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What is Hard Water and How Can You Test for It?

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What is Hard Water?

Hard water (or water hardness) refers to the mineral content within the water. As water falls from the sky, it is considered soft; this is because it has yet to come in contact with minerals. The water that comes out of the tap has made a long journey to get there, and along the way, it will have picked up any number of contaminants, minerals and heavy metals which effect the “hardness”. This hardness can differ depending on the area and source of the water.

Below is a map of Australia showing the general hardness in each state.

Hardness is determined by the amount of mineral content, this is measured in milligrams per litre.

  • 0 – 60 mg/l, soft
  • 60 – 120 mg/l, moderately hard
  • 120 – 200 mg/l, hard
  • 200 and above, very hard



Signs of hard water

It’s easy to jump to the conclusion that hard water would just taste different, but that’s not necessarily the case. A metallic taste is a strong indicator of hard water, but there are other symptoms that you can keep an eye out for when evaluating hardness:

  • stains on bathtubs or toilets that keep reappearing after cleaning
  • deposits on faucets and fixtures
  • soap scum or residue that is hard to wipe away
  • difficulty effectively washing clothes or dishes
  • running out of hot water too quickly
  • persistently clogged pipes


Is it bad for me?

There are differing opinions on whether hard water is actively harmful to people. What we know for sure is that it’s not good for your fixtures. Limescale and build-up on fixtures are caused by minerals, and that white stuff that bubbles around the bottom of your kettle is a sign that hardness is affecting your appliances. If you’re spending your afternoons wiping down the shower screen, that’s another sign your water is hard.

In the video above, we show you the differences, and best of all this is a test you can perform at home.

Why would you want soft water?

Researchers from the University of Sheffield and King’s College London have discovered that exposing the skin to hard water damages the skin barrier – which is our defence against outside threats such as bacteria or sun burn – and increases the sensitivity of the skin to potential irritants found in everyday wash products such as soap or washing powder. Source: University of Sheffield

Studies show soft water to be beneficial to the skin, especially for people with skin conditions. Our customers often get back to us and tell us the differences it has made in their skin. On top of that, the harder your water is the more difficult it will be to get your hands or hair clean, as you’ll need more soap and shampoo.

In addition to reducing the lifetime of your appliances and fixtures, hard water can lead to blocked pipes and shower heads restricting flow due to ‘scale’ build-up.

What can I do about it?

Our Complete Home Filtration system will not only remove contaminants but also softens your water. Our systems filter to 1 Micron with up to 98.5% chlorine removal, along with other chlorine by-products and a whole range of heavy metals. For more information on our systems click here, or see if you qualify for a FREE test.

We also recommend checking out this article on for more details on the effects of hard water and some helpful tips about water hardness.