Hard Truth About Hard Water


There is no doubt that you heard about hard water. However, do you know what it is or does to plumbing pipes? Here is some information to inform you more about hard water. For our service, check out our Water Softener Page.


What is Hard Water?

This is the first question that needs to be answered. To have an understanding of hard and soft water is very important. Water defined as “hard” means it is high in dissolved minerals.  These minerals are highly concentrated in calcium and magnesium. Everywhere you go the water hardness is going be different. Table 1 explains the concentration of minerals in different types of water in the degree of hardness. The degree of hardness becomes higher as the calcium and magnesium concentrations increases. The table is used by the Water Quality Association (WQA).

Degree of Hardnessppm (mg/L)Grains per Gallon (gpg)
Soft< 17.0< 1.0
Slightly Hard17.1 - 60

1.0 - 3.5
Moderately Hard60 - 1203.5 - 7.0
Hard120 - 1807.0 - 10.5
Very Hard> 180> 10.5

What Problems Can Hard Water Lead?

Hard water is not a health risk, but an inconvenience. These highly concentrated minerals tend to build up in water pipes and heating systems. It also has poor performance when using detergent and soaps. You might have hard water when you encounter the following problems.

  • The cost of your heating system has increased by 40%. 
  • Water residue is present when water evaporates out.
  • Stiff, dingy laundry
  • unmanageable hair
  • Scale build up in tubs, faucets, and sinks
  • Dry, itchy skin and scalp
  • Mineral deposits are present in dishes and glassware after drying.

How Can I Find Out If I Have Hard Water?

There are multiple ways to find out if you have hard water. They are three easy ways to test for hard water. The following examples will help you find out how hard is your water.

1. Testing for Hardness Quick and Easy

This test will only take a few minutes, but it will determine how much hard water you have present.

  • Choose a clear bottle that you can  easily differentiate between clean and dirty
  • Fill the bottle with tap water (12oz)
  • Add ten drops of castile soap to the bottle.
  • Shake vigorously until the soap has mixed into the water
  • Check for bubbles and cloudiness in the mixture. When hard water is present, they will be a lack of bubbles. The mixture will appear cloudy or milky. Soft water will appear clear in the mixture with fluffy bubbles.

2. White Scale

Minerals in hard water can leave a white scale on commonly used surfaces including sinks, showers, faucets, clothes, dishes.

  • Check for white scale on tubs, showers, and sinks. If the white scale is found, this is a sign that you need a water softener.
  • Examine your laundry, soap scum that forms in hard water can stay in your laundry making rough and stiff.
  •  Look for spots in your glassware.  An obvious sign of hard water is present if you have white spots on your glassware after washing.

3. Check Hardness Levels

In table 1, located above, you will find commonly used measurements to determine if you have hard water present. Purchase Water Hardness Test Kit that measures grains per gallon. Depending on the brand of water hardness test kit strips, each strip will read a different concentration of ppm or gpg.

  • Grains Per Gallon (gpg): 3.5 – 7.0 means moderately hard water. Anything higher will cause problems.
  • ppm (mg/L) 60 – 120 means water is moderately hard. Anything higher will cause problems.

What is a Water Softener?

A water softer is a device that softens the hardness of your water. It works by ion exchange; sodium will replace the calcium and magnesium in the water, therefore removing it. When these elements are not present, water has become less hardy.


How Do I Choose The Right Water Softener For Me?

There are many types of water softeners on the market. It is a headache to know which one is best for you. You have to consider the size of the household, salt base, size of the tank, and if it has a warranty. We have created a top 5 best water softners up to date.

Water Softeners Top 6

Water SoftnerSize of House HoldSalt BaseWarranty
NSC22Suitable For Small To Medium Homes22,000 grains1) 5 years (Valve +Controls)
2) 10 Years (Tanks)
Water Softener


Suitable For Standard Homes45,000 grains1) 5 years (Valve +Controls)
2) 10 Years (Tanks)

Suitable For Standard Homes60,000 grains1) Lifetime Warranty                                                                               

Suitable For Small Homes30,000 grainsNone
Water SoftenerNST30EDSuitable For Small To Medium Homes30,000 grains1) 5 years (Valve +Controls)
2) 10 Years (Tanks)

Suitable For Apartments and RVs10,000 grains1) 10 year warranty

Fast Plumbing Services

Need a plumber for your water softener? Call us today! Here at Fast Plumbing, we strive for your satisfaction. 

With more than 30 years of experience, we provide excellent plumbing services,  in Austin TX and the surrounding areas. When you are in the market for licensed plumbers, you can rely on Fast Plumbing Services. Whether you’re in need of a plumber for repair’s or drain cleaning,  we’ve got you covered. We’ve earned a reputation for providing timely service. You won’t find any better service than Fast Plumbing.