When you realize that you have a hard water problem in your home, it can be the start of a slightly confusing journey. A great deal of research has been carried out in this area, and this has led to the formation of a whole vocabulary to describe this phenomenon. This is a lot to take in at once, and the learning curve can be extremely steep for the average person without formal training. Understand the terminology used to describe hard water and the water treatment methods used to correct the issue is vital if you want to make good decisions. In this article, we will look at hard water in more detail and explain some of the important terms used.

4 Common Hard Water Terms

If you’re starting out on your hard water research, you will come across four commonly used terms that we will describe below.

1. Hard Water

Hard water contains a higher concentration of dissolved minerals, such as calcium, magnesium, and iron. This elevated mineral content is gathered by the water as it passes through rocks and soil on its journey into our water supply. The minerals cannot usually be seen with the naked eye, and certain areas may well have harder water than other areas.

2. Grains per Gallon (gpg)

Grains per gallon or gpg is the unit of measurement used to describe the hardness of water. As an example: a single grain or 65 milligrams of calcium carbonate that has been dissolved in one liter of water. To put this into some perspective, if 10 grains of minerals were dissolved into a gallon of water, this would be 10 gpg. Soft water has less than 1 gpg, and hard water is greater than 7 gpg.

3. Parts per Million (ppm)

Most water softeners will measure water hardness in gpg, but some use parts per million or ppm instead. If you want to compare two different water softeners and they are in gpg and ppm respectively, it will be necessary to make a conversion of 17.1 ppm for each gpg. If iron is present in your water supply it will be measured in ppm, even low level of 0.3 ppm can leave reddish brown stains on your plumbing fixtures. This can be hard to clean, but it can be prevented by installing a water softener that can remove iron from your water.

4. Water Softener Capacity

A water softener will be measured by grain capacity, gallons used, or cubic feet needed. Before you consider buying a water treatment system for your home, it’s important to think about how much water you will need. The number of people in your home is the most important factor, and water consumption is usually higher during the hotter months of the year. So, don’t choose a water softener that’s too small or you may not have enough soft water when the demand increases.

Now that you understand some common simple water softener terms it should be easier to make a purchasing decision. If you need expert help and advice contact your local water treatment professional.