Hard water certainly has advantages. It tastes good and contains important minerals. At the same time, however, it is harmful to household appliances and leaves unsightly limescale stains in the bathroom and kitchen. Regardless of whether you value hard water or not – the exact degree of hardness there are advantages to knowing. This is the only way to correctly set appliances such as the dishwasher or coffee machine. Aquarium owners cannot avoid constant monitoring if their protégés are to be well. The hardness also plays a role in the detergent dosage. And at the latest, when you decide to install a water softener, you need to know the exact degree of hardness.
We will introduce you to the various options for an endurance test. This will help you choose the right test for your needs.
Online water tests
Various online water tests provide an initial rough guideline for water hardness. Just enter your zip code and retrieve the numbers from the database. Please note, however, that some of the information is based on projections and is therefore subject to certain fluctuations.
Check with the water supplier
In principle, the water supplier is legally obliged to inform the customer of the water hardness. As a home owner, you will find the corresponding value on the water bill. Normally, the information can also be found on the homepage, or you can give the water company a quick call. By law, only the hardness range (soft to hard) must be specified. Usually, however, the exact numbers are shown. Note, however, that this information can vary. In times of bottlenecks or if there is contamination, other sources can be used, so that the degree of hardness sometimes fluctuates significantly.
Water hardness test strips
Test strips are an easy way to determine the hardness of the water yourself. They are available in pharmacies, drug stores, pet stores, hardware stores or online. It’s easy to use. You hold the strip briefly in a vessel with water, then wipe off the excess liquid and wait until the strip changes color. The degree of hardness can then be read from the discoloration. Different levels are offered. Rough subdivisions – for example in the range of 5 ° German hardness each – are useful if you only want to know the degree of hardness approximately. About perfectly adequate for the correct dosage of detergent.
In many areas, however, the degree of hardness must be known exactly. Some test strips give too imprecise results. Especially with cheap test strips it can happen that the evaluation is not entirely clear.
Drop test – test it yourself in the mini laboratory
The degree of hardness can be determined more precisely with a test solution. The chemical principle of titration is used. No chemical knowledge is required for this, just a steady hand and a careful approach. You fill your water into the container provided and slowly drop the test solution into it with the pipette. At first the water turns red, after a few drops it turns green. The number of drops that you need until the water turns green corresponds to the water hardness in degrees of German hardness.
The lime content in the water depends on the calcium and magnesium content. In the drop test, the titration solution can neutralize these minerals. The more of the solution is needed, the harder the water. Drop tests are usually very accurate when used correctly. So you can get a result almost as precise as that of a laboratory.
Comprehensive water check – if you want to know exactly
Would you like to put your water through its paces? Then off to the laboratory! An extensive water test In addition to water hardness, it also provides information about the pH value, contamination and bacterial load. This is the easiest and safest way to accurately map your water quality. Compared to the test strips or drop tests, you have to dig deeper into your pocket, but you will get a comprehensive and reliable result.
If you are considering a water softener you should have the hardness checked carefully beforehand. In this case, an endurance test from the laboratory is likely the best choice. Opt for an ion exchange system you must also continuously check the degree of hardness. This is the only way to set up and operate the device correctly.