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What to Do About Hardness in Your Water


What is Hard Water?

Hard water is water that contains lots of dissolved calcium and other minerals. These minerals get picked up by the water as it travels through rock [such as limestone or dolomite]. Minerals, dissolved into water this way, are not harmful to your health. In fact they are known to be related to lowered risk factors for heart disease and other ailments. See the Health Benefits of Calcium Page. You need a certain amount of hardness in order to ionize at all.

Hard Water Scaling


The problem with very hard water, calcium in particular, is that it tends to scale due to its crystaline shape. This scaling can cause clogging inside a water ionizer or any water-related equipment. In particular with water ionizers, the calcium scale can build up on the electrodes or between electrodes. When this happens the effectiveness drops. For this reason all water ionizers have self-cleaning systems. The  water ionizers with the best internal, water-cell cleaning systems are those with continuous-cleaning. The quality of internal cleaning  is an important concern. Insisting on a good water ionizer self-cleaning system is always a smart idea.

Hardness is Reported in PPM [parts per million] or GPG [grains per gallon].

The perfect hardness for a water ionizer is about 80 - 100 parts per million or 6-7 grains per gallon of hardness. Even though 75 to 100 ppm of hardness is considered hard, it's not going to interfere with ionization at those levels. But, over time you may experience a bit of a scaling issue, which can be resolved by protecting your water ionizer with the EOS Device, see the link in the #1 suggestion, below.

Feel free to call for a free consultation on your water quality and hardness. 1-888-692-5525. Here is a link to the USGS water quality map, chart and other information online: http://water.usgs.gov/owq/hardness-alkalinity.html#chart Water is considered soft or hard according to the PPM or GPG of calcium and magnesium in the water. Most references report the following:

  • Soft: Below 17 ppm [or 0-1 gpg]
  • Medium: 18 – 75 ppm [or 1 - 4 gpg]
  • Medium Hard: 76 – 150 ppm [or 4 - 8 gpg]
  • Hard: 151 – 200 ppm [or 7 – 11 gpg]
  • Very Hard: Over 200 ppm [or over 11 gp **Very, Very Hard: Over 300 ppm [Note: can go as hard as 500 or more ppm] If your water is very, very hard, you will need to do extra filtration of it before you can get good results with your water ionizer.

Reverse Osmosis [with a remineralizer] is the standard way to filter very hard water properly. Hardness appears as a yellowish/whitish [or even greeny-blue] film, but if there is also a high iron content in the water it will be a brownish film.]

What to Do About Hardness in Your Water

If you live in a super hard water area [over 200 ppm of hardness or over 12 grains of calcium per gallon] you have very hard water and will want to read this. Hard water is a problem for water ionizers. Even medium-hard water can cause a water ionizer to lose its pH or ORP (oxidation reduction potential), in other words, ionizer effectiveness, over time. This is due to scaling on and between the plates. If the water ionizer has continuous-cleaning, it may not scale up inside the water cell, but the other water lines in the water ionizer may scale in such a way as to ruin the water ionizer. You would start to see this in a reduced water flow. After time you would notice the flow too slow to ionize. And, finally the machine may either burn out (because sufficient water flow is part of a water ionizer's cooling system).

Solutions to hard water are the following [listed in order of cheapest to most expensive]:

  1. EOS (Elimination of Scale) Device: The EOS Device is the least expensive and easiest way to prevent scaling from hard water. It is a healthy way as well. I highly recommend it even if you use all of the other hard-water solutions, below. Go to the product page for more information.
  2. Ionizer Shield prevents hard water from sticking to your water ionizer as it passes through it. Good for medium-hard water, 6-8 GPG [grains per gallon] or up to 150 PPM of hardness.
  3. Reverse Osmosis: The Reverse Osmosis Remineralizer System is the best, because it was made for water ionizers, specifically. But any reverse osmosis is an excellent filtration method to get rid of hardness in water. The problem is that RO water flow is slow. Make sure to either use our system [made for water ionizers] or to use a system that has a large enough tank and fast enough output-water flow-rate. A fast refill time is also desirable. Your system needs a Remineralizer or two (if it doesn't already have that). It's an easy task to add on to the line just prior to the tank. 
  4. If you use a water softener, you should contact us. No-salt softeners will protect your equipment, such as your water ionizer, but may not solve another problem water ionizers have with hard water (of interference with splitting the two streams of alkaline/acidic water properly). In this case you might need to go with #2, above. If you use a salt-based water softener you will definitely need to also use #3, above, to solve the over-kill of sodium (which will burn out a water ionizer over time if it isn't solved. Only RO is capable of removing sodium; nothing else will do it.

How Do You Know How Hard Your Water Is?

Most municipal water is thoroughly tested, and they usually report their results online. However certain things, like hardness, are not always reported. If your water quality report doesn't show your water's hardness, you can call the water company and ask, though, or you can do some testing on your own. If you use well-water, you should test your water hardness, among other things. Well water is often very hard [not always, but it should be tested]. Some municipalities will test your well water hardness and other things for free.

At Alkaline Water Plus We Offer Free and/or Super-Inexpensive Solutions for Testing Your Water

Comprehensive Water Test Kits: For a single test of your water for 9 of the most important things you should know about your water. At Alkaline Water Plus we will do a free water analysis for you. If you only want to test your water hardness, our hardness-test-strips are all you need. You can get the two-strips option, but I suggest getting the full pack of 25 to test periodically, because hardness is something that fluctuates throughout the year. If you find your water is of poor quality, or too hard, there are always ways to fix it, so you can have perfect ionized water no matter what. Just contact us if you need help with this. If you don't do something to handle the water hardness and excess TDS [total dissolved solids] you will eventually have a problem.