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Soft vs Hard Water

Apr 05, 2019  |  By Brham Trim (Edmonton)  |  General Plumbing

Dripping faucet 1

Have you ever heard the term 'hard water'? Do you know what it is and what causes it?

How ‘hard’ water is can be measured by the amount of calcium and magnesium minerals present in it. When water travels through rock formations containing limestone and chalk deposits, these minerals are absorbed into the water, adding to its 'hardness'.

Drinking hard water carries no currently known health risks, and certain health benefits are sometimes cited. However, water hardness is linked to soap scum deposits, residue left on clothes and dishes after washing, and can even lead to problems with your home`s plumbing like pipe blockage and heater deficiencies.

Edmonton has moderately hard water averaging at about 9.9 grains per gallon (170 milligrams of calcium carbonate per litre). To put this in perspective, some of the softest tap water in the country can be found in Vancouver, with 0.3 grains per gallon, while Regina has been reported to have 29 gpg!

Water hardness in Edmonton is not typically a concern to most residents, though some choose to have water softeners installed in their houses to help prevent some of the drawbacks to hard water.