How Much Sodium Does a Water Softener Add? August 3, 2020 08:30

How Much Sodium Does a Water Softener Add?

salt water softener sodium

Many people know that a water softener works by replacing hard water minerals - like calcium and magnesium - with “soft” sodium ions in your water supply. However, exactly how much sodium is added to your drinking water is not always clear.

For those high blood pressure or on a low-sodium diet, it is an important question to ask - How much sodium does softened water contain?

Well, it all depends on how much “hardness” was in the water to begin with. The softener “exchanges” about an equal amount of sodium for the initial hardness. If your water is very hard - meaning it has more calcium, magnesium, and possibly other contaminants - the water softener will have to replace more hardness particles with sodium.

The math is simple to calculate, so let's figure it out together. First, start by finding out your home's water hardness level (gpg). (For urban homeowners, visit this article to find out your water hardness level. For rural homeowners feel free to order water hardness test strips to find out your gpg.)

Grains per gallon (GPG) of total hardness x 1.89 = mg. of sodium in an 8 oz glass of water.

Even simpler:

GPG hardness x 2 = mg. of sodium in an 8 oz glass of water, more or less.

In other words, if your water test tells you that you have 18 grains per gallon hardness, installing a water softener will add about 35 milligrams of sodium to each 8 oz. glass of water you drink.

Here's another example for you: According to the WQA (Water Quality Association), for every grain of hardness there will be 30mg of sodium in a gallon after it has been softened.

15 Grains x 30mg = 450mg in a Gallon (128oz)

450mg Sodium / 128oz = 3.51 mg per oz

3.51mg * 8oz = 28.12mg

In other words, if your water test tells you that you have 15 grains per gallon hardness, installing a water softener will add about 28.12 milligrams of sodium to each 8 oz. glass of water you drink. The maths not so hard to calculate right?

Is Softened Water High in Sodium?

According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the recommended limit for sodium is less than 2,300 mg a day. The average American consumes about 3,400 mg a day, but the vast majority of sodium comes from table salt and processed and prepared foods. That means that even with extremely hard water, soft water would not add a significant amount of salt to your daily diet.

Here are the sodium levels of some common food items:

  • An 8-ounce glass of low-fat milk contains about 120 mg of sodium
  • One egg contains 59 mg of sodium
  • An 8-ounce glass of orange juice contains about 25 mg
  • A can of soda contains 40-45 mg
  • Depending on the brand, a standard 1-ounce slice of bread has between 80 and 230 mg of sodium
  • A teaspoon of regular table salt contains 2,300 mg of sodium

How do you remove sodium from softened water?

For those who want to get rid of hard water problems but not able to drink sodium, there's a solution for you! You can still enjoy the benefits of soft water, such as reduced stains and limescale, more efficient soap usage and longer appliance life, while having another option for the water you drink.

Here are a couple of options:

  1. One solution is to use potassium chloride instead of sodium chloride pellets to soften your water.
  2. Or you can always have your kitchen water tap taken off of the water softener so your tap water runs with hard water instead.
  3. Another option is a reverse osmosis drinking water system installed along with your water softener. Reverse osmosis removes 95%+ of “everything” in the water, including sodium.

 

Of course, if sodium is still a concern, your physician is the best person to consult for further discussion.

Conclusion

Sodium is a naturally occurring mineral and is found in almost everything you consume—from apples and almonds to water and milk. And while sodium is used to soften water, one of the biggest misconceptions is that it makes your water noticeably salty. Luckily, that’s not the case. Learn more at Aquatell about how a water softener can help benefit you today.