Water hardness is the leading water quality problem in the U.S. as reported by consumers. This type of water forms when there are too many minerals in the water. Despite these problems, having hard water is not bad for your health, so feel free to drink it, cook with it and use in any other common water related uses. 85% of the United States contains hard water, so it would be known by now if hard water was a real health risk.
Despite hard water not having any affect on a person's health, it can still cause problems for consumers' homes. It can aggravate the deterioration of household plumbing and appliances, deposit a white "crust" of minerals on everything in which the water is used as well as lower the efficiency of water heaters. Due to this, one out of five Americans surveyed in the 1997 National Water Quality Survey said they were not satisfied with the quality of their household water supply.
Water becomes "hard" due to a number of reasons, but the main reason is that when water falls on the earth's surface, it gets absorbed into the ground. As it goes through the ground, it is absorbing minerals from the Earth's soil, and since 22% of the Earth's fresh water is groundwater, naturally we can have a lot of hard water. Among the top contributors to hard water are calcium and magnesium. Water hardness is measured with "grains per gallon" of water (gpg) or "milligrams per liter" (mg/l). These are the most commonly used units of measurement in water testing laboratories while conducting a chemical analysis of the water.
You can evaluate the hardness of your water supply by referring to the following chart. If you know the hardness of your water, you can check it according to the chart below:
|Grains Per Gallon (gpg)||Milligrams Per Liter (mg/l)
or Parts Per Million
|Less then 1.0||Less than 17.1||Soft|
|1.0 - 3.5||17.1 - 60||Slightly Hard|
|3.5 - 7.0||60 - 120||Moderately Hard|
|7.0 - 10.5||120 - 180||Hard|
|Over 10.5||Over 180||Very Hard|
The best way to find out if you have hard water is to get it tested professionally. The following signs may help you determine if you have hard water in your home: