The Best Ways to Lower the Water Hardness Level in Your Home
Water hardness is one of the most common challenges faced by homes, especially those in arid areas. Hard water is a major source of mineral buildup in fixtures and appliances, and it also makes it difficult to keep fixtures clean. There are several ways to lower the water hardness and make your home feel more comfortable. Reducing hardness in your home starts with understanding your specific situation and what causes the water to become so hard. From there, you can devise a plan to minimize the impact of water hardness level by zip code on your household.
What is Water Hardness Level?
Water hardness is the concentration of minerals in water at a given temperature. In the United States, water hardness levels are measured in grains of calcium carbonate per gallon of water at a given temperature. A typical water supply may contain 2 – 13 grains of calcium carbonate, while soft water has less than 3 grains per gallon, and very soft water has less than 1 grain per gallon.
While water hardness isn’t dangerous to drink, it can impact the performance of water-using appliances, like coffee makers and dishwashers, and it can leave mineral deposits on fixtures, such as bathroom and kitchen faucets, that need to be cleaned regularly. If you live in an area with high water hardness, you can take steps to make your water more friendly.
Types of Water Hardness
Soft Water – Has 2 – 3 grains per gallon of hardness. Good for drinking and many other water-using appliances, but not recommended for washing clothes or dishes. Mild Water – Has 3 – 5 grains per gallon of hardness. Recommended for drinking, but not recommended for washing clothes or dishes.
Moderate Water – Has 5 – 7 grains per gallon of hardness. Good for washing clothes and dishes, but not recommended for drinking. Hard Water – Has 7 – 13 grains per gallon of hardness.
Not recommended for drinking, but can be used for other water-using appliances, like coffee makers, dishwashers, and toilets. Very Hard Water – Has 13 – 51 grains per gallon of hardness. Not recommended for anything. Extremely Hard Water – Has 51 – 250 grains per gallon of hardness. Not recommended for anything.
How to Measure Your Home’s Water Hardness Level
While there are a number of ways to measure water hardness, most homeowners opt to purchase a water test kit. These kits typically include a tester bottle, a funnel, and a detailed instruction manual. The hardest part about testing your water hardness is figuring out where to put your test bottle.
The most accurate results come from testing your drinking water, but it’s also easiest to test your water hardness near the faucet. If you’re testing your water hardness near the faucet, carefully replace the stopper at the end of your water line.
While you’re at it, be sure to clean out any sediment or other impurities that may be preventing your water from flowing freely. Once your water is flowing freely, you can take it straight from the faucet into the test bottle.
Ways to Lower the Water Hardness Level in Your Home
Depending on your water hardness, a few changes to your water supply may be all it takes to bring down your hardness level. If your water contains more than 7 grains of hardness per gallon, you may want to consider having your water source tested.
However, this isn’t necessary if your water is already very hard. If your water is already very hard, simply adjusting the water’s temperature and flow may go a long way toward making it less so.
Water hardness can be a source of frustration in a home with water-using fixtures. Fortunately, it’s an easy problem to solve with a little planning and preparation. From understanding your specific situation and what causes the water to become so hard to make minor adjustments to your water supply, you can make your water less hard. You’ll be glad you did.