Water is just water, right? Not really!
There are actually two types of water – hard and soft water. Hard water is water that has a large amount of calcium and magnesium in it, which it absorbs when it repeatedly runs through deposits of chalk, limestone, or gypsum. So, what is soft water, then?
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What Is Soft Water?
Water in its natural, unadulterated form is soft water. It is surface water that contains a low amount of ions, especially ions of calcium and magnesium. It naturally occurs in areas where rain falls into drainage basins of rivers that are formed of impervious rocks, which have a poor calcium ratio.
Additionally, hard water can also be turned into soft water or rather softened water by using a water softener. In the US, most states have ancient sea beds with high concentrations of limestone. This is why as much as 85% of water is hard, and many people need water softening treatment.
With that said, have you ever wondered why exactly you need to soften hard water?
Why You Need to Buy a Water Softener for Your Home
If you happen to have dry hair, scaly skin, scale-ridden pipes, rough laundry, kitchenware with scale buildup, soap scum in your washroom and kitchen, and endless broken appliances, then you definitely have a hard water problem on your hands.
Without a good water softener, your appliances will inevitably breakdown sooner than their usual lifespan. Additionally, the scale buildup in pipes will affect the water flow and pressure throughout your house. If you continue to use hard water, you will inevitably incur home management and repair costs upon yourself, which you can simply avoid by using a water softener.
Using a water softener to turn your hard water into softened water will change your life around. It will ensure that you have clog-free pipes, spotless kitchenware, well-functioning appliances, and cleaner hair and skin. It will also save you a lot of your time, money, and energy.
Now, let’s see how to soften water for home use.
How to Soften Water
The best way to soften water is to invest in a water softener. It’s a filtration system that will remove the calcium and magnesium minerals from your water via the ion exchange process. It’s usually a tank that you can attach to your home’s water supply line. The tank has special resin beads that are charged with the negative sodium ion. Water enters the tank and infiltrates the beads. The negative ions attract the positively charged minerals in the hard water. The minerals cling to the beads, leaving softened water to make its way into your home.
Is Softened Water Safe to Drink?
The water softening process requires the use of sodium. This means that the resultant softened water has a small amount of sodium in it. Consumption of too much sodium, aka salt, is not good for the human body. So, is softened water safe to drink?
The salt content usually present in soft water is too little to cause any damage to your body, which makes it pretty safe to drink. However, in areas where water is excessively hard, the resultant softened water has higher sodium content in it. This is because more sodium is used to soften the water. Rest assured, there is a limit set on the recommended level of sodium in drinking water at 200 mg/l. This is far below the recommended daily intake of sodium, which is 2,300mg.
Even though it is generally safe to drink soft water, it’s not ideal for someone who’s on a low sodium diet. Additionally, don’t use softened water to prepare your baby’s food, especially if they are under six weeks old. This is because the sodium in the water can have an adverse effect on their kidneys.
For someone who’s watching their sodium intake, it’s better to simply invest in a potassium water softener. This is because potassium chloride is virtually sodium-free. You can simply add potassium chloride pellets in your tank rather than the usual sodium pellets.
Even though they are more expensive and harder to find than salt pellets, they are a safer alternative for infants and heart patients on a low-sodium diet. However, potassium chloride is not as effective as sodium at softening the water, so when using it make sure to set the water hardness on your softener at least 20% higher for the same results.
Benefits of Soft Water
Let’s take a look at the major water softener benefits.
Hard water contains a high amount of calcium and magnesium minerals that tend to cause unsightly buildup on your pipes over time. If left untreated, the buildup is pretty dangerous as it clogs your pipes. Clogged pipes lead to a decrease in the water flow and pressure through your entire home.
However, this decrease usually goes unnoticed until you find a leaky or burst pipe. This then leads to you spending a lot of money on replacing the broken pipes. If you simply invest in a water softener, you won’t have to worry about clogged pipes. This is because soft water has a significantly lower mineral content, which doesn’t lead to any buildup.
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Soft water also preserves your cleaning supplies, such as bleach or detergent. This is because less soap is required to clean things with soft water. Additionally, less scale buildup also leads to lesser time spent cleaning kitchenware and washroom floors.
Hard water also has a negative impact on the lifespan of your appliances. The mineral deposits affect the functionality of dishwashers, washing machines, coffee makers, water heaters, etc., and cause them to breakdown sooner than their expected lifespan. If you have soft water running through these appliances, you will increase the likelihood of them surviving till the end of their lifespan.
Healthier Skin and Hair
Soft water feels much cleaner on the skin as compared to hard water. This is because it is easier to form soap lather with soft water than it is with hard water. Additionally, soft water is also gentler on your skin. Plus, it even revitalizes lifeless and dull hair by balancing its natural pH level.
The Difference between Hard and Soft Water
The major difference between hard and soft water is that hard water has excessive amounts of calcium and magnesium in it, while soft water only has trace amounts of these minerals. The higher the content of calcium and mineral in water, the harder it’s going to rank on the water hardness range.
The Bottom Line
Soft water is free from minerals that can cause damage to your pipes, appliances, and skin. It can save you a lot of cleaning, time, energy, and money by simply cutting down on the damages caused by using hard water. To enjoy soft water at home, you can invest in a water softener. It will be worth it!