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How Hard is Too Hard Water?

How Hard is Too Hard Water?

How Hard is Too Hard Water


If you're looking to know when your water is too hard and when to pull the trigger on buying a water softener then this blog is perfect for you. Get a full grasp on conducting a water test, to knowing your water's hardness gpg level, to then taking next steps if your water is indeed too hard. 



How to: Knowing if Your Water is Too Hard

How do you know if your water is too hard and you need a water softener for your family? At what point is the hardness level so hard that it damages your appliances, makes your home tough to keep clean and causes itchy and irritated skin? Why do some of your neighbours have water softeners and others don’t? I’m going to show you how hard is too hard when it comes to your water starting right now.

Hi I’m Gary the Water Guy and I simplify water filtration to help you conquer crappy water for your family!

Every home has a multitude of water using appliances, pipe, fixtures and a hot water heater, either the tank type or tankless. When your water is hard it flows over the surfaces but leaves a scale. Not just once, but there are layers added on top of layers. Those layers make your home far more difficult to keep clean, shortens the life of your dishwasher, washing machine and hot water tank. As well as drying out your skin and making your clothes look dingy after washing.

--> Not sure how a water softener works to soften your water and protect your home or family? Check out my YouTube video describing how by watching How Does a Water Softener Work?

Water Hardness Explained

You really need to know your water’s hardness before looking up what levels are too hard but more importantly you need to know some of the symptoms of hard water and check with your family if these are a concern, like:

1. Do you find it difficult to keep your home clean due to staining around the fixtures?

2. Are you getting stains in your toilet or around the sink drains?

3. Water spots on your shower doors and glasses coming from the dishwasher?

4. Does it take a great deal of soap in your water before you get bubbles?

5. Any there concerns in your family with dry itching skin and “frizzy hair”?

6. Laundry looking dingy after washing?


Don’t know the hardness of your water? 

No problem, if you’re on a municipal water source you can always call the municipality and ask them. If they give you the number in parts per million you just divide it by 17 to get your water’s hardness in grains per gallon. If that doesn’t work or you’re on well water, just mail us a sample or check out this link for a Free Water Test 


Understanding Common Water Hardness Levels


Common Water Hardness Levels

Figure 1

Figure 1 above shows common hardness levels and when they can become problematic.  

0–.5 gpg: Your water has been softened already

1-3.5 gpg: Your water doesn’t require softening because it is coming from a soft water source like surface water from a lake or river. You will get minimal or no scale buildup or staining. 

3.5–7 gpg: Water is moderately hard, causing spotty dishes and dry skin. At this level having a water softener is optional but if you have had one in the past and are particular about the cleanliness if you home you will want one again. 

7–10.5 gpg: Hard water is packed with minerals at this level, and you likely deal with crusty stained faucets & pipes and possibly reddish rings on your porcelain from excess iron. You will not be able to use an on demand hot water heater or Ultraviolet Disinfection system without first softening the water. You will notice that you are getting scale buildup around faucets and fixtures, toilets will become stained. 

10.5–14: Considered very hard, this water exhibits all the signs of hard water all the time. Glass shower doors and dishes will become very spotty. Whenever water sits anywhere in your home you will get a build up of lime scale and it will be difficult to scrub off. Your hot water heater will become less efficient due to the scale buildup and you will shorten the life of your dishwasher and washing machine. 

14+: Extremely hard water. Glasses are extra spotty, skin feels super squeaky, dry and scaly. Soap scum will become an issue and there will be scale buildup everywhere. You will need to use far more soap to get clothes, dishes and people clean. If you’re on well water, you may also be seeing other problem water signs such as iron stains. If you try to wash floors with dark stain you will never be able to remove the streaks. It will cost you considerable amounts of money due to the damage caused by this extremely hard water if you do not get a water softener.

What’s the hardest water I’ve ever treated – 80 gpg. At that level the water is so hard you will ruin pretty much everything water comes into contact with in no time. Anything over 40 gpg you really need a dual tank water softener.


So, why do some of your neighbours have water softeners and others don't?

Quite frankly you’ll find that the ones that do are more picky about their home being clean and tidy. To some folks that just isn’t as much of a priority. How about you? Do you want your home to be easier to keep clean and protect your water using appliances? Remember what really matters is how your family feels about your water and it’s staining, if it bothers you, get a water softener.