Water Hardness: Knowing and Calculating The Perfect “Mineral Water”

Water hardness seems to be a common problem among households worldwide, but there seems to be a certain ignorance as to what this is. What this does is it does more long-term harm despite the beneficial uses. Being a problem of this nature, we must know how to calculate water hardness level and what the desired level of water hardness is.

What is Water Hardness?

Ironically, water hardness has nothing to do with water turning into a solid block of ice or anything involving a transition into something solid. However, the reason for this name is because of what is actually in the water we use or drink.

Sometimes the water we use seems to be different despite the whole house being a general example of cleanliness. For example, one may notice some minerals that are present in cooking dishes or the more obvious scum that seems to be resistant to cleaning.

The simple reason for this would be the existence of “hard water” or water that appears to be infused with undesirable metals, the more prominent ones being calcium and magnesium. These are usually caused by water travelling through places filled with soil and rock, but some have found that water from wells is a breeding ground for this kind of water.

As a simple experiment to test if your home does have hard water, you may take a bottle and fill it up to one-third of it, and you should apply a few drops of soap. From here, shake or mix the solution well, and naturally, the mixture should be clear with bubbles at the top.

However, if it turns milky and lacks bubbles, your water is hard. The water does not cause any severe problems for the consumer, but these will cause some pipes, appliances, and other parts of the house that use water.

How do you calculate water hardness?

Before knowing how to calculate the possible hardness present in your water, you need to know that there are two types of this hardness, temporary and permanent. Since we want to know more about water hardness, measuring hard water would mean we would be looking for permanent hardness.

This, unlike temporary hardness, cannot be removed by heating the undesirable aspects of the water.

An option for calculating water hardness is to manually calculate the hardness using calcium and magnesium values. However, you would need to submit samples to the lab to receive the exact amount of the minerals found in the water. Nevertheless, it would require the use of equations.

The general equation would be as follows:

CaCO3 (Total Permanent Hardness) = Mg (mg/L) as CaCO3 + Ca (mg/L) as CaCO3

The general equation is the sum of both the hardness of Magnesium and Calcium. However, Magnesium and Calcium hardness is determined by another equation in the form of:

Ca or Mg hardness mg/L as CaCO3 / Equivalent Weight of CaCO3 = Ca or Mg in mg/L / Equivalent Weight of Ca or Mg

Calculating the equivalent weight would involve dividing the atomic weight by the valency, and these hold values. For example, calcium would be 20.04 while Magnesium would value at 12.15.

For Calcium Carbonate, this requires the molecular weight, which would be set at 50.04.

In sum, we must first determine the hardness first of the minerals, using the given values of Calcium or Magnesium in milligrams per litre and the set equivalent weights from the mineral being calculated and Calcium Carbonate.

Once with the two values, they may be added up to form the total permanent hardness of Calcium Carbonate.

Since one calculates for any concerning value, it would also be wise to know the desired water hardness level. It is important to remember that water still possesses minerals that are helpful to the body. However, much like everything in daily life, an excess can cause future problems.

The healthy amount would be at 10 to 50 parts per million of the Calcium Carbonate, while the slightly hard would range from 50 to a hundred. The actual hard water is seen when the amount hits 100, while 200 parts is an amount in which it is incredibly excessive.

Negative Impacts of Hard Water

As mentioned before, hard water does not have any serious problems when consumed by drinking.

This could be a great help for the body as it can give minerals that it could lack. However, this causes much more visible problems when used as bathwater as it interferes with soaps and other cleaning regiments, eventually leaving the skin to become irritated and dry.

These also affect pipes, boilers, and other water-using items in the household as this could affect their daily functions.

We can appreciate the use of hardness as a benefit, but this causes more damage in the long term. Therefore, it is important to be aware and stop this at the earliest possible moment.

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About Salman Zafar

Salman Zafar is the CEO of BioEnergy Consult, and an international consultant, advisor and trainer with expertise in waste management, biomass energy, waste-to-energy, environment protection and resource conservation. His geographical areas of focus include Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Salman has successfully accomplished a wide range of projects in the areas of biogas technology, biomass energy, waste-to-energy, recycling and waste management. Salman has participated in numerous national and international conferences all over the world. He is a prolific environmental journalist, and has authored more than 300 articles in reputed journals, magazines and websites. In addition, he is proactively engaged in creating mass awareness on renewable energy, waste management and environmental sustainability through his blogs and portals. Salman can be reached at salman@bioenergyconsult.com or salman@cleantechloops.com.
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One Response to Water Hardness: Knowing and Calculating The Perfect “Mineral Water”

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