easy way to deal with this, however, is to remove the fixtures (if you can) and soak them in a solution of vinegar or lemon juice. Even if it’s only a few hours, soaking fixtures helps dissolve hard water build up throughout, and can access hard-to-reach places where buildup can be causing the most issues.

If you can’t remove the fixtures, try filling a water-tight plastic bag with your vinegar or lemon solution and tying it to the fixture (rubber bands can be a great way to get this to hold.) Leave it on as long as you can, and you should find your fixtures running clearer than before.

A water softener provides numerous benefits that pay for itself over time.

Water softener benefits

Shower Head Water Filters For The Tampa Area

In addition to reducing chemical exposure when you shower, shower head filters can also improve your hair’s shine and feel, as well as support healthier, softer skin by minimizing contact with chemicals and toxins. If you choose a water filter that softens water as well, you’ll also notice that you need less soap, shampoo, and conditioner to get the job done as soft water helps less product lather up quickly — saving you money with every shower.

Shower head filters can be useful even — and especially — if you live in a dorm, rental home, or apartment, or somewhere that already features whole home water filtration. Not all water filters are created equal, so unless you’ve done the research to know exactly what kind of water filter your water is passing through, it may not make much difference when it comes to your general health, hair or skin care routine.

Softeners and filtration systems need to be serviced regularly to be effective, so if your landlord or property manager isn’t on top of the recommended maintenance, a shower head filter can be a great choice to ensure your shower is not only safe, but easier on your hair and skin. An extra bonus? Your shower will also be easier to clean, since shower head filters make it less likely water will leave unsightly or hard-to-remove hard water spots and residue on the shower and fixtures.

Is Tampa’s Hard Water Bad For My Hair?

Hard water in Tampa can cause a number of issues for your hair:

Dryness and Brittleness: The minerals in hard water can make hair feel drier and more brittle. This is because the calcium and magnesium in hard water can cause the hair cuticles to raise, leading to hair that feels rough and dry.

Dullness: Hard water can leave a film of mineral deposits on the hair, making it look dull and lifeless. This film can also prevent moisture from entering the hair shaft, further contributing to the lack of shine.

Tangled Hair: The raised cuticles caused by hard water can make hair more prone to tangling. This can lead to increased breakage when combing or brushing.

Scalp Build-up: The minerals in hard water can accumulate on the scalp, leading to build-up. This can cause itchiness, dandruff, and even hair loss in some cases.

Fading Hair Color: If you have colored or dyed hair, hard water can cause the color to fade more quickly. The minerals in the water can also alter the color, sometimes leading to unwanted brassy or greenish tones.

Reduced Lathering: Hard water can reduce the lathering ability of shampoos. This means you might end up using more shampoo than necessary, which can strip the hair of its natural oils, leading to further dryness.

Hair Thinning and Hair Loss: Over time, the build-up of minerals can clog hair follicles, potentially leading to hair thinning and hair loss.

Can Soft Water Cause Hair Loss?

The short answer is no. Many people may notice a change in their hair if they move from a location with hard water to a location with soft water, however this change is generally unrelated to the amount of hair you have (or whether it’s falling out)— rather it has to do with the quality of your hair. In general, other changes in your environment may cause hair loss. If you’re not eating a healthy diet, or recently experienced a stressful event like moving homes or starting a new job, the hair loss culprit is more likely that than your water quality.

How Does Hard Water Affect My Skin?

Soap scum isn’t just for your bathroom tiles – it can build up on your skin, too. The minerals in hard water leave a film around your epidermis that clogs your pores, trapping the natural oils and forming blemishes.

The natural oils in your skin work hard to lubricate and provide moisture. The film left around your skin clogs your pores, leaving your skin to feel dry and itchy.

Hard water may cause your skin to age faster. Dermatologist Dr. Dennis Gross says many of the impurities in hard water can form free radicals that damage healthy skin cells. This can lead to fine lines and wrinkles. This can also lead to a breakdown of collagen, a structural protein that helps your skin look and feel healthy.

Why Culligan?

The School of Sustainable Engineering at Arizona State University has found that the hard water scaling normally found in the pipes of homes is an active environment for harmful bacteria growth.

How Does Hard Water Cause Bacterial Growth?

The piping used in home plumbing, whether copper or PVC, does not allow the bacteria to settle and grow. But over time, scaling from the hard water provides a surface for bacteria to grow on, increasing the risk of pathogenic bacteria such as Legionella, which can cause Legionnaire’s Disease.

Lime scale will reduce the flow of water in your plumbing system by clogging pipes. This is particularly a big issue for older homes with steel pipes. Your water pressure can lower over time, possibly requiring a full pipe replacement.

Can Hard Water Contribute To Skin Problems and Eczema?

The chronic, itchy skin rash that affects 20 percent of babies and young children is painful for your child, and a pain for you to deal with. Furthermore, while eczema conditions are known to improve with age, there is no true cure, and its regression is unpredictable in nature.

There are many preventative measures that people practice to mitigate the effects of eczema, or the chances of your child contracting it. Most are related to clothing, detergents, bathing, topical creams, certain diets, and prescription medicine.

But what about the effects of hard water on your baby’s skin? From the bathtub to the laundry, the water used during these essential life events can have an adverse effect on your child.

High levels of hard water may be associated with atopic dermatitis (eczema).

Lead author of the study Carsten Flohr, Ph.D. of the Institute of Dermatology at King’s College London, noted the purpose was not to study the causes and effects of eczema, but rather an association of homes that have hard water and the prevalence of eczema within those homes.

“We are about to launch a feasibility trial to assess whether installing a water softener in homes of high-risk children around the time of birth may reduce the risk of eczema, and whether reducing chlorine levels brings any additional benefits.”

How Does Hard Water Affect Clothing?

Calcium and magnesium can do a number on your laundry. The fabrics can stiffen, and the color may dull if the dissolved minerals are not suspended in water when it is drained.

Many of your laundry detergent molecules are not being used properly, as they bind up the calcium and magnesium. This leaves less of these molecules available to trap dirt and grime.

How Can You Fix Your Hard Water Issues?

Lucky for you, Culligan of Tampa offers a variety of products to solve hard water problems. Some of our solutions include water softeners, whole-house filtration systems, and reverse osmosis systems. These products can help remove minerals and impurities from your water, resulting in softer and cleaner water for your home. It gets even better, we offer several ways to save on these solutions!


Suggested Products

Culligan Water Softeners in Tampa Bay

Aquasential™ Smart High Efficiency Water Softener

  • Smart brine tank auto-monitors salt levels
  • Convenient auto-bypass valve
  • Reliable non-corrosive valve
  • Worry-free maintenance