We all depend on water at home. We bathe, wash dishes, and do laundry with it. We also drink it and include it in preparing food and recipes. What we may not always be aware of is the quality of the water we are using and drinking.
When you use water, you probably prefer that:
your clothes be brighter and softer
your skin and hair be less irritated and dry
soap and detergents mix and lather better
water-using appliances last longer before needing replacement
Whether your water can provide those advantages depends on how hard or soft it is.
What Is Hard Water?
As water travels through the ground to water supplies, it moves past rocks, soil and deposits such as limestone. The water acts as a solvent for these minerals and gathers them. Their concentration depends on how long the water travels through them.
Hard water is water with elevated levels of dissolved minerals such as calcium and magnesium in it. Different regions will have different levels of water hardness. Communities that draw water from wells or the ground will be more concerned with hardness than those communities that do not use those sources.
If your water at home is hard, you might notice that washing your hands may leave a sense of having a film or residue on them. If you wash glasses and dishes with hard water, it will often leave them looking clouded or spotty. These effects are caused by the cleaning agent’s interaction with the calcium in the hard water, which makes it more difficult for the agent to lather. Because of this, more of the agent is needed to achieve the cleaning desired.
Hard water can also cause mineral build-up – known as scaling – in pipes, water heaters and appliances such as dishwashers, laundry machines and coffee makers.
The minerals in hard water are usually not contaminating or otherwise hazardous. Having some minerals in water can actually be good for people, because we need calcium and magnesium for overall health. However, when they are allowed to build over long periods, hard minerals can have a negative impact throughout the home, as well as on the hair and skin.
What Is Soft Water?
Soft water is water with lower levels of dissolved minerals such as those mentioned above. Soft water is typically generated by means of a water softener.
The water softener makes water soft by using tiny resin beads charged with sodium or potassium to collect the hardness ions (e.g. calcium and magnesium) and replace them with sodium or potassium. This process is known as ion exchange.
The salt we add to our water softener is not what softens the water; the resin beads achieve that. However, the salt is still important to the procedure.
When the resin beads reach their full capacity to hold the gathered minerals, they are recharged by means of regeneration. If you have a water softener, you’re probably familiar with this term, and you’ve heard the water softener in action as it regenerates.
During regeneration, the resin beads are washed with the salt that we poured into the tank. The salt solution forces the mineral ions to be released from the beads and replaces them with the sodium or potassium ions.
After the beads are cleansed, the salt solution is flushed from the tank with fresh water. You’ll notice this as the tank empties into a nearby drain. The beads are now ready to continue making soft water.
How Is Water Hardness Calculated – and What’s Too Much for Me?
Water hardness and softness are measured by grains of dissolved calcium per gallon (gpg). One gpg equals 17.14 parts per million (ppm).
The following ranges can help you determine the hardness or softness of your water at home.
|0 to 0.5
|Water has been softened with a water softener
|1 to 3.5
|Lake or surface water source; no water softener needed
|3.5 to 7
|Spotty dishes, dry skin; water softener optional
|7 to 10.5
|Softener needed; can’t use for water heater UV-light treatment
|10.5 to 14
|Softener needed; home difficult to keep clean with water; water-using appliances will have shorter lifespan
|Softener needed; greater staining of glass; shorter life and less efficiency for water-using appliances
Certain well water in the Yorkville, Aurora, Plainfield, Naperville and Montgomery (IL) region can have a hardness level as high as 26 to 30 gpg. It can also include iron or sulfur. Oswego water is 14.88 gpg, which as you can see from the table would be classified as extremely hard (it also is the average gpg of the local wells). By comparison, Montgomery water is 5.66 gpg.
The amount of water hardness that is acceptable for you is largely a matter of personal preference. You can achieve that optimal level with water-hardness consultation and treatment systems from local water-quality professionals RJ Kuhn.
Water Treatment for Yorkville, Aurora, Plainfield, Naperville and Montgomery (IL)
RJ Kuhn specializes in water treatment that improves water quality for Yorkville, Aurora, Plainfield, Naperville and Montgomery homeowners. We provide both the guidance and the proper equipment for achieving your desired hardness/softness level.
Our water treatment addresses your water supply throughout your house as opposed to just individual faucets. Your custom water treatment plan might include:
reverse osmosis. This water-purification process uses a partially permeable membrane to separate ions, larger particles and other unwanted molecules from drinking water (e.g. water that contains lead). Reverse osmosis can remove many different types of dissolved and suspended chemical species as well as biological ones such as bacteria.
KlearFlo iron & sulfur filter. This special filter does away with the need for salt or any other chemicals in order to remove minerals such as iron and sulfur. The KlearFlo whole-house filtration and salt-free conditioning system contributes to better-tasting water from every tap, softer skin and hair after bathing, and no more iron stains in and around the house. The system draws from the air that you breathe, and it does not use any chemicals.
CMP25 & CMP30 water softeners from Marlo, Inc. With state-of-the-art automatic operation, the CMP25 and the CMP30 combination water softeners and filters remove hard minerals from your water, leaving it soft and clean. Both units feature an Economy Salt-Saving Brine Control that increases salt efficiency and ensures minimal water usage during regeneration. They also include automatic bypass water during regeneration.
Contact RJ Kuhn: Community Water-Quality Professionals
As a local service provider with connections to our communities, RJ Kuhn cares about the water you use in Oswego, Yorkville, Aurora, Naperville or Montgomery. If you would like to learn more about how customized water treatment can contribute to your quality of life at home, we would be glad to hear from you and answer your questions. Give us a call at (630) 554-3336!