Hardness In Drinking Water


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Home Inspectors and others can learn about Hardness in Drinking Water.

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Hardness In Drinking Water

  1. 1. Part of the Water Wisdom Series for Home Inspectors by: Scott J. Bradley
  2. 2. What does “Hard Water” mean? <ul><li>When you add soap to water and agitate, it usually makes suds and bubbles – a process called, “ saponification”. The absence of such foaming in the case above would indicate that the water is hard. </li></ul><ul><li>The major constituents of hard </li></ul><ul><li>water are Calcium Carbonate, </li></ul><ul><li>Magnesium, Manganese, </li></ul><ul><li>and Iron. </li></ul>
  3. 3. How does having Hard Water effect a Home Inspector’s Client? <ul><li>If the water is very hard (greater than 100- 120 mg/L as CaCO3 , which is equal to about 6-7 grains per gallon). </li></ul><ul><li>Drinking water that is hard will leave a gritty, or non-washed feeling in the shower, as no or very little sudsing will occur. (Calcium breaks the surface tension of the bubbles, so they can’t form). </li></ul><ul><li>Drinking water that is soft, can leave your skin feeling slick and slimy. (the sodium from softeners and lack of CaCO3 can’t break the soap film on your skin). </li></ul><ul><li>more… </li></ul>
  4. 4. Home Inspectors may See… <ul><li>Blue-green staining in sinks, toilets or fixtures. This very well might be copper that is being dissolved from the home plumbing system. </li></ul><ul><li>Scaling is a protective coating of Calcium Carbonate (CaCO3) that will form on the inside of copper pipes if there is enough CaCO3 available in the water, and if the water is not too low in pH. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Where should Home Inspectors get more info. on Treatment? <ul><li>If the client decides that a water softener is warranted based on the lab report, a great place to get some objective info. is at the National Sanitation Foundation which tests different filters for drinking water use. </li></ul><ul><li>A Drinking Water softener, is an </li></ul><ul><li>ion exchange system that will </li></ul><ul><li>exchange CaCO3 ions, as well </li></ul><ul><li>as iron, magnesium, and </li></ul><ul><li>manganese with either </li></ul><ul><li>sodium or potassium chloride. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Home Inspectors should call… <ul><li>A qualified and experienced treatment technician to have a system properly installed and balanced. </li></ul><ul><li>If you take out too much of the CaCO3, then the water may become too soft, and not have enough CaCO3 left to allow a thin layer of protective scaling to form. </li></ul><ul><li>Installing a softener, or ion exchange system, may increase the chloride, as well as sodium or potassium in the client’s drinking water. </li></ul><ul><li>Hardness is not a contaminant, but a physical characteristic of the drinking water as it picks up minerals in the earth’s geological formations. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Home Inspectors and Hardness <ul><li>Now you know…. </li></ul><ul><li>Where you get hard water from </li></ul><ul><li>What it means to have hard water and it’s effects </li></ul><ul><li>Why it is important to have some hardness in water </li></ul><ul><li>How to treat hard water and where to get info </li></ul><ul><li>When water doesn’t make suds, it’s probably hard! </li></ul>
  8. 8. Home Inspectors Series: Hardness <ul><li>I hope you enjoyed this issue of Water Wisdom for Home Inspectors, brought to you as a courtesy learning tool from Scott J. Bradley at Aquacheck Lab. </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.aquacheck-vt.com </li></ul><ul><li>1-800-263-9596 </li></ul>