How to use the Hach 5B test kit?

Discussion in 'Water Softener Forum, Questions and Answers' started by montisqu, Mar 19, 2016.

  1. montisqu

    montisqu New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2016
    Location:
    West Virginia
    So I used the Hach 5B on various water systems, but don't know how to interpret the results:

    New House, new softener = 5 drops

    40 year old house, regular tap water = 12 drops

    40 year old house, RO system = 0 drops


    In my house, I got a good expensive filter and softener.....is it normal for the water to take 5 drops? What does 5 drops mean?
     
  2. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    5 drops before the color change from pinkish to bluish means 5 grains of hardness.

    Regular filters do not lower hardness. Softeners lower hardness by replacing calcium and magnesium with sodium. The RO filter is a special case that uses a filter membrane that will pass water molecules (H2O is smaller than most molecules or ions), but will block most sodium, calcium and magnesium and most other non-water molecules.
     
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  4. montisqu

    montisqu New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2016
    Location:
    West Virginia
    Oh Ok. The 5 grain of hardness was for softened and filtered water (main water goes to filter, then goes to softener, then goes to taps). Is that good?
     
  5. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    No. Softened water should be 1 grain or less.

    You should do a test with water that comes from before the softener. Typically the outside taps are not softened. The purpose is to tell if the softener is doing something, but is not doing enough.... or if the softener is doing very little. If the raw water is 5 grains, that would suggest that the softener is in bypass. If it is 17 grains, it means some problem. If the raw water is 40 grains, the softener may not be adequate for the job.

    Describe your softener and maybe post a picture. What are the settings?

    Now if the softener is pretty new and you used hot or mixed water for the sample, that could be due to the hardness having lingered in the water heater.
     
  6. Bannerman

    Bannerman Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2014
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    Water exiting the softener is normally 0 grains (turns Blue immediately at 1 drop)

    What is your raw water hardness, number of residents?
    What settings are programmed in your softener?
    Was the softener capacity ever completely exhausted? If so, the total capacity should be regenerated at 18 lbs/cuft.
     
  7. ditttohead

    ditttohead Water systems designer, R&D

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2012
    Occupation:
    Water systems designer, R&D, Technical Director
    Location:
    Ontario California
    An Ro system is a softener of sorts. It removes calcium and magnesium as well as most other dissolved minerals from the water. This will usually give a Hach 5B test kit a reading of 0. As stated above, we need more info on your softener, raw water, setting etc. A properly operating softener should be 1 or fewer drops to change from purple to blue on the Hach 5B.
     
  8. ENIGMA-2

    ENIGMA-2 Member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2010
    Occupation:
    Plans reviewer
    Location:
    New Paris, Indiana
    5 grains of hardness for a new system, it's possible that the water heater still had some hard water in it and it's working it's way through the piping.
    If the value drops to one drop in a few days, the WH has replaced the water with softened water. If not, the softener may need to be adjusted, either in the amount of salt used or the frequency of regeneration. Should get one one drop hardness (means one or less hardness), for a new system.
     
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