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Everything you need to know about Total Dissolved Solids (TDS)

Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) is a measurement, in part per million (ppm), of suspended particles (usually calcium and magnesium) in a water sample.

A general rule of thumb is: the higher the TDS, the lower the water quality. However, it’s important to remember that not all dissolved solids are the same.

What is a normal TDS reading?

For most Americans drawing municipal water, a typical TDS reading will be between 75ppm and 300ppm. Generally, the higher the TDS, the more likely you need additional water treatment in your home, such as a water softener or a whole house water filter.

Does high TDS mean I have hard water?

Hard Water is defined as having an abundance of calcium and magnesium particles, which would give a high TDS reading. However, it’s possible to have a high TDS rating without high calcium and magnesium. That said, in the vast majority of cases, a high TDS reading indicates hard water.

Will using a water softener lower my TDS reading?

No, a water softener will not lower your TDS reading, in fact it may increase it. The process of softening water involves ion exchange, which changes the behavior of the water, it does not remove particles. Only a water filter can lower your Total Dissolved Solids. Softening water only improves the performance of appliances that use water, such as washing machines, dishwashers and water heaters.

How do I lower my TDS reading?

The best way to lower the TDS of water is using a water filter. A whole house water filter can lower TDS to every faucet in your home, while a faucet water filter or water filter pitcher can provide a small amount of filtered water for drinking and cooking. Depending on the quality of your water, you may need a combination of water filters to ensure safety and long term performance of your home’s appliances and plumbing.

Read More: How do water filters work?

Is TDS bad for my health? Should I drink 0 (zero) TDS water?

TDS is a measurement of water purity, it does not indicate how healthy it is for human consumption. In fact, calcium and magnesium are important minerals for human health. In addition, there have been no studies that show consuming hard water has any negative health impacts to humans at all.

The only way to approach 0 TDS is by using a water distiller or reverse osmosis, which are not efficient, or necessarily safe, ways to produce drinking water.

What is the best water TDS to have?

There is no hard evidence or studies that show one TDS is better for your health than another TDS. That said, there are thousands of cases of fatalities related to unsafe drinking water, and water crises, such as in Flint, Michigan.

If you want to guarantee that your water is both safe and healthy, the best setup will be reverse osmosis with a re-mineralizer. The RO filter will remove all the contaminants, then re-add a small amount of calcium and magnesium to the water.

What water TDS tastes the best?

 

What’s the best way to measure my water’s TDS?

TDS is easily measured with a simple TDS Meter, available online or at any hardware store. They are inexpensive and quite accurate.

Walt Anderson

Walt Anderson

I'm Walt Anderson, a general contractor from Montana. I specialize in water treatment and I have installed water filtration systems, water softeners and water heaters in residential homes for over 20 years. When I'm not working on this site, I'm at my cabin in the backwoods of Montana with my two dogs, Kurt and Russell.

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