How to Measure the Hardness of Water
Water hardness test procedures & water mineral content tests
WATER HARDNESS: HOW TO MEASURE - CONTENTS: How is Water Hardness Measured? Table of water hardness data, measurements and numbers. What does "grains of hardness" mean? How to use a simple soap test to measure the grains of hardness of your water supply
. Where to buy Water Test Kits & Guide to Using a Water Hardness Test Kit. Measuring Water Hardness to Test Water Softener / Water Conditioner Operation using Water Hardness Test Tablets. A survey of different methods & prices for water hardness testing and we include description of the different tests, their technology, and their application
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How to test water hardness & how to measure it using test strips, a water hardness soap test solution and other methods.
This article explains how to measure water hardness or grains of hardness: a measure of water mineral content. We provide a table of water hardness measurements and we discuss different methods for measuring water hardness including a simple soap test.
Electronic instruments can also measure water hardness but are a cost that most homeowners can eschew given the very low, even free costs of other water hardness test methods.
We give references on where to buy water low-cost but quite effective water hardness tests and we describe how various water hardness test kits are used and how to choose among them.
How to Measure Water Hardness: how many grains of hardness is found in your water?
Definition of hard water
As we explain in more detail at WATER SOFTENERS & CONDITIONERS, Water "hardness" refers to the level of unwanted minerals, principally calcium and magnesium, found in your water supply.
Hard water is an aesthetic issue (poor lathering, spots on dishes) and a mechanical issue (clogged pipes, expensive repairs, poor washing machine performance) but it is not a health concern.
Photo at left: lime scale fragments collected from a water heater. [Click to enlarge any image]
Hard water is found only in certain neighborhoods and usually only on private water supplies from a local well or wells.
At DETECT HARD WATER we describe how to visually detect that your water is high in mineral content or "hard".
How is water hardness measured?
Water hardness is measured in "grains" per gallon, in
milligrams of calcium (Ca) per liter, or water hardness may be expressed in ppm - parts per million, and also in German Degrees of Hardness (dH) [which we drop here as this is for fish tanks].
You can take a water sample to a water test lab to have its hardness measured, but it is also trivially easy to measure the hardness of water yourself, as we explain here.
Readers whose water is acidic or corrosive rather than "hard" and readers needing to know about the Langelier Saturation Index or LSI should see CORROSIVITY or ACIDITY of WATER.
How to convert among different water hardness measures:
Water with hardness of 25 ppm = 25 mg. of hardness-causing minerals per liter of water.
Table of Degrees of Water Hardness
0-17.1 mg/L of minerals
Slightly hard water
16.1-60 mg/L of minerals
Moderately hard water
61-120 mg/L of minerals
121-180 mg/L of minerals
Very hard water
more than 180 mg/L of minerals
- adapted from web search Wikipedia 01/31/2011
You can compare the water hardness range above with the water hardness test sensitivity of the various water hardness tests listed later in this article.
We repeat this table with more details, below where we show other measures of water hardness..
Use this simple soap test to measure the grains of hardness of your water supply
You will need:
a small glass bottle with a tight cap, or a water hardness test kit bottle that is of an ideal size and has a water level line mark on it.
any measuring device such as a measuring cup marked in ml, cc's or ounces, or a 12-oz drinking glass
Water hardness can be easily measured using a simple soap test kit that will measure in "grains of hardness"
(a little bottle with a line marked on it which you
fill to the line with water, add a drop of soap, and shake to look for suds. More drops of soap - more degrees of hardness).
The very crude do-it-yourself water hardness test method that some folks try is just adding dish soap to 12-oz of tap water (the left two columns in our table below). In our OPINION this is a very crude test and you'd be better off obtaining a free or low-cost but more accurate water hardness test from one of the sources listed below at Water Test Kits & Guide
Water Hardness Measurements - How to Use the Home Soap Test Method for Water Hardness
Test Water Volume - crude test
Soap drops - crude test
Grains/gallon GPG of Water Hardness
Water hardness in parts per million in milligrams per liter
Softness of the Water
0 - 1
1 - 3.5
17.1 - 60
3.5 07/13/2010 - 07.0
60 - 120
7.0 - 10.5
120 - 180
10.5 & higher
180 & over
NOTE: 1 German degree of hardness dH = 17.5 ppm. For fish tanks, 200-300 ppm is considered "hard", 300-500 ppm "very hard" and over 500 ppm "extremely hard" water.
Sources of Water Test Kits & Guide to Using a Water Hardness Test Kit
Water hardness test kits may use water hardness test tablets or paper test strips (see below).
When mixed with (a test tablet) or wet by (a test strip such as those shown at left) water of a specified volume (fill the test bottle with the specified amount dictated by the test kit instructions or to the line marked on the test bottle), the water in the bottle plus test tablet changes color (green or red, for example) or the test strip changes color (on a scale, for example) that is compared to a standard provided with the kit.
Other simple test kits provide a small glass bottle with a line marked on it and intended for use with dishwasher soap. One drop dish soap at a time. More soap drops = harder water.
our Total Water Hardness Test Kit at Sears where water softeners were sold.
Or the hardness of your water may be measured at no charge if you ask the local water treatment company to take a look.
A typical water hardness test kit that uses water strips provides with each strip a color chart. Match the color on the strip (after you wet it with your test water) against the color chart to see the hardness of your water sample, measured in ppm or gains. A typical water hardness test kit strip measures hardness from 0-1000 ppm or from 0-59 grains of hardness.
Potable Water Hardness Test Kits: sources, features, costs: soap, strips, electronic hardness testers
Here we describe different methods & prices for building water supply hardness testing and we include description of the different tests, their technology, and their application.
[These water tests are available at Amazon.com through links given here, from the companies and producers listed here, and from other suppliers]
Watch out: a general search for "water test kit" or "water hardness test kit" will list kits and tests that may not match your application. Don't order an aquarium test kit or a swimming pool test kit if your need is to test building drinking water or potable water supply. The test criteria, methods, and standards may be quite different.
Aquamerck® Mercks total hardness & oxygen content "rapid tests" using the titrimetric method with dropping bottle or titration pipettes for accuracy. Contact Merck or EMD Chemicals in the U.S. or other countries. Merck & Co., Inc. Global Headquarters, One Merck Drive, P.O. Box 100, Whitehouse Station, NJ 08889-0100 USA, Phone: 908-423-1000 - http://www.merck.com/
Culligan TK-2 Water Test Kit (less than $10. U.S.), includes test bottle, tablets, test strips, instructions. 15-minutes to complete the water analysis testing and determine the chlorine, chloramine, iron, nitrates, hardness, and ph levels.
Diamond Crystal Water Softening Products: free water hardness test kit: Tel: 800-428-4244. Website: http://www.diamondcrystalsalt.com/. Note: The free test kit distributed by Diamond C.W.S.contains one Hach SofChek test strip which we describe immediately below.
Measures well water or potable water hardness in range of 0-425 ppm. Each test strip measures 5 parameters and gives results in a color- change that is matched to references on the bottle label: Free Chlorine (0-4 ppm), Total Chlorine (0-10 ppm), Total Hardness (0-425 ppm - 0-25 grains per gallon of water), Total Alkalinity (CaCO3 0-240 ppm), and pH (6.4 - 8.8). OPINION: Hach is a long-established, reputable water test kit manufacturer; we use this kit - Ed.
HM Digital produces a wide range of testing equipment and monitoring equipment. HM Digital, Inc.
5819 Uplander Way
Culver City, CA 90230
U.S.A., Website: http://www.tdsmeter.com
Watch out: "Water purity" expressed in parts per million of particulates does not measure water safety, hardness, bacterial nor chemical contaminants.
Home Water Quality Test Kit, ($41. U.S.), Industrial Test Systems, Inc., ITS produces water test kits & test equipment, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Website: http://www.sensafe.com/home.php,
most expensive test kit in this list, measures for Bacteria, Nitrates, Nitrites, Hydrogen Sulfide, Total Hardness, Total Alkalinity, Total Chlorine, Free Chlorine, Chloride, Copper, Sulfate, Iron, & pH. Industrial Test Systems, Inc., 1875 Langston Street, Rock Hill, SC, 29730 | Toll Free: (800) 861-9712.
Watch out: independent of the actual test reliability, some state health departments (e.g. New York) may not accept as valid the type of bacteria test provided
Watch out: this is an example of a special use product that is not intended for potable water testing.
PurTest 8-in-1 Iron Hardness Water Test Kit, PurTest, ($16. U.S.), Quoting "PurTest 8-in-1 Iron Hardness Water PLUS Test Kit includes: 3 different foil packet with 2 strips on each packet Test pads Test vial Press on cap",
tests for Alkalinity, Copper, Hardness, Iron, Nitrates, Nitrites, pH. American Water Service, LLC, Matthews NC, U.S.A., Tel: 800-788-4825, Website: http://www.purtest.com/ Email: email@example.com
Sears, Roebuck & Co., (Kenmore) Free water test. Sears offers free water testing to its customers, testing for hardness, acidity, and clarity.
Website: http://www.kenmorewater.com/ Kenmore Water Telephone: 1-800-426-9345. Most Sears stores will provide a sterile water sampling bottle at no charge.
Fill the bottle with tap water from your building and return it to Sears for a free "in-store" analysis. Or use your own sterile (clean) glass jar with a secure lid, collecting 4 ounces of tap water for this test. Sears will report Hardness in grains per gallon or GPG, clarity (iron or color or sediment), and acidity of your water sample.
A reader comments were critical of a lack of precision in this test with an uncertainty of at least 200 ppm [Jan 2011]; others complained that test strip colors did not resemble the color chart. Easy to use.
Water Hardness Test Kit, Taylor K-0432, Reagent Pack, Buret, Hardness (calcium/magnesium/total), EDTA, 1 mL = 1 mg CaCO₃
This very thoroughly supplied test kit contains ten components and is designed for expert-level testing of the hardness level of potable water. Like the test reagent discussed next, this kit uses drop count titration for a very accurate hardness measurement. We discuss this kit in more detail below. 
Water Hardness Test Reagent, Taylor R-0012 - 0.75 oz bottle (least expensive test kit in this list but this product contains only the reagent. You'll need instructions and a 3/4 oz test bottle).
Note that this test kit, sold online at Amazon for "water testing" may be designed to measure calcium levels as necessary for maintaining pools and spas.  Discussed in more detail below.
This test allows determination of the need to treat the water to prevent calcium carbonate build up and to monitor the ongoing efficacy of the treatment used.
The Tester consists of a roll of Lo Range test paper with a color match chart reading in increments of 0, 5, 10 and 20 gr/gal as calcium carbonate and a wider range roll of test paper with a color match chart reading in 10, 20, 30, 40 and 50 gr/gal of water hardness.
Roll Length: 180 inches. Total Range: 0-50 gr/gal. Micro Essential Labs #: WHT-050. "
This test allows determination of the need to treat the water to prevent calcium carbonate build up and to monitor the ongoing efficacy of the treatment used.
The Tester consists of a roll of test paper sufficient for approximately 180 tests and a color match chart reading in increments of 0, 5, 10 and 20 gr/gal as calcium carbonate. Total Range: 0-20 gr/gal. 1 Roll/Dispenser; 10 /Carton. Micro Essential Labs #: SWT-125."
Watersafe WS425B Drinking Water Test Kit, Watersafe (less than $20. U.S.), tests for Chlorine, Bacteria (?? methodology not stated), Lead, Hardness, Nitrates/Nitrites (fertilizers, animal waste, potentially sewage effluent), pesticides, ten minutes, Quoting: "This WaterSafe kit identifies harmful levels of bacteria and lead in your water.
Watersafe test kits are easy-to-use and produce results on the spot. Tests bring the accuracy of laboratory procedures into any home or business.
Contains one-step water testing kits: Lead kit can detect dissolved lead at levels below the EPA Action level of 15 parts per billion (ppb); bacteria kit can detect the presence of Coliform Bacteria in your water.
Get results in only 10 minutes with easy to follow directions and no mixing or measuring."
Producer: Discover Testing.com, Silver Lake Research Corporation,
P.O. Box 686,
Monrovia, CA 91017 Tel: 888-438-1942, Website: http://www.discovertesting.com/,
Watersafe WS425W Well Water Test Kit, Watersafe, ($25.), Quoting: a single-use kit made for testing well water that will detect coliform bacteria, pesticides, nitrates, lead, iron, chlorine, copper and hardness. Includes an instruction manual and EPA drinking water standards.
Easy to use, with results on the spot."
Watch out: "bacteria test" may include non-coliform bacteria as well as coliform bacteria, so it is a general indicator, not a comprehensive test.
Watts Premier 173006 All-In-One Water Test Kit, Watts Premier, ($32. U.S.), color coded test strips, 2 tests for most items, 1 test for some - see this quote: "This test also contains the only available EPA-approved free chlorine test strip on the market! This Water Quality Test Kit includes: * Free Chlorine - 2 tests * Total Chlorine - 2 tests * Chloride - 2 tests * pH - 2 tests * Total Alkalinity - 2 tests * Total Hardness - 2 tests * Nitrate - 2 tests * Nitrite - 2 tests * Iron - 2 tests * Sulfate - 2 tests * Hydrogen Sulfide - 2 tests * Copper - 2 tests * Lead - 1 test * Pesticide - 1 test * Bacteria - 1 test",
Watts Premier produces a large range of water testing systems, water filtration, water treatment, reverse osmosis, etc.
Watts Premier, Inc.
8716 W Ludlow Dr Ste 1
Peoria, AZ 85381, Tel: 800-752-5582, Website: https://www.wattspremier.com/ Watch out: "bacteria test" may include non-coliform bacteria as well as coliform bacteria, so it is a general indicator, not a comprehensive test.
Well Water Test Kit, WellSafe, ($25. U.S.), Quoting, "... test quickly and easily for the most common contaminants found in private well water, including: iron, copper, lead, bacteria, pesticides, nitrates, nitrites, chlorine, pH and hardness."
Note: We were unable to identify the producing company for this product.
What's the difference between using a total water hardness test strip kit and using the "true calcium" liquid reagent drop count titration method?
Water hardness or other water test kits are used in a very wide variety of applications beyond simply checking a drinking water supply.
Some other uses include balancing the water hardness of pools and spas, testing the condensate in a steam boiler system or in water operated cooling towers, and checking the proper operation of water softeners.
A difference between this calcium test using the dropcount titration method and total hardness test kits that use a test strip is that the test strips only measure total water hardness - which is perfectly fine for examining a residential water supply.
But for measuring water hardness when maintaining a pool or spa, you need to measure calcium hardness specifically. That measurement requires the drop count titration method described next. Quoting from Taylor who explains the difference in exquisite detail:
... whereas test strips for total hardness have just four or five color blocks to cover a tremendously wide range—from 0 to 1,000 parts per million (ppm) with color blocks for 0, 100, 250, 500, 1,000, for instance—a drop test will allow you to approach the true concentration of calcium hardness in 10-ppm increments. This means if you're faced with wanting to balance water in a spa by increasing the calcium hardness from 60 ppm to 150 ppm, the strip can't help but the drop test can.
Water Hardness Test Kit, Taylor K-0432, Reagent Pack, Buret, Hardness (calcium/magnesium/total), EDTA, 1 mL = 1 mg CaCO₃This very thoroughly supplied test kit contains ten components and is designed for expert-level testing of the hardness level of potable water. Like the test reagent discussed next, this kit uses drop count titration for a very accurate hardness measurement. Quoting from Taylor:
Hardness in water was originally defined as a measure of
the water's ability to precipitate soap. In current practice it
is considered to be the sum of the calcium and magnesium ions in
water, expressed as milligrams per liter (mg/L) or parts per
million (ppm) as calcium carbonate.
The modern way to test for hardness is by titration with
EDTA (ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid), an organic chelating
agent which reacts with both calcium and magnesium ions. When
all calcium and magnesium ions are complexed, the excess EDTA
reacts with an indicator to give a characteristic blue color,
which is the endpoint.
For potable water testing Taylor also provides tests for water alkalinity, water pH, Nitrites, Nitrite, Permanganate (testing water treatment equipment that removes sulphur odors), Sulfites, Iron, Copper, Chlorine, Bromine, Acidity, and a nearly endless catalog of additional water tests and water test methods.
Water Hardness Test Reagent, Taylor R-0012 - 0.75 oz bottle (least expensive test kit in this list but this product contains only the reagent. You'll need instructions and a 3/4 oz test bottle). Note that this test kit, sold online at Amazon for "water testing" may be designed to measure calcium levels as necessary for maintaining pools and spas.
How to use the Taylor R-0012 water hardness test kit - drop count titration method
This water hardness test method uses a water hardness reagent, an organic chelant solution whose principal ingredient is Ethylenediaminetetra- 60-00-4 <5 Irritant
acetic acid. The reagent is added drop by drop to a quantity of test water and the user looks for a permanent color change in the water test sample. By using the Taylor R-0012 0.75 oz test bottle and filling the bottle to a mark provided on that container you can be assured that you are using the proper test volume. In discussing water hardness testing (calcium level) in a discussion of pools and spas, Taylor adds these details:
The color progression in a hardness test is from red, to a mixture of red and blue, to blue. To be certain the color change is permanent, indicating you have reached the true endpoint, add one more drop of titrant. If the blue color remains unchanged, do not count this drop.
Taylor also warns about water hardness tests (using a reagent and drop count titration) that produce a "fading endpoint" - the color ends at purple rather than blue due to contamination of the test water by metal ions. The company provides a procedure for adjusting the process if this happens during your test.
Store your reagent between 36-85 degF., keep it out of direct sunlight, and avoid abrupt temperature changes that can cause reagent deterioration. Handle appropriately. Like many acid reagents the liquid can be a skin or eye irritation. Taylor's website provides an MSDS if you need it. More information is available from the manufacturer, Taylor Technologies  whose contact information is at our references section below.
Measuring Water Hardness to Test Water Softener / Water Conditioner Operation using Water Hardness Test Tablets
If you need to confirm that your water softener equipment is working properly you will want to measure the hardness or mineral content of your water supply taken at a plumbing tap (sink faucet) located after or "downstream from" the water softener. The following procedure is adapted from IBC [using "water hardness tablets" and other water conditioner installation manuals.
There are three conceptual data points you might want to test:
incoming water hardness - take a water sample from a tap that bypasses or is before the water softener
water hardness after a water softener regeneration or "backwash" cycle
water hardness a day or more after a backwash cycle, or each day of normal water usage in the building between one backwash cycle and the next one - this can confirm that the settings on the water conditioner controls, including regeneration or backwash cycle frequency are adequate.
Collect a water sample to be tested from a tap after the water softener if you are performing test #2 or 3 above.
Place 10 ml of water into a clean plastic bottle - choose a plastic bottle of about 30 ml capacity so that your water sample will fill the bottle to 1/3 full.
If working with an IBC water conditioner test kit, add one "Yes/No" tablet to the water sample and shake the sample until the tablet has dissolved completely.
Watch out: do not touch the Yes/No tablet with your fingers, or if you accidentally have done so, stop and wash your hands thoroughly. And don't put your finger in your eye or mouth.
Check the color of the water sample. If it is green (of any shade) the water is below 20 mg/L of hardness. If the water sample is red the hardness is 20 ppm or above.
Note: if your incoming water is very high in hardness, the water softener may not be able to drop the hardness level to below 20 mg/L - consult your water softener company for advice. 
Electronic Instruments for Testing Water Hardness: Colorimeter, Ion Detector, other
Electronic instruments can also measure water hardness but are a cost that most homeowners can eschew given the very low, even free costs of other water hardness test methods. But since some fellows complained about feeling left out:
Dwyer Test Intstruments: Website; http://www.dwyer-inst.com
Hach, whom we cite for a wide range of water testing equpment & methods includintg the original Hach Test Kit, Website: http://www.hach.com/hardnessguide The company can provider a colorimeter that can measure very low hardness levels in very soft water and they provider an Ion-selective electrode such as their ISE25Ca Calcium electrode
LaMotte Company, 802 Washington Ave [PO Box 329], Chestertown, MD 21620, USA, Tel: 410-778-3100. Website: http://www.lamotte.com
LaMotte provides water hardnerss measurement equipment: Website: http://www.lamotte.com. LaMotte provides a helpful comparison between water hardness measurement using instruments and water hardness measurement using test strips:
Instrument Measurement of Water Hardness: A colorimeter passes a white light beam through an optical filter which transmits only one particular color or band of wavelengths of light to the photodetector, where it is measured. The difference in the amount of colored light transmitted by a colorless sample (blank), and the amount of colored light transmitted by a colored sample, is a measurement of the amount of colored light absorbed by the sample. In most colorimetric tests, including hardness, the amount of colored light absorbed is directly proportional to the concentration and is reported by the meter.
Test Strip Measurement of Water Hardness:Test strips are typically produced from plastic, with chemically impregnated pads on the end. These pads are designed to react with specific ions and produce a specific color change. Once a test strip is reacted and a color is developed, the strip is then compared to a printed color chart. The color chart is specifically designed to represent color reactions at various concentrations. Matching the strip to the closest color match produces a concentration reading. - retrieved 12/11/2014, original source: http://www.lamotte.com/en/blog/test-factors/75-measuring-water-hardness
Watch out: there are some low cost but poor-functioning meters & test instruments we see for sale at auction and stores offering devices that may "work" but may not be suitable if accuracy is important.
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how to use the Taylor R-0012 water hardness test kit
How do I test for water hardness using Taylor R-0012 - 0.75 oz bottle? - Jim 7/27/2012
Jim the Taylor R-0012 -0.75oz bottle method for testing water hardness uses a combination of a bottle with a fill-level marking (0.75 oz) and a bottle of liquid reagent. The reagent is added to the test bottle and you watch for a color change. The number of drops to obtain the final color change translates into degree of hardness according to instructions packed with the reagent and kit.
In the article above on testing water hardness we have added more water test details from Taylor. Taylor explains that each test kit comes with detailed instructions.
Unfortunately the Taylor company's website when we last visited (July 2012) was challenging: we found it impossible to access the documents that were listed in some drop down menus. Better to contact the company directly 800-TEST KIT (837-8548), with your questions.
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Questions & answers or comments about how to measure the hardness or mineral content of water
Use the "Click to Show or Hide FAQs" link just above to see recently-posted questions, comments, replies, try the search box just below, or if you prefer, post a question or comment in the Comments box below and we will respond promptly.
 North Dakota Standards for Water Softeners, North Dakota General Authority Law, Chapter 62-04-08, Water Softener Units http://www.legis.nd.gov/information/acdata/pdf/62-04-08.pdf. "The objective of this chapter is to provide a standard of quality, capacity,
and performance for water softener units. Water softener performance
is to be based upon referee tests procedures described in section
 Culligan Mark 10 Water Softener 1994-1998 Installation and Operating Instructions (covering models manufactured after 1995) (1-96) 01881948.pdf available from www.culligan.com
 Water Softeners, CMHC, Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation, cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en/co/maho/wawa/wawa_005.cfm - October 2008. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation acknowledges the contribution of Health Canada to the development of this document. For further questions regarding water treatment and water quality, contact Health Canada at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 613-957-2991 or 1-866-225-0709.
 "Commercial Water Softener Installation and Operating Instructions", IBC Filtration & Water Treatment Products (Australia) for commercial, industrial and residential application www.ibcwater.com.au (07) 3219 2233
 "Non electric water softener,
Installation and Operating Instructions", IBC Filtration & Water Treatment Products (Australia), op.cit.
 "Water Softener Twin Tank Installation and Operating Instructions", IBC Filtration & Water Treatment Products (Australia), op.cit.
 Our Water Hardness Table used at originated with but was edited and added to from http://www.bestfish.com/tips/110598.html and also from http://www.water-research.net/hardness.htm
 Water Softener with Microprocessor: Installation & Operating Instructions, IBC Filtration & Water Treatment Products (Australia), IBC Water, Ltd., 18 Dividend Street, Mansfield Qld 4122, Postal Address:
PO Box 2247, Mansfield BC, Qld 4122 Australia, Tel: Sales/Service: 1-300-166-253; Tel: (07) 3347 1600 Int. +61 7 3347 1600, Facsimile: (07) 3219 2266 Int. +61 7 3219 2266,
Email: email@example.com , web search 01/31/2011, original source: http://www.ibcwater.com.au/zone_files/PDF/as0922mp-cl.pdf
 Taylor Technologies, Inc., 31 Loveton Circle, Sparks, MD 21152-9206. Tel: 800-TEST KIT (837-8548), Taylor Technologies distributes an extensive range of water testing chemicals, methods, technologies. Web search 7/27/2012, Website: http://www.taylortechnologies.com
More Details About Drinking Water Testing
ARSENIC in WATER - arsenic contaminants in water may occur naturally in some soils
BACTERIA TEST GUIDE - tests the level of microbial contaminants in water. The basic "present/absent" or "P/A" test is the minimum water potability test required by many home mortgage lenders. Also see HPC Heterotrophic Plate Count and be sure to see these articles
Nitrate level in water, identifies contamination from septic system effluent or possibly from nearby animal or livestock facilities or barns. See Nitrate/Nitrite Toxicity ATSDR: [Big, Slow-Loading File] U.S. Government ATSDR Science Corner - 2.5MB PDF
Turbidity test for drinking water - can indicate whether the water supply is contaminated with groundwater or flood waters
Standard VA FHA - water test parameters - how to check for pesticide contaminants in drinking water
Title 5 - water test parameters - how to check for pesticide contaminants in drinking water
Total dissolved solids in water (also measures conductivity or a "conductivity test") identifies the mineral content of water. Water with high levels of salts or minerals may be a health hazard, and high mineral content or "hard water" risks problems with clogged plumbing equipment, pipes, water heaters. Also see WATER SOFTENERS & CONDITIONERS.
1-Bromo-3-chloro-5,5-dimethylhydantoin (C5H6BrClN2O2) is produced world-wide and is also used in cleaners and bathroom disinfectants and deodorizers. Here is an example MSDS for this product, provided by Leisure Time
"Bacteria in Drinking Water" - "Chlorine," Karen Mancl, water quality specialist, Agricultural Engineering, Ohio State University Extension. Mancl explains factors affecting the effectiveness of chlorine in water as a means to destroy bacteria and other microorganisms. OSU reports as follows:
Chlorine kills bacteria, including disease-causing organisms and the nuisance organism, iron bacteria. However, low levels of chlorine, normally used to disinfect water, are not an effective treatment for giardia cysts. A chlorine level of over 10 mg/1 must be maintained for at least 30 minutes to kill giardia cysts. -- http://ohioline.osu.edu/b795/index.html is the front page of this bulletin
Crystal Clear Supply provides portable ceramic water filter purifiers and portable reverse osmosis water treatment equipment - see http://www.crystalclearsupply.com/category_s/7.htm
Ohio State University article on the concentration of chlorine necessary to act as an effective disinfectant, and the effects of the water's pH and temperature: See http://ohioline.osu.edu/b795/b795_7.html for details.
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