How hard is too hard when it comes to YOUR water?

According to the City of Tulsa and other sources water hardness is as follows:

Classification mg/l or ppm grains/gal
Soft 0 – 17.1 0 – 1
Slightly hard 17.1 – 60 1 – 3.5
Moderately hard 60 – 120 3.5 – 7.0
Hard 120 – 180 7.0 – 10.5
Very Hard 180 & over 10.5 & over

NOTE: Other organizations may use slightly different classifications.

Hard water affects your health and home!

It has been said that hard water is not a health hazard. In fact, some sources will tell you that there are health benefits to drinking hard water. The truth is there are health benefits to drinking hard water. Hard water does contain natural nutrients and minerals.  However, there are exceptions to this statement.

How hard is your water?

Is there such a thing as “too hard” when it comes to water?  Many studies say yes there is and there are potential health risks associated.

High levels of calcium and magnesium can affect several organs in the body and cause health problems.

  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Colon, Pancreatic and Rectal Cancers
  • Diabetes
  • Childhood Eczema
  • Kidney Stones

What is causing the hardness?

If your water’s hardness is from magnesium and calcium only then you can consider your water relatively safe to drink. However, what if your water is hard because of Arsenic? What if there is lead and other metals in your water?  Is your water still safe to drink?

Arsenic

  • Used for multiple processes even though it is poisonous.
  • Environmental contamination may result from improper waste disposal or from poorly planned wells that hit a natural source.
  • Exposure may cause vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and even death in severe cases; while long-term exposure can lead to skin cancer, lung cancer, and bladder cancer.
  • In Taiwan arsenic poisoning can cause “Blackfoot disease,” a type of gangrene that causes blood vessels to die and

Lead

  • Main toxin causing problems in Flint.
  • Corroded pipes release up to 10 times the allowable amount of lead into the water.
  • Toxic to almost every organ in the body and affects children the worst.
  • Developmental issues, stunted growth, deafness, behavioral problems, learning disabilities, and brain damage can be caused by exposure to lead.
  • Premature birth can be caused by lead ingestion during pregnancy.
  • Lead exposure is linked to autism, prostate cancer, & reproductive issues for both men and
  • Damaging to the cardiovascular system and kidneys.

Mercury

  • Naturally occurring element; “natural” does not mean “safe.”
  • Extremely toxic and can cause brain damage, blindness, nerve damage, cognitive disability, impairment of motor functions, headaches, weakness, muscle atrophy, tremors, mood swings, memory loss, & skin rashes.

The heavy presence of minerals in hard water often leads to pipes becoming clogged. With clogged pipes, your appliances will run less efficiently. This often leads to higher energy bills and even damaged appliances. The clogs can lead to leaks in the pipes and shorten the lifespan of your appliances. By some estimates, your appliances may work only half as long as they might have if a water softener had been used. Hard water can also be unsightly in the home. It can leave stains in sinks, showers and bathtubs and leave a thick scale on water fixtures. Glass showers often become opaque and look dirty because of stains from hard water. With water softening, the stains and scaling can be prevented as well as the damage done to pipes, fixtures and appliances.

Appliance Average Lifespan
(years)
Lifespan with Hard Water
(years)
Electric water heater 13 6.5
Gas water heater 11 5.5
Dishwasher 10 7
Washing machine 11 7.7
Toilet 6.5 2
Faucets 9 5.4
  • Decreased “sudsing” and cleaning capabilities of soaps and detergents, resulting in dingy laundry and reduced life of fabrics.
  • Increased buildup of scale on plumbing fixtures and cooking utensils such as a tea kettle, coffee maker, pasta pot and dishwater.
  • Film left on the body, resulting in dry skin and dull, limp hair.
  • Soap scum on bathtubs, shower tiles, and basins.
  • Clogged pipes or appliances, resulting in reduced water flow and increased repairs.
  • Increased water heating costs due to scale buildup and mineral deposits and more frequent replacement of hot water heating elements.