Water Care: Hardness and Softness

flowing waterHardness and softness have been used to describe water for generations. Up until the last 100 years, well water was the only source around and what you got was what you had to live with. Then water softeners were introduced in the early 1900s. Hard water doesn’t form suds. It leaves bathtub rings. If it contains a lot of iron, it can even stain your clothes.

Hardness is caused by minerals in the water, including calcium, magnesium, iron, aluminum, manganese, strontium, or zinc. Because calcium accounts for 75% of the hardness in water, scientists have set a scale called Calcium Hardness so they can give it a number and provide a recipe to balance it.

Soft water feels better on your skin. However, it also promotes sudsing action. In fact, it’s almost impossible to rinse off soap in a shower that has soft water. Thus the need for fabric softener in washing machines. Treated water, such as from municipal water plants, are already softened with much of the calcium and other mineral salts removed.

So, city water should be ok, right? 

It’s not as simple as that.

The fact is, water wants to be hard. In the hot tub industry, soft water is called hungry water or aggressive water. It wants to eat up minerals to make itself hard again. Plaster, concrete, steel, copper, aluminum, iron, and copper are all meat and potatoes to hungry water. This means your hot tub equipment can be at risk—your pump, fittings, jets, everything made of minerals.

That’s why it’s important to maintain a balance of Total Alkalinity, pH, Total Dissolved Solids, and temperature to extend the life of your hot tub. Clear water can be too soft, filled with bacteria, and totally out of balance.

The only way to be sure where you are in water hardness is testing. Be sure to test your water regularly and follow the recipe for maintaining balance in your hot tub so you can enjoy your hot water experience for years to come.

If you’re our hot tub customer, bring your water sample into Clearwater Spas for a free test on our electronic equipment as well as help with how much of each water care product you should add to your hot tub. We’ll help you get balanced and get back into the hot tub.

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