Hard water contains elevated amounts of dissolved mineral content, including calcium, magnesium, and iron. The level of concentration determines how hard the water is, and this is usually affected by the local conditions. So, you may have harder water than your neighbor or vice versa. Every home is different, and you can get hard water from a private well or a municipal water supplier. Let’s take a look at what makes your water too hard, if it’s safe to drink, and what you can do about the problem.
Understanding Water Hardness
When water falls as rain or snow melts, it goes into the ground, where it passes through various layers of sand, soil, and rock. These materials are composed of a number of minerals, and those characteristics are added to the water. This occurs because water is a solvent, and it can dissolve many materials that it passes through. The water then makes its way into waterways and aquifers on the remainder of its journey to your home.
If you receive your water from a well, you’re getting your water from an aquifer, and the water can be hard.
If you receive your water from municipal supplies, they don’t remove hardness during water treatment, and your water can be hard.
The U.S. Department of Interior and the independent Water Quality Association have established guidelines on water hardness as follows:
Soft Water: 60 mg/L or less
Moderately Hard: 61-120 mg/L
Hard: 121-180 mg/L
Very Hard: 180 mg/L or more
This is based on the level of calcium carbonate concentration present measured in mg/L.
Can I Consume Hard Water Safely?
There is no scientific evidence that shows that hard water is dangerous for your health. It is true that some people don’t like the taste of water that is too hard. But, other people like to drink hard water because it contains higher concentrations of minerals that are good for health. Calcium, magnesium, and iron are all required for a healthy body, and it may be possible to get your daily requirements in that way. But, those minerals are not easy to absorb in the body via drinking water, and you’re more likely to get them in your food. A recent study did find that there may be a slight correlation between childhood eczema and drinking hard water, but more research is needed on this possible connection.
How Can I Remove the Water Hardness?
The most reliable way to make your incoming water supply softer is to install a water softener system in your home. The most common softening process is the ion-exchange method. This process exchanges the ions of the minerals with a sodium or potassium ion. Sodium and potassium are both salts, and they are more benign and easier to use than the minerals that cause hard water. Most people opt for a water softening sodium salt because it’s cheaper. But, if you’re sensitive to sodium or your physician has recommended a low sodium diet, you can use a potassium based water softening salt instead.
If you want to install a water softening system in your home, contact your local water treatment specialist today.
By EcoWater Systems.
EcoWater Systems of Nebraska is the largest water treatment company in the state and is a member of Water Quality Association.