Common Water Issues: Hardness

Understanding Hardness in Water

Hardness in water is primarily caused by dissolved calcium and magnesium. These minerals are measured in grains per gallon (gpg) or parts per million (ppm). Iron can also contribute to water hardness. The presence of these elements can lead to various problems in your household.


Problems Caused by Hard Water:

1.      Scale Formation:

Hard water forms scale in pipes, water heaters, and dishwashers, leading to reduced efficiency and expensive repairs.

2.      Increased Soap Consumption:

More soap is required to form a lather with hard water, increasing your household's soap consumption and costs.

3.      Laundry Issues:

Hard water can make laundry feel stiff and scratchy, and it can also reduce the lifespan of fabrics.

4.      Skin and Hair Problems:

Bathing in hard water can leave your skin feeling dry and scratchy and make hair difficult to manage.

5.      Stains on Glasses and Dishes:

Hard water leaves unsightly scales and spots on glasses and dishes, making them look dirty even after washing.

6.      Cooking and Taste:

Hard water affects the taste and tenderness of many cooked foods, making them less enjoyable.


Solutions for Treating Hardness in Water:

To effectively remove hardness from water, the recommended treatment method is:


Water Conditioner (Water Softener):

A water conditioner or softener is used to remove the calcium, magnesium, and iron that cause hardness. The proper size and type of treatment device depend on several factors:

1.      Compensated Hardness:

The iron content in the water needs to be determined and factored into the total hardness level.

2.      Daily Water Usage:

The amount of water used per day, excluding outside faucets, helps in determining the capacity required for the water softener.

3.      Flow Rate:

The flow rate required by the household ensures that the water softener can handle peak water usage times.


While opinions vary, most experts agree that a water treatment device should be installed when the water has over 5 grains of hardness. Water with 5 grains or more is generally considered hard and prone to causing scaling and other issues.

It's important to note that the term "hardness" is not a technical term but a convenient way to describe the concentration of calcium and magnesium in water. Understanding and addressing hard water issues can significantly improve the quality of your household water.

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