Water hardness test strips

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Hardness buildup (scale) forms more easily in hot water than in cold water. To avoid using unnecessary salt, consider removing softened water from your cold-water fixtures, like toilets, cold water taps or outside hoses.

Hardness test strips can help determine water sources inside of your home or at your outdoor hose-bibbs (aka spigots or silcocks) that use soft water, but could be using hard water instead. Alternatively, pure liquid soap can also be used for testing as seen in our instructional video.

The District uses strips that are “Low Range Hardness Test Strips” and measure 0-10 grains. Since the lowest naturally occurring grains among wells in our service area is 12-14 grains, these strips act as a binary soft/not soft test for softened water. Request hardness test strips below and check your water sources following three easy steps:

  1. Fill a vessel with water from the source. Test strips will not work if held under running water.
  2. Gently dip a test strip into the cup. DO NOT shake the test strip.
  3. Wait 15 seconds, then check the color of the test strip.

BLUE = hard water.
GREEN = soft water. Contact a plumber to disconnect this water source from your water softener.

Test for soft water using hardness test strips or pure soap.

Find more ways to reduce salt use at home or visit our Chloride FAQs page.

Request Hardness Test STrips

Please complete this form to request hardness test strips to help determine if the cold water in and around your house is softened. Requests are limited to Wisconsin residents within the District’s service area. Hardness test strips will arrive in a standard envelope.