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Thread: Where is the best place to get water hardness tested?

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member mooch91's Avatar
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    Default Where is the best place to get water hardness tested?

    Where is the best place to get my water hardness tested? I've got some few-year old tests from when my well was tested, one at 180 mg/L, the other at 242 mg/L. I'm looking for a quick-and-dirty test; didn't want to have the battery of tests done on the well.

    I've used the larger number to size and program my softener but would like a more current data point.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    DIY Member teve's Avatar
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    I had my water (softened and not softened) tested a few times before getting a new softener and a couple times after. I would think softener dealers should be able to test it for free. Sears will test it for free and maybe other places that sell softeners. For me they all agreed within a couple of grains.

    But one of the "big box" stores that tested my water with two different kits (of the same type) and got different results, both being very different and way too high, compared to lower numbers a couple months earlier from the same place. I don't know what they did wrong, but the guy said the time of year and city pipes can make a big difference by adding hardness which I highly doubt. I was told by the city all the wells are blended.

    You might consider going to two or three places to be sure and checking with your city as to what range you should expect.
    Last edited by teve; 12-20-2011 at 09:21 PM.

  3. #3
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Until the 'city' guys realize there is a problem that causes them to shut down a well or other water source and replace the volume, you can get much harder water than their 'blended water hardness.

    You can check your annual water quality report form them or found on their web site as to how hard their water is. They post it as a range. You should size and program for their highest hardness.

    Other sources of water tests.... Most all hardware or big box stores have water test kits or buy one online. Or find a local lab and pay them to do it. But don't use the current hardness to size or program a softener because city water hardness varies from time to time.
    Gary Slusser Retired (= out of business)
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    CAUTION, as of Nov 12 2013 all YouTube videos showing how to rebuild a Clack valve have an error in them that can cause damage.

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    DIY Member teve's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Slusser View Post
    Until the 'city' guys realize there is a problem that causes them to shut down a well or other water source and replace the volume, you can get much harder water than their 'blended water hardness.
    The original poster mentioned he has his own well, but I am assuming the city water department should still know what aquifer he is on and in what range the hardness should be. I would probably trust the results of a single paid test, but after my experience, if the first free test is outside the range of what the city says, I would get two more independent free tests.
    Last edited by teve; 12-21-2011 at 12:07 PM.

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    In the Trades Tom Sawyer's Avatar
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    Here's what you do. You call up Culligan and Kinetico, get their guy to come out and test your water and try and sell you stuff. Then you take their test results and buy the stuff yourself. LOL (if you do this, beware that quite often their results will be directly connected to the amount of money they think they can get off you in equipment and service contract sales )
    [B]No, plumbing ain't rocket science. Unlike rocket science, plumbing requires a license[B]

  6. #6
    DIY Member teve's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Sawyer View Post
    ...their results will be directly connected to the amount of money they think they can get off you
    When the "big box" store tested my 18 gpg city water and got a reading of 50 at one time, I wondered if someone might have diluted the stuff in the "drop counting" bottle. I hope no softener dealer would do such a thing. But then they might easily oversize anyway.

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    In the Trades Tom Sawyer's Avatar
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    Well there are a lot of "some's good, more's better" guys out there no doubt.
    [B]No, plumbing ain't rocket science. Unlike rocket science, plumbing requires a license[B]

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    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by teve View Post
    The original poster mentioned he has his own well, but I am assuming the city water department should still know what aquifer he is on and in what range the hardness should be. I would probably trust the results of a single paid test, but after my experience, if the first free test is outside the range of what the city says, I would get two more independent free tests.
    I was replying to your post about city water, not his about his well water.
    My experience is different than "Tom's". most times national brand guys sell too small, not too large. Same goes for online sales.
    Gary Slusser Retired (= out of business)
    Click Here to learn how to correctly size or program a water softener.
    CAUTION, as of Nov 12 2013 all YouTube videos showing how to rebuild a Clack valve have an error in them that can cause damage.

  9. #9
    In the Trades Tom Sawyer's Avatar
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    Hence forth all attempts at jocularity shall be met with stern reproach.
    [B]No, plumbing ain't rocket science. Unlike rocket science, plumbing requires a license[B]

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    DIY Member teve's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Slusser View Post
    I was replying to your post about city water, not his about his well water.
    Some of your comments, it seemed, could have been directed at testing well water. I was just suggesting that the city could still have aquifer data that could be applicable.

  11. #11
    DIY Member teve's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Slusser View Post
    Until the 'city' guys realize there is a problem that causes them to shut down a well or other water source and replace the volume, you can get much harder water than their 'blended water hardness.
    What kind of problem with a water well would cause its water to increase so much in hardness as to make blended water much harder? Is it something happening within the aquifer or something with the pipes going down to it?

  12. #12
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Wells used for 'city water' are much larger diameter and very deep; like over a thousand feet plus in many cases. Their recovery rate is usually in the high hundreds of gallons per minute. When the recovery rate falls, the pump quits, etc, etc, the well is usually shut down for the repair or for rehabilitation or shut down permanently or used sparingly.

    It is not that the well's water changes hardness, although sometimes it does because of drought or rainy periods or new wells being drilled or blasting etc..

    Most cities have many wells, Rochester MN had 36 wells about 12 years ago and a few surface water sources. A city mixes/blends various waters to get the hardness, pH etc. they want or need to meet certain regs. When a well goes down they can have an increase of hardness in their system, that's why they state the range of hardness in their annual report from the low to high in their system.

    And that is why softners on 'city' water should be sized and programmed for the highest water in the city system; instead of using a test result of the water.

    I doubt a city water company would know much about private residential well water quality simply because they have no need for the info and residential type wells are rarely into any deep aquifer such as their wells are.
    Gary Slusser Retired (= out of business)
    Click Here to learn how to correctly size or program a water softener.
    CAUTION, as of Nov 12 2013 all YouTube videos showing how to rebuild a Clack valve have an error in them that can cause damage.

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