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Understanding Hard Water

If the water in your home feels a bit slimy, or your glasses aren’t coming clean when being washed in a dishwasher, chances are good you have hard water in your house. Hard water isn’t a large issue, but it can cause some unpleasant problems over time. If you learn how to test water hardness at home you can identify a potential problem and resolve the issue so you can improve your water quality and taste effectively. 


What is Hard Water?

Hard water is water that has dissolved magnesium as well as calcium in it. When either of these two compounds is present in your water supply, you’ll notice some less than optimal side-effects. The water will leave your hands feeling slimy, and you’ll notice buildup or scaling in some of your fixtures. Maybe your sink’s aerator will become clogged. Perhaps your toilet tank will have some buildup. Your home’s pipes are also likely building up and clogging slowly over time. If you notice any of these issues, you should test your water for hardness and talk with water experts about how to handle your water once you test it. 


Why Does Hard Water Have a Weird Taste?

Hard water has a high concentration of minerals and can have some trace metals as well. Many people believe this type of water tastes chalky or like chemicals. If you have hard water that tastes unpleasant to you, you should consider investing in a reverse osmosis system to help clear away the minerals and leave you with clean-tasting water. 


Testing Your Water for Hardness

If you believe you have hard water, but you don’t know for sure, there are a few different ways you can test the quality of your water. The first and most obvious option is to send your water to a lab for analysis. This will give you the most accurate idea of what’s going on in your water. You can also run some tests yourself at home. Invest in a water testing kit, and you can quickly check for hardness and other potential issues with your water. If you take the time to learn to test hardness on your own, you can quickly determine how hard your water supply is and what you can do about the issue. Tests are very affordable, and you can also get a low-cost TDS meter to help you verify your water quality after adding filters and other measures to treat your supply. 


What You Can Do About Hard Water

There are a few different options available to you for treating hard water. The most straightforward option is to have a water softener system installed on your home’s water supply. Doing this will run your water through a tank that adds special salts or runs your water through magnets in order to remove or neutralize the little particles in the water. You can have your own system installed or rely on a company that handles adding the salts and maintaining your water softener for you. 


You can also utilize small fixes such as adding washing soda to your laundry and cleaning away hard water stains using vinegar. You can also clear off soap scum with a hard water cleaner. 


Once you know you have hard water, there are many things you can do to fix the issue. Taking simple steps to soften your water will allow you to enjoy higher quality water and water that won’t clog your pipes or your plumbing fixtures. Test your water and formulate a plan to fix the issue once you know the state of your water.