Just because you’re having trouble with appliances doesn’t mean your water is hard. Older pipes or aging infrastructure can cause similar problems, Sherrill said. There are home tests to check water hardness, or you can hire a professional to test it. (The Environmental Protection Agency has a tool for finding certified drinking water treatment laboratories.) Bennett recommends testing the water several times and recording the numbers, then comparing them with the numbers in reports on the quality of the city’s water. Another easy home test? Try soaping yourself up in the shower, Bennett said; if it’s hard to lather, you might have hard water, and if it’s hard to rinse off, the water might be too soft. Eric Yeggy, director of technical affairs at the Water Quality Association, a trade association for the water treatment industry, recommends having water tested by professionals for accurate results.