A lot of people have heard of the terms “hard water” and “soft water”; however, many don’t understand what determines the hardness or softness of water. There are also questions of whether one type is healthier than the other or safer to drink. In this article, we will discuss all these things.
Hard vs soft water
Water contains minerals and chemicals. The concentration of calcium and magnesium, along with other minerals, determines whether water is hard or soft. The higher the levels of these particular minerals means the harder the water. Water softeners reduce the concentration of minerals in the water, meaning instead of having higher levels of calcium and magnesium, soft water has a higher concentration of sodium or salt.
How to determine whether water is hard or soft
Determining whether your water is hard or soft by looking at it is extremely difficult. However, you can usually feel and see the effects of hard water.
Signs that you have hard water:
- Feeling as though there’s a film around your hands after washing them. This is caused by the soap reacting with the calcium.
- Spots on glasses or silverware after coming out of the dishwasher. These are typically deposits of calcium carbonate/
- Clothes wear out faster because of the harshness of the hard water.
- Poor water pressure. Mineral deposits can form in the pipes. This can shrink the interior diameter of pipes and reduce your overall water flow.
Is hard water safe?
There are no serious health problems with hard water. However, hard water can cause dry skin and hair. The minerals in hard water can also change the pH balance of your skin. This can then weaken the barrier against harmful bacteria and infections. If you are noticing problems with dry skin and/or hair, you may want to consider getting a water-softening system for your home.
Is soft water safe?
If you consume food or drinks with high sources of calcium and magnesium, then there are fewer risks in drinking water with a lower concentration of calcium and magnesium. If this is not the case, then taking a multivitamin (or calcium/magnesium supplement) may be enough to meet your needs. The biggest concern is for people with high blood pressure. They could be susceptible to the blood pressure raising after drinking water with higher sodium content. This may mean that they’ll be advised against softening their home drinking water.
Is water softening safe?
Bacteria and fungi can build up on the resin of a water-softening system, meaning it is highly important that you clean and maintain the equipment in order to keep your water safe. The main safety concern is the added sodium in your drinking water. If you or someone in your home consumes only a low amount of sodium then you should talk with the manufacturer of the softening system to find out how much sodium is being added to the water.
Most people can safely drink hard or soft water with no health risks or side effects. If you are concerned about the sodium content in soft water is a concern, you can try drinking bottled water instead and using your home’s soft water for laundry, dishwashing, and so on. To find out more about water softeners or to get one installed, request a quote.