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Water Hardness

What Is Water Hardness?

Water contains minerals, and this can be a double-edged sword. One mineral that is prevalent in water is calcium, and human beings need to ingest a certain level of calcium each day. Problems present themselves when there is too much calcium in our water supply, and we begin to notice the effects of it. The first thing we have to do is know whether or not we have too many minerals in our water. Then, we need to find a way to reduce them, and this is very easy to do.


What Exactly Is Water Hardness?

Water hardness is determined by how much calcium and magnesium are present in the water. Water is too hard when it has large amounts of dissolved calcium, magnesium and other minerals. It is the reason that you may feel that a residue has been left on your hands after you wash them. That is because the soap and the calcium react to create soap scum.


What Is the Difference between Hard and Soft Water?

Hard water contains the minerals mentioned above along with chalk and lime. It is the reason that dishes and glasses come out of your dishwasher with spots and residue. When you wash your clothes, hard water causes them to look dingy, and it is the reason that film and soap scum is left behind in your bathtub. Instead of the refreshing feeling you get after you wash your hair, it feels sticky and may appear to be dull. Even your appliances are affected because the hard water causes them to work harder and use more energy.

Soft water has been treated to only contain sodium, and this is very beneficial in many ways. With soft water, soap lathers up much more efficiently, and dishes and clothes appear to be cleaner. There are no longer spots on glasses washed in the dishwasher, and hair feels and looks better. People who use soft water do not have to worry about soap scum on their shower curtains because it doesn’t exist, and their skin and clothes are softer. Another bonus is the fact that appliances do not have to work as hard, so the life of their appliances is extended by softening the water. You will also be glad to know that your energy bills will do down.


How to Test for Water Hardness Levels

If your water is supplied by the water company, contact the superintendent of water, and ask what the results were of their water tests. If you have a private well or you would like to have your own individual water tested, contact the health department so that you can schedule an appointment to have a water test done.

You may also be able to find a water testing laboratory in your neighborhood that can do a test for ward hardness for you. Contact the state health department for a list of water testing laboratories, or you can look up “laboratories” in your local phone book.

You can also purchase a water testing kit. With this option, you will take the sample yourself, and send it to the lab for testing.

What Are Normal Water Hardness Levels?

Water is said to be moderately hard when calcium is measured at 61 to 120 milligrams per liter. Hard water has been determined to have calcium levels between 121 and 180 milligrams per liter, and water is too hard when calcium is present at more than 180 milligrams per liter.


How to Fix Hard Water if You Have It

A very simple thing you can do is purchase a water filtering pitcher. These pitchers are very inexpensive at around $20, and they can filter out the minerals as well as chlorine. This option may not be enough because you can only use it to remove minerals from your drinking water.

Another option is the faucet water filter that you attach directly to your faucet. This type of filter will make it easier for you to use while cooking, but it presents the same problem as the water filtering pitcher.

If what you want is to soften the water in your entire home, you will need to purchase a water-softening system. These systems use sodium to remove calcium and chlorine from your water. This option is more expensive than the other two, but it will prevent minerals from building up within your pipes, and this will save money in the end.

If a water-softening system cannot fit into your budget, there is the option of buying a magnetic water conditioner. Rather than remove the calcium, the conditioner chemically alters it so that lime scale does not buildup.