What Is Water Hardness?
The hardness of any supply water is determined by the contents of calcium and magnesium compounds, which exists to some degree in all natural waters. The hardness in well water is usually higher than that of surface water. Calcium and magnesium can combine with bicarbonates, sulfates, chlorides, and nitrates to precipitate as solids mineral salts make water more basic and corrosion aggressive on many materials.
Hard water is responsible for the formation of lime scaling in pipes, utensils, water heaters, boilers, HVAC systems, etc., causing inefficiency and sometimes permanent damage. Scale acts as an insulation material, thus lowering heat transmission and often causing premature heater failure due to overheating of the metal.
The presence of salts in lime scale deposits is one of the most common cause of corrosion, which cause damages in water pipelines and boilers. Any descriptive or numerical classification of hardness of water is rather arbitrary. A water that is termed hard in some areas may be considered soft in other areas.
As a general guide the following parameters may be used.
Soft : less than 60 ppm (as calcium carbonate)
Moderately hard : 60-120 ppm
Hard: 120-180 ppm
Very hard : above 180 ppm
Measurement of water hardness and either conductivity or total dissolved solids (by TDS/conductivity meters) is also performed before any softening treatments. During the water softening processes, carbonates are substituted by sodium, which does not alter the total concentration of dissolved solids.
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