July 07, 2019

What is Hard Water and How do you Test for it?

By: Express Water

What is Hard Water and How do you Test for it?

Hard water seems like a contradiction, but it’s a common water quality issue in the United States. In fact, most public tap water is "hard" to some degree. Understanding hard water and what it can do to your plumbing and appliances is an important lesson for any homeowner, as well as the benefits of reverse osmosis systems.

What Is Hard Water?

Water is a universal solvent, meaning its ability to erode sediment and dissolve solid materials is unmatched. This ability can create stunning natural wonders like the Grand Canyon, but it also leads to a buildup of minerals like calcium and magnesium in public tap water that has come in contact with limestone and other minerals.

The degree to which your water is “hard” depends on the concentration of minerals in your tap water. In small amounts, magnesium and calcium are beneficial to your diet, but when the mineral concentration is too high, hard water will leave scale deposits behind.

Effects of Hard Water

The scale deposits created by hard water can cause many serious long-term problems, including: 

  • Spotty dishes - One of the telltale signs of hard water is the presence of water spots on your dishes after you’ve cleaned them. This minor mineral buildup is an indication that your water hardness could be too high.
  • Damaged pipes - Over time the pipes in your home can become crusted and blocked due to calcification. Early signs of hard water pipe damage include slow drainage and decreased water pressure.
  • Broken appliances - Hard water can cause water-based appliances like dishwashers and hard water heaters to completely malfunction. Your water heater will lose 8% efficiency and cost 8% more to heat your water for every 5 grains per gallon of hardness that accumulates.
  • Ineffective cleaning - Hard water makes soap less effective, meaning your dishes could still be dirty and you won’t be as refreshed and clean after a shower. Plus, hard water creates scale and film buildup in your shower so you have to clean it more often.

How to Test for Hard Water

There are multiple ways to test the hardness of the tap water in your home. Affordable water hardness test strips on Amazon will determine the hardness of your water ranging from 0 to 425 mg/L.

However, you can conduct a simple test at home to determine if your water is hard without spending a dime. First, grab a clean water (and clear) sealable water bottle and some basic soap. Specifically, use a soap that does not contain added dyes or detergents.

Fill the bottle one-third of the way with cool water from your tap. Add a few drops of your soap that does not have added detergents. Shake the bottle for five seconds and then give it a look.

If you do not have hard water issues the water inside the bottle should be clear, and there should be plenty of bubbles. If you have hard water, the water in the bottle will be cloudy and few bubbles will have been produced.

When in doubt order a water hardness test strip for more accurate results.

Take Care of Hard Water Today

If you have hard water there are many filtration systems that can alleviate scale buildup problems. Our Anti Scale 3-Stage Whole House System prevents the formation of scale and corrosion while treating the water from entering your home for a variety of contaminants. With easy installation and hassle-free maintenance, our systems represent the best solution for common hard water issues. 

Chat with a member of our customer service team or call us directly at 1-800-992-8876 to determine what system is best for your needs. We are available to talk Monday through Friday from 10 am to 5 p.m. PST.  

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