Hard Water Facts

 

Minerals in hard water can influence the taste of your household water, and while hard water is perfectly safe to drink, it can leave residue or film on appliances, dishwashers, tubs, sinks, and glassware. New Braunfels Utilities has put together the following information to help customers understand the effects of water hardness.

 

General Questions

 

Answers

DOES NEW BRAUNFELS HAVE HARD WATER?
Yes, the source water for New Braunfels ranges between 13.7 and 17.4 grains per gallon. According to the chart below, it is considered ‘very hard’ water.

WATER HARDNESS CLASSIFICATION GRAINS PER GALLON (GPG) MILLIGRAMS PER LITER (MG/L)
Soft Water 0 - 1 0 - 17.1
Slightly Hard Water 1 - 3.5 17.1 - 60
Moderately Hard Water 3.5 - 7.0 60 - 120
Hard Water 7.0 - 10.5 120 - 180
Very Hard Water > 10.5 > 180
 
WHY IS THE WATER SO HARD?
We use several different sources of water in our service area. Due to local geology, mineral deposits — most often calcium and magnesium — build up in water as it travels through the soil.
 
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE SIGNS THAT I HAVE HARD WATER?
Telltale signs of hard water include:
  • Reduced effectiveness and suds of soaps and detergents
  • Soap scum left on showers, tubs, and sinks
  • Scale buildup on pipes and water appliances
  • Film remains on skin after bathing
 
IS HARD WATER BAD FOR ME TO DRINK?
No, there are no adverse health effects from drinking hard water. In fact, your body needs minerals such as calcium and magnesium, and some studies show that hard water has been linked to lower mortality rates for cardiovascular disease.
 
IF I DON’T LIKE HARD WATER, WHAT CAN I DO?
While it is perfectly safe to use and consume hard water, the most common approach to reducing the hardness of the water in your home is through an ion exchange water softener. Other methods for softening water include reverse osmosis treatment, magnetic filtering, and boiling. Setting your water heater to a lower temperature will help reduce calcium scale buildup as well.
 
HOW DO I SELECT A WATER SOFTENER?
Choose a water softener with sufficient capacity to handle the needs of your household. The average American uses 100 gallons of water a day.

Next, choose the method through which fresh water will be introduced to the system to regenerate the resin beads. Water softener regeneration is most commonly controlled in one of three ways:
  • Timed regeneration
  • Demand-initiated regeneration
  • Metered regeneration

Demand-initiated regeneration is the “smartest” and most efficient of the three methods through which to control water softener regeneration. Using a timer is the most wasteful of water and salt.

As with any other major purchase, a manufacturer’s reputation and available warranties should also affect your purchasing decision. Check online for third-party product reviews or consult the Better Business Bureau for a list of top water softener manufacturers.
 
WHAT SHOULD THE SETTINGS ON MY WATER SOFTENER BE?
Depending on the type of water softener installed at your home, you may need to set it up based on the hardness of the water (we suggest starting at 13 grains per gallon) and the average water usage of your home (typically 100 gallons per person per day). In addition, you should consult and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for your specific type of water softener.
 
DOES CHLORINE HAVE AN EFFECT ON MY WATER SOFTENER?
Yes, it does. New Braunfels Utilities uses a mixture of chlorine and ammonia as its primary disinfectant to help keep our water safe to drink. Over time, chlorine may degrade the performance of your water softener’s resin beads. Some consumers choose to filter water on its way into the softener. New Braunfels Utilities water typically carries a chlorine residual between 2–3 mg/L. Your water softener manufacturer or professional can suggest appropriate in-line chlorine filters.



ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Please visit nbutexas.com/yourwater to see the latest copy of our Consumer Confidence Report, or contact NBU at 830.608.8901.