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A Simple, DIY Test to Determine Water Hardness
August 31, 2011
If you’re thinking about getting a water softener, it’s important to understand just how hard your water is to see if a water softener could benefit your home. But how do you find out how hard your water is? Here are the signs you may be faced with hard water and how to do a simple test from home if it’s hard to tell by sight alone.
Signs You Have Hard Water
Most of Utah has hard to very hard water, so it’s important to be able to recognize the signs that you have hard water in your home. Unless you’re an expert, it might be difficult to determine that it’s time to test water hardness, but there are some basic symptoms of hardened water that anyone can usually identify.
First and foremost, think about how your shower feels. Are you feeling like you need more soap to get clean? Maybe your skin is feeling less soft than it used to after you shower. Alternatively, maybe you’re noticing things that you’re washing seem scummy or have water residue after. Whether it’s on your dishes and cups after the dishwasher runs, or your clothes aren’t coming out as fresh and clean as usual, you might be facing a hard water situation.
You can also tell if you have a hard water problem if you have a white, hard water build-up on your shower doors and sinks. This is because magnesium and chalky calcium are leaching into your water from pipes and sticking to bathroom and kitchen surfaces.
If you’re experiencing one or more of these hard water symptoms, you might do well to perform a hard water check. Professional technicians will be able to do a thorough test of water hardness, however there is an easy DIY test you can perform to determine if your home has hard water.
How to Test for Water Hardness
You can also get an idea of how hard the water is in your area with our free hard water tool. All it takes is your ZIP code.
Why Does This DIY Test Work?
The calcium and magnesium in hard water react with soaps, preventing them from lathering properly. So, if your soap suds have a tendency to disappear fast, your water is very hard. The minerals in soft water do not react with soap, helping the shampoo form a nice lather without needing to break the bank on large quantities of soap and shampoo.
I Have Hard Water! What Should I Do?
The best way to get softened water is to get a water softener. A water softener works by removing the hard minerals from your water and replacing them with softer ones, such as sodium or potassium.
These softer minerals don’t react with your soap, so your soap suds properly. They also don’t create a mineral buildup in your pipes, which helps your plumbing system and large appliances last longer. You can read more about the effects of hard water on your appliances in this study.