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Hard Water, What is it ?

East Orange, 19 GPG or 328 PPM & South Orange, 18 GPG or 320PPM

Hard water is probably the most common water problem found in the home. According to the Water Quality Association of the United States, hard water is above 1 GPG (grains per gallon)

 

What are the minerals that cause hardness?

The hardness of water is determined by the calcium and magnesium carbonates naturally dissolved in it. Across the U.S., there are waters that are very soft (low in carbonates) and waters that are very hard (high in carbonates). If your water contains substantial amounts of these minerals, water is said to be hard because making lather or suds is hard to do. Very hard water also leaves calcium scale or mineral deposits behind when it is heated up.

What does GPG or grains per gallon mean?

Parts per million or grains per gallon are both used to describe the dissolved hardness minerals contained in a water. One part per million (PPM) is one unit of a substance out of one million units of water. Grains, or grains per gallon (GPG), is a unit of weight. It is 1/7000 of a pound. One GPG, (1gpg) is equal to 17.1 PPM.

What problems does Hard Water cause?

Hard water is fine for many uses around a home. To water a garden, wash down a driveway and general outdoor lawn care, most water, as it comes from a well or from a municipal treatment plant, works fine. But for indoor use such as bathing, showers, doing dishes and washing clothes, shaving, washing china and flatware, and dozens of other uses, hard water is not as efficient or convenient as "soft water."

Advantages of Using Hard Water:

Historically, water was hardened to raise the pH to reduce the leaching of lead from lead pipes, which could cause lead poisoning. The advantage of drinking hard water is that it will supply calcium in the form of calcium carbonate (chalk), which can reduce the risk of osteoporosis. In order to be able to absorb it, however, you will need to have a good supply of natural vitamin D in your diet. Soft water is not for everyone. Softening household water supplies is not a decision to be made lightly. Factors to consider are family composition, stage in the family life cycle, lifestyle, health, maintenance of the equipment, and cost. The obvious disadvantage to soft water is the level of sodium (salt) deposited in the water. Potassium Chloride used in place of Sodium Chloride can reduce the levels of sodium in softened water. Anyone who has heart or circulatory problems, or on a low sodium diet should discuss the installation of a water softener with a physician. There are 3 alternative methods are available to reduce sodium in softened water: reverse osmosis, distillation, and deionization. Discuss these alternatives with your plumbing contractor. Researchers have found conflicting results relating the mineral content of water to the risk of cardiovascular disease. The risk appears lowest when the drinking water contains lots of minerals and highest when the water is soft. Consumers may want to consider installing a bypass to the kitchen water supply for cooking and drinking. According to a report by the University of Kentucky, softened water also increases the potential for leaching heavy metal from pipes, solder, and plumbing fixtures. Increased levels of copper, lead, zinc, and cadmium are found in soft water, particularly when it stands overnight in the plumbing system. Heavy metal concentrations can exceed Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) primary drinking water standards, particularly for water standing overnight in brass plumbing fixtures and faucets.

 Advantages of Using Soft Water:

• You will use less soap and other cleaning products.

• Reduce the difficult to clean "soap scum" and 'bathtub ring'

• Soap Scum stays on surfaces leaving unsightly spots on dishes, glass ware and flat ware.

• Heating hard water in the water heater, forms hardness scale. This scale plugs plumbing and builds up on the inside of water heaters, It can cause increased electric or gas bills, and may lead to early failure of the appliance with costly replacement necessary.

• Soap scum is difficult to remove and stays on your skin after bathing or showering. It clogs skin pores and coats hair. This residue may be a breeding ground for bacteria, and could cause diaper rash, rough, red hands, skin irritation and skin discomfort.

• Hardness minerals may cause unwanted taste in cooked foods such as vegetables and cause cloudy ice cubes.

Here are some things that you can do to lessen the effects of hard water around your home.

• Laundry: According to the National Soap and Detergent Association, a powdered detergent with phosphate will perform well in hard water as will any of the liquid laundry detergents.

• Dishwasher: Hard water will probably cause more spotting and filming on your dishes. This is because the minerals in hard water are released faster when the water comes in contact with heat, such as the heating element in your hot water heater or dishwasher. Here are some things you can do to reduce spotting and filming.

    Reduce the temperature of your hot water heater

For every degree or setting that you decrease your hot water heater, you decrease the mount of mineral spotting or    filming on your dishware.

   Detergent selection

According to the national Soap and Detergent association you should start with the manufacturers’ recommended amount of detergent and increase by one tablespoon at a time until you achieve the desired cleaning & spot prevention. Read the labels of products and experiment to find which works best for you.

• Coffee maker: There are products on the market that will remove mineral buildup from your drip coffee maker or you can run a pot of strong vinegar water through your coffee maker on occasion. Refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines.

• Tile, ceramic, and metal: Mineral buildup on tile, ceramic and metal surfaces such as showerheads, sinks, bathtubs, faucet fixtures, and swimming pools will simply require more attention to keep water spotting and filming to a minimum. With most cleaning products, following the manufacturer’s instructions will get the desired results. For heavy scale buildup on tile, ceramics, and porcelain, a pumice stone works nicely.

• Household plumbing: The calcium in hard water can create a thin coating on the inside of your pipes. If your home has lead or copper pipes or pipes with lead solder this coating has a beneficial effect by preventing lead and copper from leaching into your home’s water supply. Mineral buildup in sink aerators may restrict water flow. Simply remove the aerator, clean it with vinegar, and replace.

How does my water rate in terms of hardness?

The water in East Orange and South Orange is Very Hard.


 

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Last modified: 05/19/15