The Dilemma of Hard Water from a Private Well
More than 15 million families in the U.S. get their water from wells on their own property. Many thousands of those reside in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
When water testing is done in Loudoun County, VA, on these wells, it is common to find that the groundwater they use is hard. This affects the taste of the water, how it cleans and the long-term damage to pipes.
Here is a look at how to determine the hardness of your well water with water testing in Loudoun County, VA, and how to deal with it.
What Is Hard Water?
Hard water is common in Virginia well water. The term refers to water that is high in minerals, especially dissolved calcium and magnesium. These are naturally occurring and can actually provide some health benefits. They show up in your well because before it reaches your well, it percolates through strata of chalk and limestone, which are composed of calcium and magnesium carbonates.
The good new is that hard water can act as a supplement, giving your body needed calcium and magnesium. Studies have found no correlation between illness and hard water. Research has been done on eczema and cardiovascular disease and no evidence that hardness plays a part in either health problem.
The bad news is that it tastes bad, leaves spots on your glasses, yellows your clothes and can harm your pipes.
How Hard Is Your Water?
The way to find out the level of hardness in your water is with well water testing in Loudoun County, VA. Every well owner needs to do this at least once a year. The company running the test looks for a range of chemicals, contaminants and other measurements, like pH and hardness.
There are two common measurements used for water hardness. The first says if there is at least 131 milligrams of calcium and magnesium per liter of water, your water is considered hard.
The second uses grains per gallon. Water is labeled hard when testing finds the presence of minerals above 1 grain per gallon, called GPG. Water hardness has four levels:
- slightly hard: 1 to 3.5 GPC
- moderately hard: 3.5 to 7 GPG
- hard: 7 to 10.5 GPG
- very hard: 10.5 GPG and higher
Even at the higher levels, the water works fine for keeping plants watered and cleaning the car. But when it comes to use in the house, you will experience more difficulties the harder the water.
For example, dishes and glasses end up with soap scum after you wash them, causing spots that are very difficult to remove. After a bath or shower, you will notice soap scum clinging to your skin. This scum can actually lead to diaper rash and skin irritations. The scum collects in clothing, turning whites to yellow or gray.
The harder the water, the worse it tastes. The flavor is noticeable whether drinking a glass of water or using it in cooking. Your ice cubes will always look cloudy, not clear.
Mineral buildup from hard water can affect appliances and pipes. It can clog water heater coils and components and shorten the productive life of your dishwasher. Eventually that can make your energy bills go up. The buildup can cause problems for the inside of the pipes in your plumbing system.
Water Testing to Find Hardness Levels
Water testing in Loudoun County, VA, checks for a wide range of substances in your well water, including bacteria, nitrates, pesticides, At the same time, they check the pH and the hardness levels.
Because your well water comes straight from the earth, there is a very good chance it is hard. Calcium and magnesium are common minerals in the Northern Virginia region, and in fact, throughout the mid-Atlantic area.
What to Do About Hard Water
If you discover your water has high levels of hardness after water testing in Loudoun County, VA, you can improve the situation. Hard water stays hard in the ground and in your well. But once it reaches your home, you can deal with it by softening the hard water. This is done by filtering the water using the process of reverse osmosis, with a device called a water softener.
This works by replacing the ions in calcium and magnesium with sodium ions. Sodium doesn’t cause soap scum problems or build up in pipes and appliances. Some people like the taste of softened water, others don’t. In most cases, it is at least slightly more tasty than hard water.
There are many water softening devices in the marketplace, in a range of prices. It makes sense to read reviews and get recommendations from friends before investing in one.
Work with Professionals
SES has been serving the communities in Northern Virginia since 1987. In that time, we have earned a solid reputation for excellent customer service and thorough water testing in Loudoun County, VA. The team at SES is trained in the latest methods of environmental assessment and best practices. We have the won the respect of local and state health departments and the Department of Environmental and Natural Resources in Virginia, Delaware and Maryland.
SES is a full-service environmental company, serving many individuals and groups. We regularly work with business owners, realtors, land planners, property developers, architects, lawyers, contractors, government agencies, and property management companies. From sewer installation to storm water problems, SES can help.
Here at SES, we handle a wide variety of environmental projects, governmental, commercial and residential, including:
- Well water testing
- Septic inspection, installation, maintenance and repair
- Petroleum tank removals, inspections and installations
- Petroleum contamination cleanup
- Storm water structure inspection, reporting and maintenance
- Soil investigations for onsite systems
- Conventional and alternative septic system design
- Monitoring well installation and sampling
- Expert witness testimony
- Corrective action plans
- Environmental site assessments
- Operations and maintenance contracts
Call the professionals at SES today for a free, no-obligation quote for water testing in Loudoun County, VA.