When minerals gets mixed in water the cause the water to become hard which is going to impact the daily household activities from laundering to cleaning to dishwashing and bathing. There are several ways in which you can identify if something is wrong with the water or not. Say for example, if the clothes you wear become scratchy or dingy and feel harsh then you know they have been washed with hard water. On the other hand, you can recognize the dry water marks of hard water on the glasses or dishes you wash. Even you can identify a film on glass shower doors, bathtubs and shower walls etc. Dull hairs are another example of hard water bath.
Household appliances would be using hard water and will ask for maintenance much earlier than anticipated. Recent study was conducted at the New Mexico State University to know the effects of hard water on the performance of electric and gas based water heaters. This study took almost one long year and measured the energy consumption level of around six electric and gas water heaters. All these heaters were taken from Las Cruces, New Mexico which is being in use for last 5 to 15 years. Half of the researcher team used local area's hard water exclusively to base their findings and the other half used the softened water exclusively. The results were very clear as the heaters using hard water sucked more energy than other heaters which were using softened water.
Researchers then removed the sediment and weighted the scale collected in each water heaters. To their surprise the amount of scale collected in those heaters where softened water was used weigh between 1.09 pounds to 4.27 pounds as compared to 3.86 pounds to 40 pounds collected and weighted in hard water heaters.
As everyone knows, scale is a poor heat conductor and in water heaters scale was the factor which was insulating water from heat source. Therefore, the research concluded the fact that in New Mexico, water heaters will scale buildup would take a certain amount of energy and time before delivering hot water than those heater with no scale buildup.
There was another study conducted in the Ohio State University which showed the good use of softened water in daily household activities in-fact takes less time in completing a particular task like cleaning thereby contributing more saving towards cleaning products used. If the cleaning products are important to you, then you should consider using softened water for any household work.
Hardness Level Chart
Measures of Hardness
Hardness is basically a detection of more magnesium and calcium based ions in the water supply. These ions are present as chlorides, sulfates and bicarbonates that cause the water to become hard. Generally, water chemists measure any water impurity in p.p.m (or parts per million). Water hardness is generally expressed as g.p.g (or grains of hardness per gallon of water). You can convert any of these two systems mathematically. Let's say one gain of hardness is nothing but the amount of magnesium and calcium that weights equals to kernel of wheat. You see the following table to get a clear classification of water supplies by Water Quality Research Council.
Visit your local water supply companies to measure an exact amount of hardness in water supply.