How is Hard Water Measured?

Hard water is considered any water that contains high amounts of minerals, such as calcium and magnesium. Dissolved into water through the water cycle, these minerals can be found in well and city water. Although hard water is not harmful to ingest, many people prefer to rid their water of these minerals using a water softener system because of the damage they can cause to pipes, appliances, hair, skin and clothes. The extent of these effects however, depend on the hardness of your water.

The greater the amount of minerals in your water, the higher degree of hardness your water is considered to have. The Water Quality Association categorizes hardness within a range that goes to soft to very hard. Most often, hardness of water is measured in either parts per million (PPM) or grains per gallon (GPG). PPM equals x units of hard mineral water in one million units. In order to convert PPM to GPG, simply divide your units per million by 17.1.

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If you live in the city and your water is supplied from a municipal water system, your water company should be able to tell you the hardness of your water. If you water comes from a well, you’ll have to test it yourself. In either case, there are many at home ways to test the hardness of your water. An easy way to test hardness without purchasing a kit involves mixing together your home’s water with a few drops of scentless soap in a water bottle. After shaking, if your water is on the softer side, you’ll see lots of bubbles being made at the top and clear water beneath. Water that contains more minerals will produce less bubbles and will leave the rest of the water a milky color.

If you’re looking for a way to determine the statistical hardness of your water, an at-home test kit with test strips and a color chart is your best option. Match your test strip to the color chart to determine the hardness of your water more accurately. Since the average hardness of water in the United States is around 13 GPG, anything above 15 GPG is considered to be very hard water. Once you’ve determined the hardness of your water, it will make finding the perfect water softener much easier.

Don’t let limescale build up ruin your water pipes or leave embarrassing stains in your sink or bathtub. If you think the hard water is damaging your home’s appliances, dish ware and clothes, you might want to consider investing in a water softener system. At Kinetico San Antonio, we are here for all of your water softener needs – including a free water test. Contact us today with any questions you may have or to begin your water softener system installation process.

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