Are you curious about what type of water you have? It’s definitely worth finding out and can make a big difference when it comes to laundry and appliances.
Let me share a story with you to illustrate. The water was so hard at the last house we lived in that it broke down our water heater within just a few years. The local plumber told us he routinely replaces water heaters every 3 years or so in the area. Knowing our water was extremely hard helped alert us to problems like that, so that we could budget and save for an appliance that we knew would need periodic replacement.
Knowing your water hardness helps answer other questions. What type of detergent should you use? (it works more effectively in soft water and less effectively in hard water). Do you need a water softener? (extremely hard water will not only wear out appliances but corrode your kitchen and bath fixtures).
Your local plumber might be able to give you a rough idea of the water type based on a “grains per gallon” measurement. The scale of hardness, as defined by the Water Quality Association, is as follows:
Soft: 0-1 grains per gallon (gpg)
Slightly Hard: 1-3.5 gpg
Moderately Hard: 3.5-7.0 gpg
Hard: 7.0-10.5 gpg
Very Hard: over 10.5 gpg
But there’s also a simple and cheap test you can do at home. You can get a 3-pack of Water Test Strips from Diaper Junction (aff) for $2.99. At the end of this post, I also have a tip for requesting a free water test by mail.
The test consists of a white paper test stick and a color chart which is printed right on the package:
The water test strip from Diaper Junction is a cinch to use. Stick it under running water for 1 second. Shake off the excess water and then wait 15 seconds. Read the results by comparing the wet test strip to the color chart on the package.
My test result was right in the middle – the brown color equates to roughly 7 grains per gallon. According to the above scale, our water is “moderately hard.”
If you aren’t placing an order any time soon at Diaper Junction, request a free water test strip from Water Boss. They will mail it to you within a few weeks.
Is your water hard or soft, or somewhere in between? Have you ever considered doing a test to get a definite answer?