What makes water hard?

Water is often called the universal solvent. Water picks up minerals as it travels many miles over rocks and through soil as it makes its way to water treatment facilities. Those minerals, mostly calcium and magnesium, are dissolved and held in solution even after going through the treatment process.

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1. What is water hardness?
2. What makes water hard?
3. How can I tell if my water is hard?
4. What if I think I have a serious water quality problem?