Hard water doesn’t necessarily cause physical harm to the human body, but it does consist of minerals typically magnesium and calcium ions, that makes soap and other types of detergents less effective when taking a bath, washing clothes, or doing the dishes. That’s because hard water leads to excessive buildup of scale in hot water heating systems, boilers, water pipes, as well as other types of equipment that use water. As such, homeowners end up using more amounts of shampoo and soap to make suds.
To make matters worse, over 85% of the water supply in America is rich in magnesium and calcium. Fortunately, though, there are several ways to conduct a hard water test so that you can prepare in advance for such a dilemma and you’ll find the best ones in this article.
Although the most accurate testing can be done from an independent laboratory based on the sample you provide them, it is a rather expensive and time-consuming option. The good news is that there are several ways to perform a proper test of your water supply from your own household and get quick results without spending pretty much anything.
Here are some DIY hard water tests that you can perform at home:
How to Test Hard Water at Home
First, take a plastic or crystal clear glass bottle with a very tight cap, and then fill it with 1/3 water right from your house’s water faucet. The appropriate amount should be between 8 to 10 oz.
Next, add about 10 drops from your liquid dishwashing soap and shake it for approximately 10 seconds. After that, put the bottle down and look for the following results:
- If you see the solution foaming up quick, which in turn makes plenty of suds, with the water below the suds being relatively clearer, it means that your water is at least fairly soft.
- If your soapy solution doesn’t foam up that quickly, forming only a shallow sud layer, and the water beneath it is cloudy, it means your water is likely hard.
Hard Water Kit
If you’re looking for more accurate results, then you’re better off using a hard water test kit. These types of kits are usually sold in hardware and home improvement stores as well as several online retailers. But don’t just pick any hard water testing kit, look for those from renowned water testing manufacturers while also making sure that the kits test for water hardness. There are some kits that test for only certain contaminants such as radon, while others test for overall safety and quality.
One of the easiest tests that you can do is a wet strip test. This test is similar to those conducted for spa and swimming pool water. All you do is fill in some tap water into a container, carefully submerge the water strip into the water and then compare the color you get in your result to that of the testing kit’s strip chart. You’ll know what color your water supply’s hardness level is. To learn more about water hardness, visit American Home Water and Air.
Perform a Visual Check-up
Another simplistic water testing method that you can use to test the level of hardness in your water supply is performing a visual check-up of the things that your water comes in contact with. This means that you’ll need to inspect your bathtubs, sinks, plates, utensils, and more. One obvious sign of water hardness is the crusty scale build-up that is visibly seen on dishes and faucets. To get around this dilemma, you’ll need to install an efficient and reliable water softener system.
Look up the Latest Water Quality Report
If your house is on the municipal or city water supply, you can get the latest report on its quality by calling the water utility. You’ll also find the most utilities post those reports online.
The reports can be quite technical and don’t necessarily indicate the quality of the water that gets inside your house as the water is tested upon leaving the treatment center. Because of that, the water picks up a variety of minerals on its way when going through the pipes straight towards your house. These reports give homeowners an idea about the hardness level in their water supply.
Water hardness levels are usually reported in mg/L or milligrams per liter in the form of calcium carbonate. Therefore, you need to take note of the calcium carbonate value that’s given in the water testing report and then compare it with the following U.S. Geological Survey scale:
- Soft water: 0 to 60 mg per liter
- Modest hard water: 61 to 120 mg per liter
- Hard water: 121 to 180 mg per liter
- Extremely hard water: over 180 mg per liter
Identify and Resolve Water Hardness Issues
There are several general signs that you need to observe when determining whether you have hard water or not. And if you do, we have just the hard water solutions prepared for you. Here are some of the hard water signs that you need to be wary of:
You’ll notice hard water minerals will leave behind a white scale in your shower, bathtub, or kitchen sink. And if that’s where the issue lies, it could also be happening in your pipes. For this, you’ll need to have a branded water softener installed.
Check Your Laundry
If soap scum clings to the fabric of your clothes, making it rough and stiff, it means you have hard water. For this, we suggest:
- Using more detergent
- Increasing the temperature of your washing machine
- Add some non-precipitating water conditioner into the washing machine before using any detergent
Look for Etching and Spots on Glassware
Another obvious hard water indication are white spots on glasses after you’ve washed them. These spots can cause etching that can permanently damage the glass. To get rid of this, you’ll need to use an abrasive cleaner like baking powder.