Hard water deposits are not only a nuisance, but can eventually lead to damaged windows.
Hard water deposits are derived from water that contains a high mineral content.
This type of water usually consists of magnesium and calcium along with other compounds.
These mineral compounds are collected and dissolved into the water as it passes through the ground. The problem is that the hard water will evaporate from a surface such as a wall or window leaving behind its unwanted deposits that are known as calcium or lime scale. You may not even notice the deposits starting to build and might just put it off as a dirty window. If unnoticed, these deposits will start to build into a thick white layer of crust. As the build-up continues, it will give your windows an undesirable hazy bullet proof like texture. Mineral deposits are fairly easy to remove during the beginning stages, but over time, the deposits will slowly etch into the pores of the glass and in addition can become baked on by the hot sun. Once this happens, it can be virtually impossible to remove the deposits without damaging the surface that it’s adhered to.
This stage usually happens when hard water has been sprayed onto a window once or twice with ground water from a sprinkler or garden hose. After the water has evaporated, visible spots are left behind. These spots can usually be removed with regular window scrubbing toolsalong with normal scrubbing methods using a homemade window cleaner.
At this stage the mineral deposit has started to build up to the point where it has a somewhat transparent, but white pasty look. At this point, it may be difficult (but not impossible) to remove with normal scrubbing. A Window Scraper and acid base or light abrasive glass cleaner like spot-X (listed on the left) will work like magic to remove the water spots.
This is where the hard water deposits have build up to the point where they have etched into the pores of the glass. As you can see from the picture, the scale build up has not only damaged the glass, but has damaged the frame as well. You will see this a lot of times on shower glass and doors along with lower outside windows that have been hit over and over by sprinkler systems. You will know the damage has been done when the window scraper or cleaners will not remove the scale build up, no matter how hard you try. At this point, the window will have to be buffed out by using a special buffer, along with abrasive window buffing pads.
There are good buffing systems and kits available that will allow you to buff the deposits out. I recommend using the Mr. Hard Water deposit removal kit. This may seem a little pricey but if you compare the cost to replace the windows it becomes obvious that this kit will save you a fortune. Not to mention if your looking for a business opportunity or something to supplement your existing business -- The Mr Hard Water Removal kit by itself will do just that. The reason I like this kit so much is that not only do you get all the tools needed it comes with a video that covers business issues and polishing techniques. Below is a sample video of how this system works.
Here is a link that shows picturs and details on a job that I had to remove a thick layer of hard water build up by hand.
If hard water continues to come in contact with shower glass or hits your windows from sprinklers (even after they have been adjusted) and an outside water softening system is not an option, there is still something you can do. There are hard surface and glass protectants on the market that work great.I recommend using Invisible Shield, I use it on all my jobs and it works great.
These products coat the surface of the glass, which creates a protective barrier that allows water to bead off. This protective barrier will also keep hard water deposits from permanently adhering to the glass which will make it easy to remove when it comes time to clean the windows. This type of product is hand buffed onto the glass in the same manner that you would wax a car. This is done after the glass has been cleaned and all water spots have been removed.
The most obvious way to prevent mineral build up is to avoid letting any hard water evaporate on your windows. Adjust sprinkler heads and do not pressure wash or spray windows with a garden hose. If you do, make sure all the water is removed using a squeegeebefore it has a chance to dry and leave water spots.
Homes with hard water may already have a water softening system for the inside water. Usually this system is not connected with the outdoor water source. It may be possible to run your outside water through the existing system. If this is not an option, you may consider a separate water softening system for the outside water as well. This is probably the most expensive method of prevention, but compared to the cost of replacing windows, it might be a good deal.
Related Article On Hard Water Spots-Causes and Removal
"Spot-X Hard Water Stain Remover"