What is hard water?
Water is considered "hard" when it has relatively high levels of calcium (above, left) and magnesium (above, right) and other metals. The more minerals that are present the harder the water is. It is referred to as "hard" water because it requires more soap for a good lather, making it harder to clean with than soft water. There are both benefits and drawbacks to having hard water, depending on what the water is being used for.
Why care about the hardness of your water?
|Benefits of hard water:||Problems that hard water may cause:|
How do I find out how hard my water is?
To test the hardness level of your water contact a certified testing lab near you. For more information click here.
How should I treat hard water?
Softening water is the most common treatment for hard water. This can be done by installing a water softener on washing machines or dishwashers. Some new dish washers may already come with a water softener. To treat an entire house for hard water a water softening system can be installed. These systems exchange calcium and magnesium ions with other ions that do not cause hard water (like sodium or potassium). In some cases people bypass the water softener system by having a separate drinking water tap. This way they are able to receive the health benefits of drinking hard water, without the negative effects of hard water on hot water heaters, washing machines, and plumbing. Another option to avoid drinking high levels of sodium from soft water would be to install a reverse osmosis filter at the drinking water tap. Reverse osmosis can filter out sodium and alleviate health concerns related to high sodium intake.