Water very commonly contains hardness elements such as magnesium and calcium, dissolved rock, hence the description of hard water. Soft water is when these minerals are removed through a process known as ion exchange. If you have hard water, you may see staining or scaling build up on your sinks, tubs, showers and clothing; scaling deposits on your glassware; and damage due to scale in your pipes and appliances. You will also notice less lather from your shampoos/soaps and a filmy dryness feeling on your skin. Often, types of skin irritations are tied to hard water. All of these are symptoms of the need for softened water. 

Hard water can also produce a rock-like scale that builds up in pipes, water heaters, plumbing fixtures, dishwashers and other water-related appliances. This scale will reduce water flow, clog valves and vents and create maintenance problems reducing the life of your appliances.