Water Hardness         

According to the US Geologic Survey, 85% of US homes have hard water. Excessive levels of calcium and/or magnesium cause hard water. Earlier generations coined the phrase “hard water’ because it made cleaning difficult. 

The US Department of the Interior classifies hardness based on the concentration of grains per gallon (gpg) of calcium and/or magnesium.  To put it in perspective, a typical aspirin equals about five grains of material. If the aspirin were dissolved in a gallon of water, it would add 5 gpg of “aspirin” to the water. 

Water classifications range from soft (less than 1.0 gpg of calcium and/or magnesium) to very hard (greater than 10.5 gpg). 

While hard water is not unhealthy, it does cause other problems: 

Laundering: Soap curd (a sticky film formed when soap is used in hard water) affects fabric life and fading. 

Hard Water Scale: Minerals cause a hard surface scale to form. This scale will clog pipes and can decrease the life of toilet flushing units by 70% and water faucets by 40%. 

Water Heater Efficiency: Hardness scale tends to build up on heating elements and can reduce a gas water heater’s efficiency by as much as 29% and an electric water heater’s efficiency by as much as 21%. 

Cleaning Tasks: Soap curd makes cleaning and washing less effective and efficient.

Bathing: Soap curd film on the body can leave skin dry and hair limo and dull. 


The Water Softening Process 

The negative effects of hard water can be reversed through the use of softened water. A water softener works on the principle of “cation exchange” in which ions of the hardness minerals are exchanged for sodium or potassium ions, effectively reducing the concentration of hardness minerals to insignificant levels. 

There are three types of water softener:

Automatic – uses a timer to start the regeneration process

Demand initiated – regenerates only when soft water runs out.

Portable Exchange – the entire regeneration tank is replaced when the softening agent is exhausted.


Information provided as a complimentary FYI