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What Is Hard Water?

Water Drops, Hard WaterIf you’re a homeowner, then you’ve heard the term “hard water.” You might be familiar with the potential problems it may cause or signs to watch for to indicate hard water. However, do you really understand what hard water is and how it can affect your home plumbing?

As water moves through soil and rock, it dissolves small amounts of minerals, then holds them in a solution. The two most common minerals that are dissolved in the water are calcium and magnesium. When there is an excessive concentration of both, the water is considered to be hard. Essentially, the higher the levels, the harder the water.

To help determine accurate levels, water analysts have developed a table to measure and compare water hardness. In this table, levels of calcium and magnesium are measured in “grains per gallon” (gpg). Again, the higher the gpg, the harder the water.

Here are a few measurements to help you better understand this often ambiguous definition:

  • Soft Water – Typically contains less than 1 grain per gallon of water analyzed.
  • Slightly Hard Water – Typically contains roughly 1 to 3.5 grains per gallon.
  • Moderately Hard Water – Typically contains around 3.5 to 7 grains per gallon.
  • Hard Water – Typically contains around 7 to 10.5 grains per gallon.
  • Very Hard Water – Typically contains around 10.5 and up grains per gallon.

Problems Associated with Hard Water

  • Laundry – Clothes washed in hard water often look dingy and feel uncomfortable.
  • Dishwashers – Hard water may cause spotting and film on your silverware and dishes.
  • Cleaning – Bathing in soap in hard water leaves a film of soap on the skin. Also, hard water may make your hair feel dull, lifeless, and difficult to manage.

If you’re unsure whether or not your water is too hard for comfort, contact the plumbing professionals at Metro-Rooter.

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