WHAT IS “HARD WATER”?
Water is considered “hard” when your Cambridge water contains higher levels of dissolved calcium and magnesium. Hard water makes cleaning clothes more difficult, creates streaking on dishes and glasses, and makes cleaning your hair and skin and other things well a challenge. You may see white scale build-up on faucets and shower heads as evidence of hard water. Hard water can also damage your piping distribution system if not corrected. There are high efficiency filtration solutions that will condition your water by removing these hard water minerals through the proven ion exchange water softening process.
Cambridge water is “slightly to moderately hard” and varies only slightly throughout the city. Hardness also varies slightly by seasons of the year. According to The Cambridge Water Department, the hardness of the city’s tap water is typically around 50 to 70 parts per million or 3 to 4 grains per gallon. See the chart below for comparison.
While symptoms of water quality issues such as bad odors & taste, staining of laundry, bathroom fixtures, etc. are indicators of problems, the preferred starting point is to get a water test to identify the minerals or contaminants in the water and at what quantity they exist. This will lead to an effective system recommendation and route to providing your home with excellent water quality. While certain minerals & contaminants can be tested on-site (iron, hardness, pH, total dissolved solids), health threat items like radon in water, arsenic in water, nitrates and others should be properly sampled and brought to a certified laboratory for testing that requires specialized equipment.
WATER SOFTENER SYSTEMS
A water softener is a type of whole house water filtration system that is designed for removing hard water minerals (magnesium & calcium) as well as dissolved iron and manganese from the water. For water with high levels of iron or manganese (“the stainers”), an up-flow water softener is recommended to prevent mineral build-up in the bottom of the water softener. Also, high efficiency water softeners that are more efficient with both water and salt usage are preferred.
In addition to the above systems described, there are many other types whole house water filtration systems or “point of use” systems to remove bad tastes & odors, sediment and many other objectionable minerals and contaminants in the water. Starting with a water test will lead to the right approach. For more on bad odors & taste in your water, see the link at http://h2ocare.com/bad-odor-taste-water/.