Every industry has a unique lexicon that can be hard to penetrate without formal training, knowledge, and experience. Although a deeper understanding of these terms is not necessary, it can be useful to understand them on a basic level. This can help you to make informed decisions and to understand the technology better. Here are some brief descriptions of four common water softener terms:

1.  Hard Water

This is water that has a high concentration of dissolved minerals, such as calcium, magnesium, and iron. Water is a solvent, and these materials are added to the makeup of the water as it flows over and through mineral and soil deposits. Hard water minerals are not removed by public water treatment systems. For this reason, many people choose to install their own water softeners to make their water soft and easier to use.

2.  Grains per Gallon (gpg)

This is a unit of measurement that’s used to measure water hardness. The standard is a single grain of calcium carbonate (65 mg) and how long it would take to dissolve in one liter of water. As an example: A soluble aspirin may contain 10 grains, and if it was dissolved in a gallon of water, it would be represented as 10 gpg. To put this into perspective, hard water is greater than 7 gpg and soft water is less than 1 gpg.

3.  Parts per Million (ppm)

This is a lesser used unit of measurement for water hardness. If you’re in the market for a new water softener, you may see the softening capacity displayed in ppm alongside gpg.

If you only see ppm and you’re curious how it compares to a different softener in gpg, there is a simple conversion. Simply remember that 17.1 ppm is equivalent to 1 gpg and you’re good to go.

If you have iron in your tap water, it can leave a reddish stain on appliances and plumbing fixtures at only 0.3 ppm. This can be hard to clean, but it can be prevented with a water softener that can handle that capacity of iron.

4.  Softening Capacity

A water softener will be measured by grain capacity, gallons, or cubic feet, depending on the make and model. Before you make a decision to buy, it’s important to think about your soft water needs. A larger home with more occupants needs a higher softening capacity than a small apartment housing a couple of people. Although it may be tempting to get the largest water softener that you can afford, this is a false economy. Why? Well, a large water softener will consume more salt and energy and produce more wastewater during the regeneration cycle. So, if you don’t need a large softening capacity, this is simply a waste of money and resources. It’s also important to avoid choosing a water softener that’s too small because there won’t be sufficient soft water to meet your needs.

If you’re considering a water softener installation for your home, contact your local water treatment specialist.

By EcoWater Systems.
EcoWater Systems of Nebraska is the largest water treatment company in the state and is a member of Water Quality Association.