Does Houston Have Hard Water?

Does Houston Have Hard Water

Does Houston have hard water? That is a common inquiry of prospective homeowners in Houston. But many people don’t bother to check these things before moving to new areas and get shocked at the water condition.

Houston has hard water. The average water hardness is 9.9 grains per gallon and 179 parts per million. Texas has the sixth hardest water in the US. Houston’s water is hard because a significant percentage comes from groundwater in areas with limestone and calcium deposits.

Most people that move to Houston come from regions that have soft water or moderately hard water.

Because of its strange composition, the water may taste or feel unfamiliar to them, making it unpleasant to drink or use for bathing.

Fortunately, hard water isn’t bad for you, but it takes a while to get used to. The taste is one of the points that stand out most. But there are other annoying features of hard water that only people who’ve used it know.

This article reviews the drinking water quality in Houston, including its hardness. It also covers water hardness, whether it’s good or bad for you, and what you can do about it. Keep reading to learn all about Houston’s water quality and a lot more.

You may be interested in my article about water hardness in other cities.

How Hard is Houston’s Tap WaterHouston Water is Hard

Houston’s water has an average hardness of 179 parts per million (ppm) as calcium carbonate. This is the same as 9.9 grains per gallon (gpg). Based on these values, Houston has hard water.

Greater Houston has a hardness average of 179 ppm, while areas like Sugar Land have 143 PPM, and Pearland is a measly 88. Areas with soft water, like Pearland, don’t need to care too much about the hard water, but Houston takes the full brunt of the situation.

From a statistical standpoint, that range is quite average for the US since some states have over 200 ppm.

But do not let the average stats fool you. Texas has an average ppm of 200 and is ranked 6th in the US for having hard water. Many areas in Houston have water hardness that is close to the 200 ppm mark, but some places have very little.

On this map, you can look at the water hardness level across the US. As you can see, almost every region in Texas is marked red, which signifies a relatively high hardness level. Houston also falls under that category. But many parts of Houston also have very low levels of hard water.

You wouldn’t find many homes in Houston without dedicated plumbing installations for dealing with hard water. Despite all that, the situation isn’t all that bad. For one, it’s effortless to turn hard water into soft water. And you can benefit from drinking hard water. Most of the minerals present in Houston’s hard water are just magnesium and calcium.

In short, Homeowners must spend a lot on plumbing to keep the mineral sediments in check. Fortunately, the region is filled with plumbing companies that are experts at dealing with hard water.

The table below summarizes the water hardness in Houston and the major cities and towns in Texas.

CityAverage Hardness Calcium Carbonate mg/LAverage Hardness Grains per Gallon
Cedar Park18110.6
College Station7.90.5
Corpus Christi22713.3
Fort Worth1408.2
Grand Prairie1327.8
Little Elm146.58.6
New Braunfels266.515.6
North Richland Hills134.57.9
Round Rock18711
San Angelo28816.9
San Marcos26015.3
Sugar Land1438.4
Texas City20011.7
Table – Water Hardness Values – Cities in Texas

Learn about water hardness in these cities:
Does Los Angeles have hard water?
Does Denver have hard water?

Houston Water SourceHouston Drinking Water Map

Houston gets its water supply from several different sources. The largest ones are the San Jacinto River and Trinity River, which fills Lake Conroe, Lake Houston, and Lake Livingston. The rest of the water comes from aquifers, namely Chicot and Evangeline.

Lake Livingston is a large-scale water reservoir under the jurisdiction of the City of Houston. Most people living near the Trinity River get their water from Lake Livingston. It supplies water for everything, from tap water to water for industrial usage, irrigation, and other purposes.

Lake Houston is one of the two major water reservoirs on the San Jacinto River. Before its construction, the city depended on Sheldon Lake for its primary water supply. Lake Houston is significant and can meet the growing population’s demand much better. However, the San Jacinto River has historically been quite polluted, somewhat affecting the water quality.

Lake Conroe is also on the San Jacinto River and supplies much of Houston’s water. Other than that, there are also a few aquifers. The water from aquifers is the cleanest water you can get since surface pollution can’t reach them. It also carries the most minerals due to staying underground.

What is Hard Water?

Water containing salified magnesium, calcium, and other mineral particles is hard water. Some hard water will turn soft once boiled, but others tend to have a more permanent hardness.

You can classify water as hard when it has many minerals in it. The minerals in different geographic locations vary, as do the minerals in the hard water.

Hard water isn’t physically dense or anything like that. Even with the extra mineral molecules, the water has the same tactile features as what you would expect from any regular clean water. The only thing different about them is the taste; hard water generally has a mineral-like taste.

The minerals in hard water are bad for appliances because they always create thick crusts of minerals on everything.

Many counties in the US have naturally occurring hard water, and Houston is one such region. Any homeowner in Houston needs to know much about hard water, as that severely affects their lives.

How Is Water Hardness Measured?

You can measure water hardness in PPM or GPG. Both are approximate units to measure foreign substances present in water. You can tell it is hard water if the PPM is over 17.

PPM stands for parts-per-million in the case of water. So, 1 PPM means one unit of foreign substance in one million units of water. While this is one of the standard measurement options, it does not accurately portray the exact amount of minerals that cause hardness.

Water can have many types of molecules in them, and some of them do not necessarily cause hardness. In the US, calcium carbonate and small amounts of magnesium are the main culprits behind hard water.

GPG is another unit for measuring the hardness level in the water, which stands for Grains-per-Gallon. GPG is easier to use when talking about more significant quantities of water, but it serves the same purpose as PPM. You can also convert their values back and forth.

You can even measure your water’s hardness level at home. Many shops sell kits for checking water hardness. You can go DIY, too. All it takes is a clear bottle and some soap. Shake your water and soap. The water is likely hard if it doesn’t create a lot of suds.

Why Does Hard Water Have Such a Bad Rep?

The biggest drawback to hard water is how it affects your plumbing system. Hard Water gets its name from the mineral particles in it, and those mineral particles will form layers on literally everything.

Hard water is bad for the plumbing system because it will form layers of sediments inside faucets, showerheads, bidets, and pipes. Water tanks and other reservoirs suffer the most from the onslaught of hard water because the minerals sink all the way to the bottom. You’ll see entire layers of minerals at the bottom of the water tanks.

The water tanks look unsightly with all the rust-colored sediment layers. And hard water can clog your pipeline from the inside, given enough time, which can and will lead to extra plumbing expenses for most people. You’ll also see layers of sediment on your bathroom walls or any place that gets wet often.

The mineral present in hard water also hinders the activation of alkaline properties. That makes hard water react badly with detergent and soap. The alkaline properties of cleaning materials won’t activate properly, which means your soap won’t leather, which decreases the cleaning efficiency. The soap itself will become something you’d need to wash out.

Things can’t wash well with hard water and leave residue on almost everything. You’ll see soap clinging to dishes, detergent not coming out of clothes, and the worst one- shampoo residue sticking to hair.

Hard water is horrible for washing hair. The mineral molecules in the water will stick to the oil in your hair. It will rob their vitality. Your hair will turn dull and rigid after repeated washing. Using shampoo more frequently will wash the mineral out, but shampooing too often isn’t really good for your hair either.

Thankfully, there are ways to turn hard water into soft water, which you will find in the following sections of this article.

Is it Safe to Drink Hard Water?

Hard water isn’t harmful to the human body and, under moderate limits, can provide you with many desirable minerals.

There aren’t many researches pointing towards hard water having other adverse health effects. Quite the contrary, in fact. Studies show better calcium intake in people who drink mineral-rich hard water.

Hard water in most regions generally just contain magnesium and calcium. Calcium is the main element and a lot of salt. So, they usually don’t harm the human body, even if the water’s hardness level is very high. Your body will stop the excess calcium intake through intestinal absorption regulators.

The downside, though, is the taste. Mineral-rich water can have peculiar tastes, and they vary between geographic regions. It’s primarily due to the mineral composition being different in each area. Essentially, hard water tastes like what you’d expect while drinking the water sliding off a stalactite. It has a distinctly earthy and metallic taste.

Some studies show a trend of an inverse relationship between heart-related diseases and hard water. That means even if it doesn’t directly help reduce your chance of cardiovascular disease, it at least won’t cause any.

In short, you have nothing to fear while drinking hard water other than its slightly wonky taste. But that shouldn’t be a deal breaker for most people because that also has potential health benefits.

How to Soften Hard Water

The stopgap method for reducing tap water’s hardness is installing a water softener. A typical water softener is installed where the water line enters your house to provide softening for all of your water. You can install them on the faucets or shower head to treat the water at the point of use.

Water softener for Houston’s hard water

A water softener is the best way to reduce the hardness in your water. If you live in the Houston area, you can check out this whole house water softener from FilterWater.

Crystal Quest Whole House Water Softener

crystal quest water softener from Filter Water
Crystal Quest whole house water softener

CRYSTAL QUEST whole house water softeners are simple to use, dependable, and easy to program. They are engineered for maximum filtration and maximum performance with minimum maintenance to deliver trouble free operation for many years with reliable service. All components are the highest quality in the industry and NSF approved.

Check pricing on FilterWater

3-stage filtration process:

  • First stage, 20″ sediment cartridge that removes sediment, silt, sand and dirt. Also extends the life of water softeners and water filters, and prevents damage to control valves.
  • Second stage, Ion exchange mineral tank and brine water conditioner that contains sation resin media
  • Third stage 20″ solid carbon cartridge for removing Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s), insecticides, pesticides and industrial solvents.


Model/SKU:CQE-WH-01123, CQE-WH-01124 , CQE-WH-01123S
Controller:Fleck 5600SXT Automatic Backwash Control Valve with LED display.
Flow Rate(Gallon-per-Minute):9 gpm for 1 cubic foot tank, 11 gpm for 1.5 cu.ft, 11-13 gpm for 2 cu.ft.
Tank:White fiberglass tank , available in all Stainless Steel (+$500, inquire).
Bypass Valve:3/4″ or 1″ Stainless Steel
Features:Riser style 1″ internal flow distributor.20″ x 50″ (Diameter x Height) Brine water mineral exchange tank.
Media Life:10+ years.
Filters Life:Sediment pre- and carbon block post filter is recommended to be replaced every 3-6 months

Large, system-wide filters protect your water tank or in-door water filters from accumulating sediments. Even if you don’t want to add a home-wide filter, you can still install smaller ones at your faucets and showerheads.


Does Houston have hard water? Yes, it does. In fact, it is quite hard. Depending on where you live, you’ll probably want to install a water softening filter unless you want to deal with rough hair and other inconveniences. But do remember that hard water is not harmful to health, so you can at least drink it without worrying too much.

Boch Richard

Richard Boch is a chemical engineer responsible for designing water filtration systems for industrial and residential customers. He has more than 20 years of experience with ion exchange, activated carbon, and reverse osmosis. Richard's expertise has made him a go-to source for municipalities and businesses looking to improve their water quality. When he's not working, Richard enjoys spending time with his wife and two young children.

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