What Is Hard Water?

Many homeowners may have to face a problem: How to deal with hard water? Hard water is really a very common concern for many families. Well, what is hard water and how can it affect our plumbing? If we have a good understanding about these 2 questions, we can know what we can do to deal with it effectively.

What Is Hard Water?

Hard water means water contains a high mineral content. When surface water penetrates into aquifers and becomes ground water. Water absorbs calcium, manganese, as well as other minerals, and then it changes into hard water. How much mineral content dissolved in water determines how hard it is. The tap water we use is not harmful, but there are some problems we have to face.

The hardness level of water is measured in GPG (grains of mineral per gallon). If the GPG is over 3.5, the water is considered as the hard water. And then we need to do something to lower the GPG.

The Problems:

  • If water is hard, there are many problems that will happen:
  • Hard water creates buildup, causing many problems. The buildup of these hardness minerals on clothing, dishes, fixtures or even hair and skin are harmful to themselves over time.
  • Hard water is prone to reacts with cleaning products, making them ineffective. And you may need to use more cleaning products
  • Fixtures and appliances are easily and quickly wore down by hard water and soft water doesn’t have similar problems.

What Does It Do To Plumbing?

Hard water can create buildup. Well, the buildup on faucets, showers, sinks and tubs are only the tip of the iceberg. These hardness minerals begin to build up inside your water pipes, fixtures and other appliances that need water to run. The inside buildup is not easy to notice and can cause many plumbing problems, like clogs, reduced water flow, as well as increased stress on fixtures and pips. The buildup also makes appliances work less efficiently. Appliances are easy to be worn down in such a hard water environment. Take water heaters for example. If there is a buildup inside the heaters, the buildup is also heated like the water. This can cause uneven heated problems and waste more energy. The uneven heating may cause serious accidents.

In a word, hard water will increase your repair cost.

Testing For Hard Water

In our daily life, we may notice the white scale buildup on our dishes, sinks, as well as other fixtures. It is a good indicator that reminds you of a hard water problem. However, it may be late, because hard water has resulted in some bad results. Therefore, even if you don’t notice these symptoms or you just suspect your water is so hard, it is highly recommended to test for hard water. There is an easy way to test. Firstly, add a small amount of water and dish soap in a closed container. Secondly, shake the container. In the end, check how foamy dish soap gets. These soap bubbles can show you how hard your water is, because minerals in our water will react with the soap.

If you want to know the exact GPG of your water, more testing and research is needed. An easy way is to ask your water provider for a water report that may show some results tested by the provider. If there is not any result from your provider, you need to have a lab or company test water for you. Of course, this may cost you some money. You can send them a sample or request an on-site test. Another easy way is to test it yourself. Firstly, you need to buy some water hardness test strips. And then, you hold one under running water from your faucet. And then, the color of the test strip will change. Match it to a color gauge and you can get how hard your water is.

If you know how hard your water is, you can find the most suitable way to deal with it.

The Solutions

If your water is mild hard, you can choose some water conditioning products which are available on the market, like xxxx. However, the best solution for softening hard water is to install a whole house water softener. If the GPG is over 3.0, a whole house water softener is the best choice. If your water is very hard and have installed an under sink water filter(a ro system), such a whole house water can also protect the semi-membrane of your RO system.