Water testing confusion

Water analysis, treatment, and mineral recipes for optimum taste and equipment health.
jgood

#1: Post by jgood »

Perhaps I am not the only one with this issue -- I have the Hatch Sofchek total hardness test strips -- and find the color chart rather hard to use. I have trouble differentiating between the different colors. Is there another test or brand of strips that are less confusing, ie with clearer color changes? Below is what I have.

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Peppersass
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#2: Post by Peppersass »

Many people use this one, which is inexpensive and much better than using color strips:

https://www.amazon.com/API-TEST-Freshwa ... 003SNCHMA/
I use Hach kits, which are more expensive but more accurate:

https://www.hach.com/total-hardness-tes ... 7640219508

https://www.hach.com/total-hardness-tes ... 640219507s

https://www.hach.com/alkalinity-test-ki ... 7640220950

These are all available on Amazon, too.

The only difference between the 5B and HA-71A kits is how low they go. The more expensive HA-71A is only necessary if you need to measure less than 17 ppm hardness. I have it because I have a cation softener than needs to be recharged when the hardness gets a few ppm above zero.

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pcrussell50

#3: Post by pcrussell50 »

Another vote for the HA-71A. I like to keep my hardness at or below one grain, and use it to determine when to change my resin bead cation softener. Plus my science nerdy little eight year old girl loves the titrating method you use with it.

Dick, do you actually refresh your beads or just buy a new filter cartridge?

-Peter
LMWDP #553

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Peppersass
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#4: Post by Peppersass »

We have pretty hard water, so I use a 6-liter commercial softener from Chris Coffee that's designed to be recharged. It would be too expensive to replace when a recharge is needed. Instead, I recharge the beads with salt pellets designed for recharging softeners. A 40 lb bag from Home Depot costs about $6 and will probably last longer than I will.

Recharge is required about once a year or so. Varies due to changes in the hardness of our water, which comes from an Artesian well. It's not a difficult process: turn off the water, relieve system pressure, disconnect the softener, remove the cap (the most difficult part because it's on really tight and there's no simple way to grip it), fill with about 1 lb of salt pellets, reassemble, flush at low flow rate for about an hour, then flush about five more gallons at max flow rate.

That said, After about 6 years of use the resin in my first softener would no longer recharge, so i had to replace the cartridge. I believe the cost was around $165. The remaining $100 for the initial system is for all the other items: filter housings, filter cartridges, tubing, tools etc. You only need to buy most of that stuff once. Replacement sediment and carbon filters can be had for reasonable prices.

OldNuc

#5: Post by OldNuc »

Test strips must be viewed under natural sun light. Trying artificial light will result in much difficulty.

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homeburrero
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#6: Post by homeburrero »

Peppersass wrote: Many people use this one, which is inexpensive and much better than using color strips:
https://www.amazon.com/API-TEST-Freshwa ... 003SNCHMA/

I use Hach kits, which are more expensive but more accurate:
https://www.hach.com/total-hardness-tes ... 7640219508
https://www.hach.com/total-hardness-tes ... 640219507s
https://www.hach.com/alkalinity-test-ki ... 7640220950
I agree that Hach titration kits are top high quality products from the company that pioneered water quality testing kits*. Their product documentation and support is excellent, whereas API's is almost nonexistent. But the API GH & KH kit works OK for for our purposes, and for low mineral water you can cheat them by using double the sample size, in which case each drop of titrant corresponds to 0.5 °dKH (8.9 mg/L CaCO3 equivalent.) On the API kit, GH is a total hardness measure and KH is an alkalinity measure.

* Here's a 15 minute video about Kitty Hach-Darrow (nice personal and historical perspectives, no chemistry) that I thought was fun to watch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?time_conti ... 2szFhjDagY
Pat
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Al deHyde

#7: Post by Al deHyde »

I am seriously red-green color blind. The test strips are useless for me.

Like some others, I use the Hach 'total hardness' titration kit. It is very fast to use, and best of all the change in color of the titration point is very sharp and I can see it easily.

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BaristaBoy E61

#8: Post by BaristaBoy E61 »

I thought the Water Test Strips from Chris' Coffee were OK.


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HH

#9: Post by HH »

It may be easier, cheaper and more accurate to simply request a copy of your city's water report from your city council or water treatment company. If you have the lab reading for total hardness it'll be a lot more accurate than test strips. Here's a quick run down of the cut-off levels from the WHO website:

"Hardness is most commonly expressed as milligrams of calcium carbonate equivalent per litre. Water containing calcium carbonate at concentrations below 60 mg/l is generally considered as soft; 60-120 mg/l, moderately hard; 120-180 mg/l, hard; and more than 180 mg/l, very hard (McGowan, 2000)."