How hard is my water and should I use a water softener?
Dissolved minerals make water hard; as the amount of minerals in the water increases, the water becomes harder. Two common minerals found dissolved in drinking water are calcium carbonate and magnesium carbonate. There is usually much more calcium carbonate than magnesium carbonate present in water; therefore, water hardness is reported as the amount of calcium carbonate (CaCO3) dissolved in the water. There are two units of measurement for hardness commonly used in the United States , grains per gallon and milligrams per liter of calcium carbonate (mg/L as CaCO3). The conversion factor is 17.1 mg / L as CaCO3 = one grain of hardness per gallon. Oak Brook's water is about eight grains per gallon or 137 mg / L as CaCO3. Average well water hardness is approximately 20 to 21 grains per gallon or 340 mg / L as CaCO3.

Water softening is the process of removing the minerals from the water and is commonly accomplished by either reverse osmosis filtration or ion exchange. Reverse osmosis filtration units can handle only small volumes of water and is usually performed at a single point of use, such as the kitchen sink. Ion exchange units can handle large volumes of water and are usually installed on the incoming water supply line to a property. Ion exchange systems exchange sodium ions for the calcium and magnesium ions in the water. Medical studies show that people who live in areas with hard water have reduced occurrences of cardiovascular illness compared to people who live in areas with soft water. You should consult your physician before making artificially softened water your primary source of drinking water.

Show All Answers

1. Where does my water come from?
2. What causes the "musty" taste and odor in the water?
3. Why does my water sometimes smell or taste like chlorine?
4. What do you test for in the water?
5. How can I have my water tested?
6. Do water filters work and should I use one?
7. Do I need to treat the water before I use it for my fish?
8. Does the water contain fluoride?
9. How hard is my water and should I use a water softener?
10. Do I have radon in the water?
11. Why does my water get milky white?
12. Why are there water restrictions?
13. Who should I contact for billing questions?
14. Who should I contact about my water pipes or water meter?