We’ve always considered hard water to be an aesthetic concern. You know: hard to clean bathtub ring and film on shower tiles, dry itchy skin after bathing, dramatically higher cleaning costs, increased heating and maintenance costs due to scale build up. But now, evidence is making us reconsider what that scale can actually do. Legionnaires Disease is far more common that we think. The CDC estimates that between 8,000 and 18,000 cases are hospitalized with many cases going unreported. CDC Fact Sheet. Any place moisture can build up may cause bacteria, such as legionella, to grow. The bacteria can grow in hot tubs, air conditioning systems (especially large commercial units), hot water tanks, plumbing systems and cooling towers. Limescale deposits in the water system allow water to pool when the fixtures aren’t in use. This pooling allows bacteria to grow and potentially infect those using or exposed to the system. “By far the greatest risk lies within the humble hot and cold water systems, which deliver the disease through taps and shower heads. Legionella bacteria thrive in temperatures between 20-45 degrees Celsius; and if water is allowed to sit at these temperatures the bacterium can multiply into large numbers which can cause Legionnaires’ disease,” according to Simon French, a legionella expert and HVCA Service and Facilities Group member. In another study, scientists tested shower heads. Tests revealed nearly a third of devices harbour significant levels of a bug that causes lung disease. Levels of Mycobacterium avium were 100 times higher than those found in typical household water supplies. M. avium forms a biofilm that clings to the inside of the shower head, reports the National Academy of Science. Lead researcher Professor Norman Pace, said: “If you are getting a face full of water when you first turn your shower on, that means you are probably getting a particularly high load of Mycobacterium avium, which may not be too healthy.” BBC Article Some of us like to read the science so if that;s you, here it is. Gives you something to think about and another reason to appreciate your water softener. If you don’t have one yet – give us a call.