Hard Water is found throughout the world, and in about 85 percent of the United States, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Hard water areas exist where water has access to rock that contains calcium, magnesium, copper, iron, or other mineral deposits. Utah is perfect example of a place containing such minerals.
Natural water from rain is soft by origin. However, once rain water makes contact with earth and rock it dissolves minerals. This water becomes saturated with calcium and magnesium and is referred to as ‘Hard Water’.
The U.S. Department of the Interior established levels for classification of hardness based on the grains per gallon (gpg) concentration of these minerals. A typical aspirin contains about 5 grains of material. If this was dissolved into a gallon of water, it would add 5 gpg of material into the water. Here’s a table showing the degrees of water hardness:
Water Hardness Levels
Grains Per Gallon (GPG) Hardness
1 – 3.5 gpg Slightly Hard
3.5 – 7 gpg Moderately Hard
7 – 10.5 gpg Hard Water
Over 10.5 gpg Very Hard Water
Most water sources in the Wasatch Front are 17-30 gpg!
The Problems of Hard Water
Hard water causes problems when it reacts to soaps and detergents. The reaction forms a curd that is un-dissolvable. This is the residue you see on your dishes, shower glass and fixtures, and the dingy look that appears on your laundry. This curd is even capable of clogging pipes and drainage systems.
When you bathe in hard water, soap and mineral deposits are left on the skin. These minerals can clog skin pores and block the body’s natural oils. Hard water forms scale deposits on water appliances that can decrease their efficiency and even shorten their length of life, costing the homeowner hundreds of dollars in repairs or purchasing new equipment. Hard water deposits that build up in a water heater not only damage the unit, but make them inefficient. Over time, water heaters with hard water take longer to heat up, wasting energy and raising utility costs.