Do you think you might have hard water? It can be tough to tell since most people don't have any apparent symptoms. However, there are a few DIY tests that you can do to find out for sure. This article will discuss several methods that you can use to test for water hardness and what to do if the results are positive.
What does ‘hard water’ mean?
Water hardness is a measure of the dissolved minerals in the water. The minerals that cause water hardness are Magnesium and Calcium. These minerals can cause scale build-up on pipes and appliances and reduce the effectiveness of soaps and detergents. There are two main types of water hardness: temporary and permanent.
Temporary VS Permanent Hardness
Temporary hardness in water is due to minerals, such as calcium bicarbonate. These minerals are not harmful and are removable with simple household chemicals, such as vinegar or lemon juice.
Permanent hardness in water is due to calcium sulfate. These minerals cannot be removed with a simple household chemical and require a water softener.
Determining Hard Water
There are two methods for determining water hardness. These are physical and chemical methods.
What are the Indicators of hard water?
Does your water have a bitter or salty taste? If you notice that your water has a bitter or salty taste, it could be due to the presence of calcium and magnesium.
Does your water look cloudy or have an odor?
If your water has an odor or looks cloudy, it could be due to dissolved minerals in the water or maybe something else going on with your plumbing system that needs to be solved.
Look at your dishes?
Do you see spots on your dishes or glasses after washing them? If so, this may indicate a build-up of minerals from the water used for cleaning.
If you notice that the feel of your skin is dry and itchy after showering or bathing, this could be due to hard water. Hard water can cause soap residue to build upon the surface of your body over time. This build-up makes it harder for moisturizers and lotions to absorb.
DIY Tests to Identify Hard Water
These tests are cheap and easy to do, so there's no need to call in an expert! Some of the tests include:
Pour some vinegar into a glass of water from your tap and stir it up. If the solution turns cloudy after stirring, then your water is temporarily hard.
Lemon Juice Test
Pour some lemon juice into a glass of water from your tap and stir it up. If the solution turns cloudy after stirring, then your water is temporarily hard.
Place an egg in a glass of water for 24 hours. If it sinks, then your water is permanently hard. If it floats, then your water is soft.
Paper Towel Test
Soak a paper towel in water from your tap for one minute. If the paper towel becomes hard and brittle, your water is permanently hard. If the paper towel remains soft, then your water is soft.
What to do if you have hard water?
If you have determined that you have hard water, there are a few steps that you can take to address the issue:
Install a Water Softener
This device removes the minerals from your water that cause hardness. Removal of such minerals reduces scale build-up on your plumbing fixtures and appliances and also improves the feel of your skin and hair.
Use Vinegar When Washing Dishes
A little bit goes a long way with this one! If you have hard water, using vinegar on your dirty dishes is an effective way to remove minerals from them without having any soapy residue left behind.
Use a Filter
If you don't want to install a water softener, using a filter on your faucet is another way to reduce the amount of hardness in your water. It is only helpful if you only have hard water in specific rooms of your home.
Take Baths Instead of Showers
Bathing allows you to soak in the water and allows for the minerals to be absorbed more slowly. It can help to reduce the itchy feeling that you may experience after showering in hard water.
Drink Filtered Water
If you are bothered about the hardness of your water, drinking filtered water is a great way to avoid any adverse effects. Filtered water removes all of the minerals that cause hardness so that you can enjoy a refreshing glass at home.