Is Well Water Hard Water? Water Hardness Problems

Is Well Water Hard Water?

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. So, is well water hard water?

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 – Well Water vs City Water: Which Is Better and Safer?

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.

Topic Information
Definition Hard water is water that contains a high amount of dissolved minerals, particularly calcium and magnesium.
Source Well water is more likely to be hard compared to city water because it passes through mineral-infused rocks and soil before entering the underground water supply.
Signs of Hard Water Spotty dishes, soap that doesn’t lather, dry skin after washing, and white crusts around faucets and showerheads.
At-Home Tests Shake a bottle of one-third well water and a few drops of liquid soap. If there are no bubbles and the water is milky, it is likely hard water. Alternatively, use a hard water strip that can be purchased from the internet or local hardware store.
Health Effects Hard water is safe to drink and may even provide health benefits due to increased mineral intake. However, it can cause aesthetic issues such as dry skin and hair.
Solutions Install a water softener system for a long-term solution. Alternatively, use a vinegar and water solution to rinse dishes and equipment to decrease calcium buildup and spots.


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.

Topic Well Water City/Tap Water
Source Water is located at the bottom of the well and is pumped directly from the source into the home. Water is pumped from deep wells and sent to a treatment lab where it is filtered before being sent into the home.
Hardness More likely to be hard due to exposure to mineral-rich soil and rock. Can be hard or soft depending on the region’s water source and treatment processes.
Testing At-home tests can be conducted to determine if the water is hard. Water quality reports are available to the public, and regular testing is done to ensure the water meets safety standards.
Health Effects Safe to drink, but may cause aesthetic issues such as dry skin and hair. Safe to drink and regularly tested for harmful substances and bacteria.
Maintenance Responsibility of the well user to maintain and test the water quality. Responsibility of the local government or water supplier to maintain and test the water quality.

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 Water Hardness

Look out for some of these signs, below, that can point towards hard water:

  1. Spotty dishes, even after they are rinsed with water.
  2. Soap that does not lather once used with water.
  3. Dry skin after washing or showering.
  4. 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:

  1. Take a clean and empty bottle and add to it one-third of your well water.
  2. Add a few drops of liquid soap. Use a basic soap that’s free of perfume and detergents.
  3. 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:

  1. Purchase a hard water strip from the internet or any local hardware store. They include test strips, and cost under $10.
  2. 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.

What Can You Do?

Hard water can be a nuisance and cause various problems, such as clogged pipes, damaged appliances, and soap scum buildup. This is why many people choose to install water filtration systems to soften their water.

Water filtration systems work by removing the minerals that cause water hardness, making it soft and more enjoyable to use. Soft water is also safer for drinking and can prolong the lifespan of household appliances.

Evaluate your water hardness

Before installing a water filtration system, it’s essential to conduct a water test to determine the level of hardness in your water. This will help you select the appropriate filtration system that can effectively soften your water. Many water testing kits are available for free from local health departments or water treatment companies, and the test itself is simple and straightforward. Once you have determined the hardness level of your water, you can then select the appropriate filtration system to suit your needs and budget, ensuring you can enjoy soft, clean, and safe water for drinking and other household uses.

Install a water softener

Installing a water softener can be an effective solution. A water softener is a filtration system that removes minerals like calcium and magnesium from the water, which cause hardness. By eliminating these minerals, the water becomes soft and more enjoyable to use, providing numerous benefits for both you and your home.

To install a water softener, you’ll first need to choose the right type and size of system for your needs. There are various types of water softeners available on the market, including salt-based, salt-free, and magnetic systems. Each system has its own unique advantages and disadvantages, so it’s essential to research and compare the options before making a final decision.

Once you have selected the appropriate system, you’ll need to install it in your home. This typically involves connecting the system to your water supply line and then programming the unit based on your water hardness level. It’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and ensure that the system is properly maintained to ensure its effectiveness.


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.

Is soft water safe to drink?

Soft water is safe to drink. Soft water is water that has low levels of dissolved minerals, particularly calcium and magnesium. These minerals are typically removed from the water through a process called ion exchange, where the water passes through a resin bed that exchanges the calcium and magnesium ions for sodium or potassium ions.

Final Thoughts

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!

The Filter Guy

Scott Birch is a water filtration installer and designer. He has worked in the industry for many years and is very familiar with and knowledgeable about residential water treatment equipment. Scott enjoys helping people get the most out of their water filtration systems and ensuring that their homes are getting the best possible quality of water.

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