Q:

How can you tell whether you have hard or soft water?

A:

Quick Answer

To determine whether water is hard or soft, look for mineral deposits on sinks and in bathtubs, evaluate the cloudiness of a glass of hot tea or obtain a test kit from a hardware store or plumber. The hardness or softness of water refers to the mineral content in the water. Hard water has more mineral content than soft water.

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Full Answer

The following steps can help determine whether or not hard water is present.

  1. Look for mineral deposits
  2. Homes with hard water often result in scaly mineral deposits on plumbing fixtures and sink basins. When water is washed down the drain, some of the minerals remain behind and form a film on the surfaces they touch. The film might be brown or gray in color.

  3. Evaluate a glass of hot tea
  4. Bring a cup of tea to a boil in the microwave, steep a tea bag for a few minutes and evaluate the cloudiness of the water after the tea bag is removed. Hard water is cloudier than soft water, and often produces a thin film on the surface of the glass.

  5. Use a test kit
  6. Hardware stores and plumbing outlets sell test kits to help homeowners determine whether they have hard or soft water. Alternatively, contact the local water authority to inquire about water hardness in the community, or request a water hardness test from a plumber or the local government.

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