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How to Measure Water Hardness

How to Measure Water Hardness

What is hard water?
Hard water is the most common problem found in the average home. Hard water is water that contains dissolved hardness minerals above 1 GPG.

How water hardness is measured?
Water hardness usually is measured or reported in grains per gallon, but some laboratories use milligrams per liter, or parts per million.

One part per million (PPM) is just what it says: out of one million units, one unit. Grains or a grain per gallon (GPG) is a weight measurement taken from the Egyptians; one dry grain of wheat, or about 1/7000 of a pound. It takes 17.1 PPM to equal 1 GPG.

If measured in parts per million or milligrams per liter take total hardness and divide it by 17.1 to get hardness in grains per gallon. For example if your water test shows 250mg/l hardness you actually have 14.62 grains per gallon. You convert milligrams per liter or parts per million by dividing the total by 17.1 to get grains per gallon hardness.

Most Common Myths About Hard Water

Hard Water Minerals are contaminants
Scientific findings supported by officials from the World Health Organization have shown that drinking water rich with essential minerals, specifically calcium and magnesium protects good health and leads to lower instances of heart disease and stroke.


Salt water softeners filter water
Fact: Salt water softeners do not filter water; they exchange sodium for healthy minerals. In other words, water softeners merely take ordinary, chlorinated tap water and turn it into ordinary, chlorinated, salty water. There is also a need to install a reverse-osmosis system to remove salt, sediment and chlorine to produce palatable water for drinking and cooking, but only at the kitchen tap. Chlorinated, salty water still runs throughout the rest of the home.

Hard water is harsh, fades clothes and dries skin and hair.
Hard water does not fade colors or dry skin and hair; chlorine does, and salt water softeners do not remove chlorine and disinfection byproducts.

Salt water softeners are safe for the environment.
According to Ann Heil, a Supervising Engineer. Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County, automatic salt water softeners waste water and put a salty brine discharge into the waste water stream. High salts in the waste water streams can harm aquatic life and can damage crops irrigated with downstream waters.

Water with low mineral count is naturally slippery
Fact: Naturally softened water does not feel slippery to the touch. Salt-based water softeners add sodium or potassium to the water which makes the water feel slippery.

Salt Based Water Softeners being Banned

Did You Know Salt Based Water Softeners are being BANNED? – Many communities throughout the US, or even the states themselves, have or are considering legislation prohibiting certain types of water softener brine discharge. Among them, in addition to Texas, are California, Connecticut, Massachusetts,

Hard Water and Kidney Stones

Does hard water cause kidney stones?
Some studies show that dehydration increases the chances of having kidney stones, and drinking plenty of water may very well prevent the formation of them. People living in the southeastern United States may have more kidney stones than people living elsewhere, and it is thought that the cause may be related to temperature and dehydration.

For example, studies report the highest occurrence of kidney stones in the southern region of the US and the lowest in the West. One study suggested that the higher risk may be due to a higher rate of hypertension in the South and certain dietary habits, particularly lower intake of magnesium and low use of calcium supplements. Higher rates of kidney stones have been reported in areas of Australia where magnesium levels in drinking water are low. Hard water tends to have higher amounts of protective calcium and magnesium, although evidence suggests that the hardness or softness of water does not significantly affect risk.

Pelican Combo System Salt-Free Water Softener Whole-House Water Filter

  • Fred8632

    I don’t think the first fact is accurate about turning your water in to salty water. It seems very misleading.

    A salt based soft water softener sends the untreated water through a tank full of resin beads. The beads strip out the “hardness” from the water (minerals and calcium?). The resin slowly looses its efficiency over time as it becomes saturated with the minerals it is stripping out from the water. Every few days, a separate tank which contains the salt and brine water, flushes this salty water through the resin beads and the salt water basically cleans off the minerals from the resin beads with this chemical reaction. This process regenerates the resin beads in the softener tank. At the end of the regeneration cycle, the soft water units flushes the resin tank with regular water to get the saltwater all out of the resin beads. While there is surely a tiny bit of salt left in the tank, I believe this is really a trace amount. The water going back into the home is not salty.

    I could be wrong about this, but I’ve never quite understood the argument about salt based soft water units causing “salty” water in your house. The salt water is ONLY used to rinse out the resin tank during regeneration process and then is rinsed away before the water is diverted back through the softener. This is why the regeneration cycle usually happens in the middle of the night, because during the regeneration cycle, the softener’s bypass valve is activated. If someone was to turn on a faucet at 2am during a regeneration cycle, that water will be by-passing the soft water tank as it is being “rinsed” by the salt water which is then dumped out the drain into the sewer.

    Many people who just dump bags or morton salt into their softener probably think the water flows through the salt. That is simply not true. The only time the salt is used is during regeneration, and during that time the by-pass valve is on diverting any house hold water past the softener.

    Obviously 100% of the salt is not rinsed away at the end of the regeneration cycle, but the additional salt level in a home with a salt based softener is negligible. Thoughts?