Hach 5B Hardness Test vs Strip Tests

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WorldPeace

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On this forum, people have strongly recommended using the Hach 5B Hardness Test Kit to measure the hardness of water. The determined hardness is used to calculate the size of the water softener. However, Inspectapedia, a reputable website (that's used for building and environmental inspections) states:

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.

So, is the more expensive Hach 5B test necessary or even appropriate? It seems that the Hach 5B test is used to measure the amount of only calcium so strip tests would probably be better when measuring water hardness since water softeners act upon both magnesium and calcium. Using the Hach 5B number would undersize the water softener since the resin would adsorb both calcium ions as well as magnesium ions. Is this right?

I also noticed that Sears offer free water hardness testing and water analysis. They will provide a free sterile bottle or you can use your own. So, that's another safe alternative for people.
 

Reach4

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So, is the more expensive Hach 5B test necessary or even appropriate?
Yes.
It seems that the Hach 5B test is used to measure the amount of only calcium so strip tests would probably be better when measuring water hardness since water softeners act upon both magnesium and calcium.
Where did you get that?
 

WorldPeace

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It's just my supposition. I guess I'm asking whether that's true or not.

Doesn't the Hach 5B only test for calcium? If so, wouldn't it underreport the amount of the hardness of the water? And, if you base the size of the water softeners on the Hach 5B test, it wouldn't sufficiently soften the water since it acts on both magnesium and calcium.

I don't know if this reasoning is correct so I'm wondering whether it's true or not.
 

Reach4

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It's just my supposition. I guess I'm asking whether that's true or not.
Innovative supposition. I don't know how you came up with that.

You may have gotten alert to weasel words by attempting to read a "Privacy" Policy.
 

Reach4

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It doesn't really matter since I already ordered it. Just wondering how the Hach 5B test would work if it only measures the amount of calcium.
That would not be so useful. Do you regularly promote your fears?
 

WorldPeace

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I don't know if there is anything wrong with questioning or asking. Nobody should blindly follow what another says. This is why there is so much trouble in this world in the first place. People need to constantly push themselves intellectually as this is the only way that society progresses. I mean a good portion of Americans blindly believe that there was election fraud without seeing whether there was evidence of it.

You don't agree with this sentiment?
 

Reach4

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I don't know if there is anything wrong with questioning or asking.
It seems that the Hach 5B test is used to measure the amount of only calcium so strip tests would probably be better when measuring water hardness since water softeners act upon both magnesium and calcium.
That sounded like something other than a question. Your question was about the price -- not the function.
 

WorldPeace

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Reach,

I actually don't understand what you’re saying. My post was about both the price and the function. My initial question is why is the more expensive Hach 5B test (which is not found in local stores) appropriate when it only measures calcium concentrations. To be honest, I still don't know.

I really didn't mean it in an offensive way. It does appear that the Hach 5B test wouldn't be appropriate. But, I don't want to make an definitive statement because I'm inexperienced at this. There is something called the Dunning-Kruger Effect - you need to be careful about being sure about areas in which you don't have much experience. There is an illusion of knowledge.
 

Reach4

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Being coy, or are you being ernest?
I really didn't mean it in an offensive way.
I originally thought you either had read some wrong statement on the internet, and gave it some credence.
It's just my supposition.
does not seem like you read a statement to that effect anywhere.

It does appear that the Hach 5B test wouldn't be appropriate.
You are mistaken. But I can think of a possible explanation of where you might have reached a wrong inference. You may have seen the expression " as CaCO₃". That doesn't mean that the test only measures CaCO₃, but instead it means that the test reports its hardness numbers in a way that CaCO₃ would give. A molecule of CaCO₃ weighs less than a molecule of as MgCO₃. But they each have the same hardness power. So to give a g/ml or grains/gallon number, they give the hardness as if it had all been CaCO₃. It is a useful convention.

But if you want, there are other reputable hardness tests. Lamotte, like Hach, is reputable. https://www.zoro.com/lamotte-water-testing-kit-hardness-0-to-200-ppm-4482-li-02/i/G3506797/ Titration is more accurate than strips that you compare to a printed color for various reasons.

Let me be clear and explicit. Hach hardness tests, including the 5-B, do not only measure calcium hardness. I know of no hardness test that does that. The tests measure total hardness and express the result in the industry-standard way, which is calcium carbonate equivalent.
 
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WorldPeace

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Being coy, or are you being ernest?

I don't know what you mean by coy. I honestly don't know and I would like to know. I think I said it about 3 times…

Reach, it should be totally fine if people question things that you say. I know some people get offended because they feel like it's undermining their authority; however, questions should always be welcomed and met with kindness. I mean how are people supposed to know whether you know what you're talking about? You've got to always prove yourself. That's how I think.

And, if you think I made a mistake, it should be totally fine. People make mistakes all the time. I think the most important thing is that people are nice and help each other.

Reach4 said:
I originally thought you either had read some wrong statement on the internet, and gave it some credence.
does not seem like you read a statement to that effect anywhere.

I actually read it on Inspectapedia here. About a 1/3 way down, it states:

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.

The site is run by engineers. That doesn't necessarily mean they are always right. But, the above does suggest that the Hach 5b tests for calcium specifically. Doesn't it?

You are claiming that it's not a calcium test. You might be right, but should I trust what you say? Put yourself in my position. I have no idea who you are. All I know is that you own a water softener.

On the other hand, I'm thinking you might be right since the test is labeled Total Hardness Test Kit. Also, it does suggest here that there is a different, separate test to measure only calcium. Then, I also see that it's labeled "As CaCO₃". I'm left to wonder what that means.
 

Reach4

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I think I said it about 3 times…
You said what about 3 times? That is a direct simple question I think.
So, is the more expensive Hach 5B test necessary or even appropriate?
I answered unambiguously yes.
It seems that the Hach 5B test is used to measure the amount of only calcium so strip tests would probably be better when measuring water hardness since water softeners act upon both magnesium and calcium. Using the Hach 5B number would undersize the water softener since the resin would adsorb both calcium ions as well as magnesium ions. Is this right?
How would I answer that? You were stating a false premise. I did answer that with "Where did you get that?". You said you supposed it. Rhetorical question: Since chocolate contains asbestos, I should cut down on chocolate in my diet. Is that right? Rhetorical question means I am not looking for an actual answer, but just was making a point.

Doesn't the Hach 5B only test for calcium?
"Innovative supposition. I don't know how you came up with that." Do you find that ambiguous? I was going for a softer version of "you invented your premise", "you concocted", you imagined it, etc.
Too subtle?

I don't know if there is anything wrong with questioning or asking. Nobody should blindly follow what another says. This is why there is so much trouble in this world in the first place. People need to constantly push themselves intellectually as this is the only way that society progresses. I mean a good portion of Americans blindly believe that there was election fraud without seeing whether there was evidence of it.

You don't agree with this sentiment?
I agree that asking questions is reasonable. I think that making wrong statements instead of a question is not.
I don't know what you mean by coy. I honestly don't know and I would like to know.
If only there were an easy way to learn the meaning of a word without asking in a forum. OK. Too subtle? Use a dictionary. Maybe I should asked if you were pretending to be ignorant as a ploy, or you were really not playing. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/coy

So quote one straight real question that I did not answer?
 
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Bannerman

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The test kit name is Hach Total Hardness Test Model 5-B. https://ca.hach.com/total-hardness-...PX2O9MgTm-mKlSFL6_lFTT4LFi_t6wyRoCdogQAvD_BwE

Test strips are typically calibrated with fairly significant jumps in hardness indicated between the reference colors. This would be similar to a tire pressure gauge indicating 10 - 20 - 30 - 40 ... psi. If you wanted to verify the tire pressure is 36 psi, you would be forced to guess.

Another issue with strips is lighting as the type of light and intensity will alter how the color match is perceived, Never mind for someone that is colorblind.
 

skyjumper

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I'm still hung up on comparing the belief in election fraud to the belief that Hach 5b measures total hardness
 

WorldPeace

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I actually emailed Hach and got a full explanation from one of their techs.

You're right!

Hach stated that their product description only states CaCO3 but it's due to convention. The test apparently tests for calcium and magnesium since it's usually the only ions present in significant concentrations. But, since it would be too cumbersome to write down both all the time, by convention, they only write down CaCO3.

Inspectapedia is a pretty reliable source but I guess they were wrong this time because they implied that the Hach 5b only tests for calcium, which isn't true.

Reach, I think you're hung up that I wrote "It seems [emphasis added] that the Hach 5B test is used to measure the amount of only calcium so strip tests would probably be better when measuring water hardness since water softeners act upon both magnesium and calcium." I think that's a pretty fair statement given what I found on Inspectapedia and what's written in Hach's product description, but you disagree. That's ok.


You said what about 3 times? That is a direct simple question I think.
I answered unambiguously yes.
How would I answer that? You were stating a false premise. I did answer that with "Where did you get that?". You said you supposed it. Rhetorical question: Since chocolate contains asbestos, I should cut down on chocolate in my diet. Is that right? Rhetorical question means I am not looking for an actual answer, but just was making a point.


"Innovative supposition. I don't know how you came up with that." Do you find that ambiguous? I was going for a softer version of "you invented your premise", "you concocted", you imagined it, etc.
Too subtle?

I agree that asking questions is reasonable. I think that making wrong statements instead of a question is not.
If only there were an easy way to learn the meaning of a word without asking in a forum. OK. Too subtle? Use a dictionary. Maybe I should asked if you were pretending to be ignorant as a ploy, or you were really not playing. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/coy

So quote one straight real question that I did not answer?
 

Reach4

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Reach, I think you're hung up that I wrote "It seems [emphasis added] that the Hach 5B test is used to measure the amount of only calcium so strip tests would probably be better when measuring water hardness since water softeners act upon both magnesium and calcium." I think that's a pretty fair statement given what I found on Inspectapedia and what's written in Hach's product description, but you disagree. That's ok.
I accept that you had read some misleading info and did not must make it up. Sorry for thinking you did not have a basis for your premise.
 

Charlie Bosco

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On this forum, people have strongly recommended using the Hach 5B Hardness Test Kit to measure the hardness of water. The determined hardness is used to calculate the size of the water softener. However, Inspectapedia, a reputable website (that's used for building and environmental inspections) states:

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.

So, is the more expensive Hach 5B test necessary or even appropriate? It seems that the Hach 5B test is used to measure the amount of only calcium so strip tests would probably be better when measuring water hardness since water softeners act upon both magnesium and calcium. Using the Hach 5B number would undersize the water softener since the resin would adsorb both calcium ions as well as magnesium ions. Is this right?

I also noticed that Sears offer free water hardness testing and water analysis. They will provide a free sterile bottle or you can use your own. So, that's another safe alternative for people.


All I know is if you are using this to check your water softener progress, Hardness is Hardness. The softener does not distinguish. Just get the Hach B5 and dont look back... I wasted my money on those stupid strips first.
I have enough chemicals in the box to test my system for years... Simple and easy to read the results
 
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