View Full Version : How do I know if I have hard/soft/regular water?

December 22nd, 2009, 12:31 PM
The faucets on the sink seem to get some calcium/lime buildup it looks like... is that related to the kind of water?
And I how does it effect hair.

December 22nd, 2009, 12:33 PM
That is a question I would also like to know!

December 22nd, 2009, 12:35 PM
My experience is that most water in the Northeast is hard water. I'm in Philly and we definitely have hard water. The build up is related to the kind of water. More minerals = harder water.

December 22nd, 2009, 12:38 PM
Yep. Limescale deposits on the faucet are a good sign. Another way to tell is by how much your soap lathers. If it doesn't lather very much but leaves skin squeaky clean, the water is probably hard. If it lathers abundantly but skin is a bit slimy afterward, then you probably have soft water (I mean regular hand soap, or Lever-type soap, w/o moisturizers). The third diagnostic is how well baking soda dissolves in your water. It will not dissolve in cold water if the water is hard, as some people who use the BS/ACV method discover.

Have a look here--I have a lengthy post about the effects of hard water on hair and how to deal with it. http://mshanai.livejournal.com/8481.html

December 22nd, 2009, 12:39 PM
If you have calcium/lime build-up, you have hard water. It tends to make my hair crunchy. Not soft.

Usually, your water service posts hardiness of water in your area.

December 22nd, 2009, 01:02 PM
Oftentimes, city water suppliers will put out an annual report on the results of water tests, and this would include the amounts of calcium and magnesium ions (which are what officially make water 'hard'), probably in ppm. You can also probably get it tested, which might be your best route if you're on well water. (Check the Wikipedia article (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hard_water).)

If you've got lime buildup around your faucets, your water is probably hard. If soap or shampoo bars don't lather well (comparing to someone with softened water would be a worth-while comparison), if you get soap scum, or if you find you absolutely must use a vinegar rinse after using a soap-based shampoo if you ever want to comb your hair again, it's a safe bet that you've got hard water.

ETA: In a city, you can often find your water report online. As an example, here's NYC's water page (http://nyc.gov/html/dep/html/drinking_water/index.shtml). Following the Quality report link, I can tell you that in 2008, the Catskill/Delaware system water has an average of 1.1 grains CaCO3/gallon hardness. That's quite soft.

December 22nd, 2009, 01:04 PM
Also, you may find buildup on glassware..... it gets "cloudy looking" from the dishwasher...... sign of hard water.

December 22nd, 2009, 02:44 PM
If you have hard water, you''l have trouble getting any suds from soap or shampoo. This is usually the number 1 hard wtater complaint and the easiest way to tell (besides calcium buildup on your tap) if your water is hard. :(

Pear Martini
December 22nd, 2009, 08:38 PM
bump bump bump

December 23rd, 2009, 11:46 AM
Also, you may find buildup on glassware..... it gets "cloudy looking" from the dishwasher...... sign of hard water.
This. And if you have a water kettle, odds are it'll look horrible if you have hard water. My mum's kettle has crazy amounts of mineral build-up.

December 23rd, 2009, 12:13 PM
Not sure where you are exactly, but if New Jersey American Water is your utility provider, you can find water quality reports here. http://www.amwater.com/njaw/customer-service/water-quality-reports.html (http://www.amwater.com/njaw/customer-service/water-quality-reports. html)

December 23rd, 2009, 01:29 PM
This (http://www.goodwaterco.com/watereducation/hardWaterMap.htm) is an old map, and not particularly accurate (I was in a part of Colorado with 'average' water that is labeled hard) but could give you an idea.