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What is Water Hardness and How Can I Treat It?

What is Water Hardness and How Can I Treat It?

Scientists define water hardness as the amount of dissolved calcium and magnesium minerals in the water. But in layman’s language, water hardness can easily be noticed when your hands feel slimy after washing them with soap and water, or when your glassware becomes cloudy. Continue reading to learn more about water hardness and how it can be treated.

What Is Water Hardness?

As indicated above, water hardness is measured by the amount of dissolved calcium and magnesium minerals present. The more dissolved minerals are present in water, the harder it is. You will also feel the effects of water hardness when you wash your hands with soap because it leaves you feeling like there is a thin film of residue stuck on your hands. This feeling occurs when soap reacts with dissolved calcium to form soap scum. Also, you will need more soap or detergent when washing your hands or doing laundry with hard water.

If you are used to cleaning your dishes, especially glassware, with hard water, they will soon turn cloudy. This appearance is normally caused by soap scum. Although this residue is not dangerous, it will make your utensils look old and unappealing. When you heat hard water in your water heater, it will form solid deposits of calcium carbonate, reducing the lifespan of your heater. These deposits can also clog your pipes, raising the cost of maintenance and repair.

Here are the general guidelines for classifying water hardness:

  • Soft Water – less than 1 GPG
  • Slightly hard – 1 to 3.5 GPG
  • Moderately hard – 3.5 to 7 GPG
  • Hard – 7 to 10.5 GPG
  • Very Hard – 10.5 and higher GPG

How to Treat Water Hardness

As shown above, any water that measures above 1 GPG should be treated before use. Here are several water treatment methods that you can use to treat your hard water.

Chemical Treatment

This method involves using various cleansing agents and substances to cover up some of the effects of hard water.

Mechanical Treatment

One of the most popular mechanical water treatment processes is the use of an ion-exchange water softener. This water treatment method involves the physical removal of minerals from the water. This process replaces the hardness minerals with another substance, such as sodium. The hard water flows over a bed of plastic resin beads with slight charges that hold sodium ions. These beads also can capture and contain water hardness minerals. As more hardness minerals get stuck on the beads, they displace sodium ions, hence the term “ion exchange.” For more information on water hardness, talk to 1-800 Plumber of CT.

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