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Hardness Test Kits

Titrimetric Kits

Range MDL Method Type Kit Refill
50 - 500 ppm as CaCO3 50 ppm EGTA (Calcium) Titrets K-1705 -
2 - 20 ppm as CaCO3 2.0 ppm EDTA (Total) Titrets K-4502 -
20 - 200 ppm as CaCO3 20 ppm EDTA (Total) Titrets K-4520 -
100 - 1,000 ppm as CaCO3 100 ppm EDTA (Total) Titrets K-4585 -

CHEMetrics offers test kits for the determination of Hardness in aqueous solutions employing the well-known EGTA and EDTA reagents to deliver sensitivity and accuracy within two minutes or less. The EGTA Method is used for Calcium Hardness. The EDTA Method is used for Total Hardness, applicable for drinking, surface, boiler, and brine waters. Based on CHEMetrics patented Self-Filling Reagent Ampoule technology. Premixed. Premeasured. Precise. Each kit contains 30 tests.

CHEMetrics Titrets employ reverse titration technology to measure analyte concentration levels. The ampoule contains a premixed and premeasured quantity of alkaline titrant, while the sample volume is varied. After snapping the ampoule tip, the sample and indicator are drawn in a little at a time from the sample cup until a colour change signals that the end point has been reached. The amount of sample required to neutralise the alkaline titrant is proportional to the hardness of the sample, which is shown on the scale on the outer surface of the ampoule.

The EGTA Method (Calcium)

The EGTA method is specific for calcium hardness. The EGTA titrant in alkaline solution is employed with a zincon indicator. Results are expressed as ppm (mg/l) CaCO3.

Shelf-life: eight months. Although the reagent itself is stable, the end point indicator has a limited shelf-life. We recommend stocking quantities that will be used within seven months.

West, T. S., DSC, Ph.D., Complexometry with EDTA and Related Reagents, 3rd ed., pp. 46, 164 (1969).

Technical Data Sheet

The EDTA Method (Total)

The EDTA titrant is employed in alkaline solution with a calmagite indicator. This method determines the combined calcium and magnesium concentration of a sample. If no magnesium is present, the end point of the titration normally appears sluggish. Results are expressed as ppm (mg/l) CaCO3.

APHA Standard Methods, 22nd ed., Method 2340 C- 1997.
USEPA Methods for Chemical Analysis of Water and Wastes, Method 130.2 (1983).

Technical Data Sheet


Hard water is not used in industrial boiler installations or in the power generation industries because mineral deposits or scaling result in reduced boiler heat transfer efficiency, decreasing overall system performance and increasing energy consumption. Scaling can also block pipes, requiring pipe replacement, and cause corrosion. Water softening systems are therefore used for pre-treatment of boiler water. Regular testing of total hardness levels in boiler water is therefore important to ensure the correct amount of softening has been performed to ensure system performance and longevity. Target hardness levels are in the order of 0.3 ppm as CaCO3 or less depending on drum pressure.

High hardness levels will impact the taste of drinking water. However, water hardness does not pose a health concern. Hard water will cause scaling of heat exchangers in domestic boilers and diminish the effectiveness of detergents and soaps used in washing machines, dishwashers and bathrooms, requiring more detergent or soap to produce a lather. Domestic water softeners are therefore sometimes used for these applications in areas of high hardness. Limescale may coat the heating element in kettles and irons, for example, making them less efficient, and deionised water is generally recommended for irons. Water softening adds additional cost and increases sodium levels which may not be desirable for drinking water, although as UK Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI) maximum permitted sodium level is 200 ppm, then softened water may not exceed this (250 ppm CaCO3 fully exchanged would result in 200 ppm Na+). Water companies do not soften potable water supplies as it is not cost effective. Total hardness variations according to geographic area are monitored and declared to the public. Total hardness is also commonly measured in communities that use groundwater wells as their primary water source.

What is Hardness?

Calcium and magnesium are the most common minerals that contribute to the hardness of water. Hardness is a measure of the mineral content of water and is dependent on the local geology. The greater the concentration of dissolved minerals, the ‘harder’ the water. Hardness is related to alkalinity as both measure CaCO3 content. However, hardness is also a measurement of other dissolved metals that do not necessarily neutralise acidity. Naturally soft water has less alkalinity and is usually more acidic and may leach minerals and contaminants from piping.

Hard water causes scaling or mineral deposits to form on surfaces it comes into contact with, especially when heated. Temporary hardness is defined as the level of hardness in water resulting from Mg or Ca carbonate and bicarbonate that can be precipitated out of solution by boiling. Hardness can also interfere with the ability of soap and detergents to lather, on account of the strong positive charge of calcium (and Magnesium) ions in the hard water that bond with the negatively charged carboxylate hydrophilic (foam forming) part of the soap molecules, forming a precipitate. Water softeners exchange Ca2+ and Mg+ ions for Na+ ions on the resin beads and produce softened water.

The DWI categorises total hardness in the following manner.

Hardness Classification Concentration as CaCO3
Soft 0 - 100 ppm
Slightly Hard 100 - 150 ppm
Moderately Hard 150 - 200 ppm
Hard 200 - 300 ppm
Very Hard 300+ ppm