What does Softened Water Taste like? August 2, 2020 17:30
What does Softened Water Taste like?
Did you know not all water is the same? Water can be classified as either hard or soft, depending on its mineral content. Hard water is water that has a high concentration of dissolved minerals, such as calcium or magnesium. In its pure form (rain water), water does not contain hard water minerals and is naturally soft. These minerals are picked up when water passes through rocks that contain calcium or magnesium, such as limestone. In some cases, hard water is preferred for drinking not just because of the minerals but also the taste.
Soft water, produced by water softeners, contains few or no extra minerals.
The taste of softened water is dependent on your incoming water supply. Whatever you are used to is usually the preference. In tests, most people do prefer how softened water tastes in tea and coffee. Contrary to popular belief, the salt in softened water is not bad for you. in fact, there's more salt in a slice of ham than in a gallon of softened water! Any increase in sodium occurs during the softening process, where calcium and magnesium ions are exchanged for sodium ions.
Does soft water taste good?
Which tastes better hard or soft water? For many who have been so accustomed to the taste of hard water growing up, they may find that the soft water produced by the water softener is actually not as tasty. However, because a water softener is removing the calcium and magnesium from the water and replacing it with sodium, it may change the texture, taste or feel of the water and maybe undesirable for some. Soft water not only doesn’t contain minerals, but the softening process can cause the water to taste a bit salty to those with sensitive taste buds, due to the potassium or sodium ions used to eliminate magnesium and calcium.
This is not to say that hard water is healthier for you just because it contains calcium and magnesium. When some people hear how water softeners remove calcium and minerals they think the softening process is taking away important nutrients. After all, calcium and magnesium can benefit things like bone health right?.
The truth is that the calcium and magnesium deposits in hard water are inorganic minerals, which don’t provide the same benefits as obtaining minerals from food or supplements. The calcium and magnesium in hard water cannot be easily absorbed by the cells in your body. Plants are able to transform inorganic minerals into an organic state, which is why you need to eat your veggies, but drinking hard water won’t do much for adding minerals to your diet.
People who enjoy the taste of softened water do so for the following reasons:
1. Soft water taste smooth
Many people complain that when they drink hard water, they can feel the ‘texture’ of their water in their mouths. With soft water, this feeling is eliminated and the experience of drinking it will be much smoother and more enjoyable.
2. Hard water can sometimes have a chemical taste
Another common complaint amongst those who have tried hard water is that is tastes like chalk or chemicals. This is a result of the higher level of dissolved minerals it contains. Soft water is treated differently and contains less of these minerals, ensuring a clearer, chemical-free taste.
3. You’re less likely to have limescale pieces in your drink.
Hard water can make taps and kettles to have buildup limescale – which can often chip off into your drink if you’re filling up a glass straight from the tap. Soft water does not result in limescale to the same extent, making you much less likely to find unpleasant chalky pieces in your drink.
4. Soft water has a more neutral flavour
In addition to the chemical taste, people often say they find hard water to have a different ‘flavour’ – while soft water does not have any flavour at all. The fact soft water has a more neutral taste to it means it can be enjoyed by a wide range of people, regardless of their tastes and preferences. It also means it won’t affect the taste of other water-based drinks, such as tea, coffee or squash.
Is it ok to drink softened water?
A common misconception is that the amount of sodium in softened water is unhealthy. How much sodium a water softener adds to your water depends on how hard your home’s water is in the first place.
However, not everyone likes the taste of softened water, but they don’t want to deal with hard water problems either. Thankfully, there are options. You could separate the tap you use for drinking and cooking from your system while still getting the advantages of soft water for cleaning, bathing, and laundry. Better yet, you could install a reverse osmosis system to get pure and refreshing drinking water straight from a faucet at your sink.
The biggest concern for many when it comes to drinking water from water softeners is SODIUM. Sodium is a naturally occurring mineral and is found in almost everything you consume—from apples and almonds to water and milk.!
Your Recommended Daily Dose
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, like cold cuts, canned soups, fast food, and frozen dinners.
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
The amount of sodium present in drinking water—even after softening—does not represent a significant percentage in a person’s daily intake. During the regeneration process, the resin beads that remove the calcium and magnesium (the hardness ions) in your water are flushed with a brine solution (made from the salt you add to your tank). This releases the calcium and magnesium ions from the beads and replaces them with sodium ions. The excess brine and hardness ion solution is then flushed from the system. This process adds just a little sodium to the overall water supply—and you definitely won’t taste it.
The exact amount of sodium present in soft water will vary based on how much hardness is being removed by the softener. The harder your water is the more sodium ions that are being exchanged to make soft water. For example, someone with 11 grains per gallon (gpg) hardness would see an additional 20.6 mg of sodium per 8-ounce glass.
Note: Once you have your hard water number, this is how you can calculate the additional amount of sodium that will be added to your water.
One solution is to use potassium chloride instead of sodium chloride pellets to soften your water. 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.
When you do the math, water softeners add a very small amount of sodium to your diet. And considering the many benefits of installing a water softener, such as preventing damaging scale buildup in your pipes and appliances while saving on energy, shampoo and soaps, installing this appliance to battle your hard water problems is a worthwhile investment. Learn more at Aquatell about how a water softener can help you save money throughout your home.