How to Test for Water Hardness

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How to Test for Water Hardness

How to Test for Water Hardness

Chances are, if you live in Kingman, Bullhead City, Golden Valley Lake Havasu or anywhere else in Mohave County, you have hard water. That’s just a natural occurrence, because many of us we get our water from the Colorado River or deep aquifers. Hard water is generally defined by the amount of dissolved calcium, magnesium and other metals that are in the water.

Measured in grains per gallon, or gpg, the more grains that are in your water, the harder it is. This chart from the Water Quality Association explains the various levels of water hardness.

Degree of Hardness Grains per Gallon (gpg) Ppm or (mg/L)
 Soft <1.0 <17.0
Slightly Hard 1.0-3.5 17.1-60
Moderately Hard 3.5-7.0 60-120
Hard 7.0-10.5 120-180
Very Hard >10.5 >180

DIY Test for Water Hardness

Do you like science experiments? Want to do your own test for water hardness? Here’s now:

Do a visual test. You probably have hard water if:

  • You have spots on your dishes
  • You have a white ring on your pots after boiling water
  • You have to use a lot of soap to get a lather
  • Soap scum builds up quickly in the tub and shower
  • There is a visible white buildup on faucets and shower head

A quick and basic at-home test for water hardness involves a clear and clean empty bottle, Pure-Castile liquid soap, and water straight from the tap. The soap needs to be pure-castile, so it is free of dyes, perfumes and lathering agents.

  1. Fill the bottle one-third full with tap water.
  2. Add a few drops of the Pure-Castile liquid soap.
  3. Put on the cap and tighten.
  4. Shake the bottle pretty hard for a few seconds.

If there is an obvious lack of big bubbles and the water at the bottom of the bottle looks cloudy, you have hard water.  Soft water would have a huge number of bubbles and any water at the bottom of the bottle would be clear.

At-Home Test Kits

While the bubble test might have been fun, all it did was tell you that you have hard water. It didn’t say how hard the water is. For that, you need a chemical analysis. You can buy a hard water test kit at hardware stores and home improvement stores, or on Amazon. Once you have the test kit:

  1. Fill a glass with water from the bathroom sink.(You may have a filter on your kitchen sink.)
  2. Put the test strip in the water for several seconds.
  3. Remove the test strip.

Don’t just put the test strip under running water, because that will skew the results. You’ll notice the strip will begin to change colors. Match the color of the strip with the color chart that came with your kit, and you will see just how hard your water is.

Professional Testing for Water Hardness

Among many other things EPCOR tests for in its water quality reports, it tests for water hardness. You can review the water quality report for your area at the link. You can also check with your municipal water company for your water quality report. You may not know this, but drinking water suppliers are required to provide a water quality report each year. Both the state of Arizona and the federal government require testing and the public release of the report under the Safe Drinking Water Act.

Most water suppliers will mail you the annual water quality report, but if you don’t receive it, check online or call them to get a copy of the report. The water quality testing also tests for harmful chemicals and other substance in your drinking water.

How a Water Softener System Can Help

Nearly 85% of homes in America have hard water. If you’re on the lower end of the hardness scale, it’s probably not a big deal for you. But the harder your water is, the more problems it can cause with staining, decreasing the life of your appliances, soap scum buildup, plumbing issues, and more.

A water softener system does just that. It softens the water. It does that A water softener system uses salt to create an electrical reaction in your water that pulls the hard minerals out of the water before it goes into your home plumbing. With soft water, you’ll find you feel cleaner after a bath or shower, since there is no soap residue. You will also not have to worry about spots and rings on your dishes, or so much soap scum buildup. Soft water will also prolong the life of your appliances.

Call Plumbing By Jake for Hard Water Solutions

Call Plumbing By Jake at 928-377-5910 for want to explore hard water solutions and other water treatment systems. You can also fill out our contact form and we’ll get back to you quickly. We serve both residential and commercial clients in Kingman, Bullhead City, Golden Valley, Lake Havasu,  and surrounding areas.