You might have heard that hard water causes a bunch of issues like water spots and deposits in plumbing systems. While that is totally true, some of you might want concrete proof that the water is hard indeed; proof that there’s a high percentage of the minerals that are known to cause water hardness.
Then again, you might want to assess the effectiveness of your water softener. To do that, you will need a way of measuring water hardness before and after the softening process.
That is what this article is about. We’re going to look at how to measure water hardness at home using the easiest methods.
Measuring Water Hardness
Before we even jump into the actual ways of measuring, how about you learn about the units used. Here are the most common units:
Your options: you can either use basic ways of measuring water hardness, or go the more accurate way of having your water samples tested in a lab.
Here are the different degrees of water hardness:
The methods we will look at in this article are:
1. Water and dish soap
Let’s start with the most basic way of measuring water hardness. Here are the items you will use:
This simple test measures the hardness of water in grains per given volume of water, and these are the steps to follow:
The more the suds or the cloudiness, the higher the degree of hardness. If after adding the dish soap there’s no cloudiness, the water is soft. You can do this test before and after the softening to see whether your softener is working properly.
Remember, this method is rather crude and doesn’t give you a clear picture of what exact level of hardness you’re dealing with. Now let’s look at a more accurate method of testing water hardness – that of using test trips
2. Using Test Trips to Measure Hard Water
Paper and plastic test strips designed for testing water hardness are available for purchase online; Amazon has a full range of them. These work in a similar to test tablets and these are the general steps that you normally have to follow:
3. Digital PPM Meter
Do you need a much more effective way of assessing the hardness level of your water? Consider using a TDS/PPM meter. TDS stands for total dissolved solids while PPM stands for parts per million and it’s the same thing as milligrams per liter (mg/l).
You can get a digital PPM meter from Amazon for as low as $15, and so you might agree it’s an inexpensive option as well.
Here’s how to use a TDS/PPM meter: stir the water gently with the gadget. Remove it from the water and take the reading, which is normally displayed on the device’s LCD screen within seconds. The reading disappears within around 2 minutes.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. What is TDS?
TDS stands for total dissolved solids, and it refers to the degree of water hardness. The higher the TDS level, the higher more the hardness. TDS and ppm (parts per million) or mg/l (milligrams per liter) are all units used to measure the same thing.
2. How do I know that my water is hard without measuring anything?
These scenarios are often automatic suggestions that the water is hard:
3. Is rainwater hard water?
No, rainwater is soft. But when it touches the ground, it picks up the minerals therein and becomes hard water. By the time it reaches our waterways, like rivers and dams, it is hard water.
4. Which one between hard water and soft water is preferred for drinking?
Hard water contains various minerals that are needed for the proper functioning of our bodies, and thus it is preferred for drinking. Plants also need hard water rather than soft water.
Soft water is preferred for all other water applications including washing clothes and dishes and cleaning cars.
There are several other methods of testing water hardness, like titration, but those are a little too inconvenient for personal needs at home unless you’re a scientist.
You can use the test strips, but for utmost convenience and ease, we recommend you go for the digital TDS/PPM meter. While the test strips run out, the meter goes on serving you for years; the only thing you will be doing is replace the battery after a while. Again, the meter is faster and more accurate with a precise reading.
Thanks for reading and hopefully this helped you to on how to measure the hardness of your water. Comment below if you have any questions.