Water Hardness and How is it Measured?

“hard water” by _gee_ is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

What is Water Hardness?

Water Hardness is referred to as a sum of divalent metallic ions present in the water. The major contributors to the hardness of water are magnesium and calcium. Additionally, iron, strontium, zinc, manganese, and other ions also play a part in the hardening of the water.

However, the concentrations of these ions matter the most. Calcium and magnesium are the main contributors as they are in higher concentrations and affect the water quality.

Hard Water vs. Soft Water: Which One Is Healthier?

You may have come across the terms “hard water” and “soft water.” You might ask what defines the hardness or softness of water and if one type of water is better or safer to consume than the other.

Though water is normally crystal clear, it has minerals and chemicals. The amount of particular minerals is what forms the “hardness” of water.

Difference between Hard water and Soft water?

The hardness of water is found mainly by the concentration of calcium and magnesium it has. Larger amounts of these and other minerals make water hard. These minerals come from sedimentary rocks.

There are a few different sedimentary rocks like limestone. Now and then, this rock dissolves in our river system and brings about a surge in water hardness. One effect of hard water consists of trouble making lather or foams for washing. Another drawback is a big pile-up of minerals in water taps, pipes, and other water fittings that are also known as white-scale deposits.

The water softener system functions by decreasing the amount of minerals in the water. As a substitute for having higher levels of calcium and magnesium, soft water is likely to have higher levels of sodium, or salt.

How can you tell if water is Hard or Soft?

You can not normally determine just by looking at water if it’s hard or soft. Occasionally, the feel of water and what it does to objects in your dishwasher or washing machine can be a clue.

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Signs of hard water comprise of:

  • Sensing a film on your hands after washing them. This happens when the soap reacts with calcium to make soap foam or suds. You might need to wash your hands longer if the water is hard. 
  • Spots. These can emerge on silverware and glasses coming out of the dishwasher. These are typically bits and pieces of calcium carbonate.
  • Mineral stains. These appear on garments when they come out of the washing machine. Clothes will get worn out quickly because of the severity of hard water.
  • Weak water pressure in your home. Mineral deposits may pile up in the piping, reducing the inner width of the pipes and thus decreasing water flow.

Signs of soft water consist of:

  • A large foam buildup when washing clothes, dishes, and your body too.
  • Cleaner garments, with zero mineral stains and less wear-and-tear loss.
  • Strong water pressure in your home.
  • A somewhat sodium flavor in drinking water, however in many circumstances a difference in taste is unnoticeable.

Are there any Health Hazards linked with Hard water?

There are no severely hazardous health problems connected with drinking hard water.

However, continued use of hard water and the level of total hardness can cause dry skin and hair.

Your scalp may itch if you use hard water to wash your hair frequently.

The minerals in hard water can further alter the pH balance of your skin, abating it as a block against dangerous bacteria and impurities. People with eczema can be particularly exposed.

If you find yourself with issues of dry skin and hair, you might want to consider a water-softening system for your home. If that isn’t a possibility, speak with a dermatologist. The skin specialist can recommend lotions and hair products you can use to curb the consequences of using hard water.

What are the Advantages of Hard water?

Hard water has high amounts of magnesium and calcium. So, ingesting hard water might help you get your recommended everyday share of these vital minerals.

There is some conjecture that drinking hard water can have cardiovascular advantages. But, then there’s no conclusive data to back up that statement.

Are there any Health Hazards linked with Soft water?

It may be that your usual diet contains rich sources of calcium and magnesium. Then there are probably no risks in drinking water with lesser amounts of these minerals.

But there might be insufficient nutrients and minerals in your diet. In that case, having a multivitamin or calcium or magnesium supplement can help you to meet your day-to-day requirements.

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However, people with high blood pressure are at a greater risk. They might be vulnerable to the blood pressure-raising outcomes of drinking water with larger sodium levels.

We do know that salt in the diet is a complete no-no for people with high blood pressure. So the advice for them is not to soften up their home drinking water.

Soft water is furthermore more likely to carry lead from the interior of older water pipes that haven’t been checked to stop the leaking of lead.

What are the Advantages of Soft water?

Soft water make plenty of suds with soap

People favor soft water for cleaning because it doesn’t have a tendency to leave mineral stains or soap scum. Soft water makes more foam with soap.

Soft water is a more effective and efficient cleaning agent, so you could save money on your water bill by not needing to re-wash dishes or clothes. Furthermore, you don’t have to take lengthy showers to feel quite washed and cleaned.

What is Water Softening?

A home water-softening system functions by running hard water through a resin. This is a gluey, insoluble material from specific trees and plants – that’s layered with positively charged sodium ions.

These are particles with a net electric charge. Amounts of sodium basically substitute the calcium and magnesium in the water.

Water softening systems need constant upkeep. Additionally, you have to add sodium tablets to keep the resin electrically charged continuously.

Some units may use potassium pellets as an alternative to sodium. Other systems need magnets, citric acid, or other ways of decreasing the amounts of calcium and magnesium in the water.

Is Water Softening Safe?

Fungus and bacteria can grow on the resin of a water-softening unit. Thus, there is a constant need to maintain and keep the system in top working order. This is imperative to maintain your water safety.

The bigger safety apprehension is the added sodium in home drinking water. If you or somebody in your home is doing a low-sodium diet, you should chat with the producer of the softening system. You should know how much sodium is being added to the water.

You can moreover attempt to get a system that uses potassium as a substitute for sodium to soften your drinking water. If you continue to have health concerns, speak with a cardiologist. You should ask about the possibility of a water softening disturbing your blood pressure.

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If your home has a longstanding, untouched piping system, it’s a worthy effort to have your water verified for levels of lead and other impurities. A lot of public water utilities will examine home water samples for little to no charge.

How to Measure Water Hardness ?

Water hardness is measured in milligrams of calcium (Ca) per liter, “grains” per gallon, or parts per million, and German Degrees of Hardness (dGH) or °dH, deutsche Härte”[which we mentioned since this is relevant for fish tanks].

1. You can submit a water sample to a water test laboratory to get its hardness measured.

2. Use this easy soap test to calculate the grains of hardness of your water supply You will need:

  • a regular glass bottle with a cap, or a water hardness test kit bottle that is an ideal size with water level markings
  • liquid dish soap
  • any measuring apparatus like a measuring beaker marked in ml, ounces, or cc’s

Water hardness can be straightforwardly measured with an easy soap test kit. It will measure in “grains of hardness” (a small bottle with a lined demarcation, the line up till which you fill the water, add a drop of soap, and shake to find suds. The more drops of liquid soap required to generate suds- the more hard your water is.

3. The very basic DIY water hardness test technique that some people try is simply adding dish soap to 12 oz of tap water. This is a very rough test. But you’d be at an advantage of finding inexpensive test kits that get you more accurate water hardness test results. Test strips can give you accurate and fast results.

The majority of people can drink hard or soft water with no harm or side effects.

Greater sodium concentration in soft water can be a worry for some people. But that can be handled with a potassium-based softening system.

If the level of sodium in soft water is a distress, you can start drinking bottled water. For other uses such as dishwashing, laundry, and bathing, you can make do with your home’s soft water.

If you’re concerned about softening your water, look around for water-softening systems. Next, discuss with a plumber about exactly how the system could impact your home’s plumbing. It’s similarly beneficial to learn of the upkeep requirements of a water-softening system before buying one.

To further improve the quality of your drinking water you can consider opting for water filters.

Any questions, comments suggestions are more than welcome .

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