Most people are concerned about Hard Water, or the hardness of their water supply. Hard water is referred to water that is high in mineral contents.
Water is an excellent solvent and picks up impurities it comes in contact with while moving through pipes, soil and rock, it dissolves very small amounts of minerals and holds them in solution. Calcium and magnesium dissolved in the water are the two most common minerals that makes water “Hard Water”.
Hard Water represents serious problems in water handling equipment in industrial applications; water hardness is usually treated to avoid damaging Boilers, Chillers, Cooling Towers and other water handling equipment.
In regular homes, hard water reduce the bubble foam when soap detergents are agitated in the water, and by the formation of lime scale in cookware, and water heaters. Hard water requires more soap and detergents for washing.
The table below will details the level of hardness:
Water Hardness Scale
Grains per Gallon
mg/L or PPM *
|Soft Water||Less than 1.0||Less than 17.1|
|Slightly Hard Water||1.0 - 3.5||17.1 - 60|
|Moderately Hard Water||3.5 - 7.0||60 - 120|
|Hard Water||7.0 - 10.5||120 - 180|
|Very Hard Water||Over 10.5||Over 180|
mg/L : Milligram per Liter - PPM : Parts per Million
Ion Exchange Water Softeners and Reverse Osmosis Equipment are commonly used to reduce hard water's effects.
Soft water on the other hand compared to hard water has numerous benefits. Clean shiny glassware and silverware as an example. Since shampoos, soaps and detergents do not lather well in hard water, natural soft water or hard water made softened through an Ion Exchange Water Softener restores the rich lathering cleaning ability and cuts down on the usage and costs of soaps and detergents by 75%. Also, one can return to natural chemical free healthy soaps and laundering agents. The harsh chemicals in today's soaps and detergents were invented to combat hard water and still have some lather. With soft water you will not need these chemical based cleaners. Hair and skin will feel softer, cleaner and smoother. Detergents easily rinse out of soft water. Tests have been done taking laundry that had gone through a rinse cycle in hard water, taken these "rinsed" clothing out and putting them in clean soap-less water, agitating them and watching soap still come out of the clothing.
Soft water allows detergents to completely rinse out. Fabrics are also softer without hard minerals become trapped in them. Fabrics last longer and whites stay white without the dingy gray caused by hard water.
Soft water also does not leave chalk or orange rings around bathtubs and sinks. This saves time in house cleaning and embarrassment of having cleaned yet finding it difficult to remove all the hard water deposits.
Soft water also preserves the life of all house plumbing and all water using appliances such as water heaters, ice makers, dishwashers and coffee makers. Hard water wears appliances out quickly and requires more energy use as appliances do not work as well when they are corroded or clogged with mineral deposits.
The benefits of Water Softeners are more than one would realize initially and usually involve a cost savings that more than pays for the softener in about 4-5 years and most softeners are expected to last at least 10-20 years, with many lasting much longer.
Savings on fuels costs and on properly working water heaters is another benefit too. Let's look at average replacement of some of the basic appliance due to hard water corrosions; $460-water heater, $200 faucet set, $400-$800 washer/dryer set, and the entire plumbing system $3000-$5000.