Knowing whether the water coming from your well is hard or soft is quite important, since it can be used in a variety of different ways within your home. Hard water can be a nuisance, but it’s better to be sure that it is so that you can take steps to treat it and prevent it from coming back again.
Generally, you will find hard water from within wells. The surrounding ground can be an indicator of the hardness of the water. If the soil around the well is rich in calcium and magnesium, then it is likely that those calcium salts can infuse the water in your well and make it hard.
Well water is more likely to be hard compared to city water. Although softer water is the more preferable choice, hard water is not a concern for your health. You can try several methods at home to determine whether your water is hard or soft. Keep reading to learn more about well water.
Read my article – Is Rain Water Hard Water?
Why Is Well Water Hard?
Hard water is essentially the result of dissolved minerals; namely calcium and magnesium.
Well water is more likely to be hard due to its exposure to the ground. In contrast, lakes are filled mainly by precipitation, making it unlikely that extra minerals will be absorbed into them.
Well water goes through several layers of mineral-infused rocks and soil before making its way to underground water supplies and then, finally, into your home.
This underground exposure to mineral-rich rock causes the water to absorb calcium and magnesium-like minerals along the way, increasing hardness.
This is why the water in a well is not inherently hard, but due to the well’s exposure to soil and rock, the water commonly becomes hard.
Check out my article about water softeners for well water.
Well Water vs. City Water
Well water is pumped directly from the source and enters your home. The initial driller generally tests for toxins or heavy metals; however, after this initial check, all other maintenance is on the well users.
City water, more commonly known as regular water supply, is pumped from deep wells and then sent into a treatment lab. It is filtered before reaching your home.
The filtration process varies from region to region. Generally, the water is tested for harmful substances and cleaned with chlorine to remove bacteria.
Well water and city water have their pros and cons. Ultimately, hard water always creeps into your pipes regardless of what water is used.
How Do We Get Well Water?
Well water comes from…wells! Essentially, the water is located at the bottom of the well. The water reaches the ground due to a layer of water-bearing sediment below the surface. It’s then brought to the surface using pumps or buckets in villages.
Using well water, that may be hard, does have certain drawbacks, such as dry skin. However, well water has a few benefits too; it is fresher and includes minerals so it is good for your health. As a bonus, you can also save money by cutting down on your water bills.
How to Know if Your Well Water Is Hard?
If you suspect the well water in your home is hard, there are a few ways to confirm your suspicions:
Observe Signs of Hard Water
Look out for some of these signs, below, that can point towards hard water:
- Spotty dishes, even after they are rinsed with water.
- Soap that does not lather once used with water.
- Dry skin after washing or showering.
- White crusts around your water faucets and showerheads.
However, these signs are not a guarantee of hard water. There are more detailed ways to know if your well water is hard, as we’ve listed below:
Carry Out At-Home Tests to Determine Hard Water
These are some easy at-home tests, which will determine whether your water is hard:
- Take a clean and empty bottle and add to it one-third of your well water.
- Add a few drops of liquid soap. Use a basic soap that’s free of perfume and detergents.
- Shake the bottle.
If there are a lack of bubbles and the water is milky, it is likely that you have hard water.
Conduct an Advanced Test to Determine Hard Water
If you would like a more advanced method of guaranteeing whether the water is hard or not, you could:
- Purchase a hard water strip from the internet or any local hardware store. They include test strips, and cost under $10.
- Simply dip the water strip in the water and correspond the color to the colors given in the chart with the kit.
This will help you determine whether the water is hard or not.
Can you use hard water?
Hard water is safe to drink. The WHO actually suggests that drinking hard water could be good for your health due to the increased intake of minerals. Hard water does deprive the skin and hair of moisture, causing the skin to dry out or your hair not to feel clean after a wash. However, these are aesthetic issues, and hard water has no confirmed health risk.
How can I get rid of hard water?
The most effective way to soften water is to install a water softener system. This will ensure your water is softer and is a long-term solution that does not require maintenance.
If you are looking for a cheap fix, vinegar reacts to the calcium in hard water. So, you can use a simple one-part vinegar and three-part water solution to rinse dishes and equipment to decrease calcium buildup and spots on dishes.
Read my ultimate guide to water softeners.
If you’re using well water for domestic use, you’re more likely to have hard water. It’s important to know that hard water is only increased minerals that have been infused into your water. Having hard water is not a major concern.
If you believe that your well is providing you with hard water, there are tests you can do to confirm the hardness level of your water. There are several solutions to this issue that include simple remedies such as vinegar or filters for your pipes!