What is Healthier Hard or Soft Water July 29, 2020 04:00
What is Healthier Hard or Soft Water?
What’s the difference between hard water and soft water?
You may think that the water that comes out of your tap in its natural form is the same, regardless of hard vs soft water where you are. However, this is not the case.
Water is described as being either hard water or soft water. The distinction rests on the number of dissolved minerals within the water. Hard water contains a high amount of calcium and magnesium minerals, vs soft water contains little to none. Instead of having higher levels of calcium and magnesium, soft water tends to have higher concentrations of sodium or salt.
The answer to the question “What is Hard Water?” is a matter of mineral concentration.
A concentration greater than 60 milligrams per liter of water is considered “hard.” Extremely hard water can top 180 milligrams per liter. At these levels, you should expect to see mineral buildup affecting your appliances.
Is it better to drink Hard or Soft water?
As rainwater falls, it is naturally soft. However, as water makes its way through the ground and into our waterways, it picks up minerals like chalk, lime and mostly calcium and magnesium and becomes hard water. Since hard water contains essential minerals, it is sometimes the preferred drinking water. Not only because of the health benefits, but also the flavor. Drinking hard water versus soft water is not a health hazard. In fact, the National Institutes of Health have found positive health benefits for drinking hard water, as calcium and magnesium play important roles in improved heart function, digestion, blood sugar regulation, even cancer-fighting. Hard water can taste better, as well.
Soft water is not, however, suggested for those with heart or circulatory problems, or others who may be on a low sodium diet. In the softening process, as minerals are removed, sodium content increases. Research shows that cardiovascular disease has the lowest risk in areas where water has the most mineral content. There are ways to combat the sodium in soft water, which will allow households to enjoy better-tasting water, as well as have the best available water for cleaning needs. They are reverse osmosis, distillation, and deionization.
Is it OK to drink hard tap water?
Yes, hard water does have added health benefits. Calcium and magnesium are important minerals the body needs for the growth and function of bones and muscles. These minerals also regulate blood pressure and enzyme actions. Consuming hard water may be a source of these minerals.
But if you don't want the side effects of hard water on your home there is a way around it. In terms of consumption, many experts claim that hard water is far better than soft water. Still, we should not ignore the benefits of soft water. Precisely because of this, many experts suggest using a water softener that has a water bypass valve system. This will allow hard water to flow to some specific areas so that it can be used for drinking and cooking purposes. If not, we recommend that you use other sources of water, for example, bottled water for drinking.
What happens if Water is Too Hard?
When water boils down, the major difference between hard and soft water can best be seen while doing daily housework. Hard water is to blame for dingy looking clothes, dishes with spots and residue, and bathtubs with lots of film and soap scum. Soap is less effective due to its reaction to the magnesium and calcium that lather is not as rich and bubbly. Even hair washed in hard water may feel sticky and look dull. Hard water can take a toll on household appliances as well and use up more energy.
The minerals in hard water can also change the pH balance of your skin, weakening it as a barrier against harmful bacteria and infections. People with eczema may be especially vulnerable.
You turn on the faucet to wash your hands and fill up the tub to take a bath, but your water may be affecting more than just your hygiene. Water hardness, or the amount of dissolved calcium or magnesium in your water, could also be affecting your energy use. Hard water could even be responsible for making your appliances work harder.
For many, the hard water versus soft water debate boils down to costs. Mineral-saturated water costs include energy waste, wear and tear, inefficient operation, early failure of appliances and reduced lifespan of your plumbing. Increased use of chemicals needed to overcome the effects of hard water can also negatively impact the environment.
All in all, hard water can be a drain on your budget.
What are the benefits of soft water?
House workers will love using soft water, as tasks can actually be performed more efficiently with it. Soap will lather better and items will be left cleaner. Glasses will sparkle and hair will look healthy. The shower curtain will be scum-free. Clothes and skin are left softer. In addition to time, soft water can also save money, as less soap and detergents will be used. Since appliances have to work less hard, soft water can also prolong the life of washing machines, dishwaters and water heaters. Energy bills are noticeably lower when in households with water softeners. In a time when energy costs rise higher and higher, this is something for you to consider.
What is Water Softening?
Typical water softener systems work by flushing hard water through resin beads containing positively charged sodium and potassium ions. The sodium and potassium are released into the water as the resin beads attract the calcium and magnesium ions, which are also positively charged. The result of this exchange is softened water containing small amounts of sodium and potassium.
The benefits of water softeners are cleaner laundry, longer-lasting appliances and no sticky soap buildup. Consumers use less laundry detergent and other types of cleaners and detergents. Clothing is brighter, and sinks, tubs and showers require less cleaning.
Water appliances such as boilers, water heaters and dishwashers typically run more efficiently and need less maintenance as soft water does not cause scale buildup in pipes and plumbing fixtures. Soft water users often report hair and skin feel less dry and flaky.
Do I need a water softener?
If you’ve been living with hard water for a while, you may be oblivious to its detrimental effects. Unsure if you need to soften your water? Look for the tell-tale signs:
- Film or spots on your dishes, appliances, and clothing.
- Scale build-up around faucets or in appliances.
- Dull, flat hair.
- Dry, itchy skin.
- A layer of scum on hair and skin upon washing.
Testing your water to determine if it is hard or soft is an important step in managing energy use and your water’s impact in your home and life. The Water Quality Association of the United States defines hard water as having dissolved mineral hardness of 1 GPG (grain per gallon) or more. Here is a helpful table to show the hardness of water:
- Soft Water- less than 1 gpg
- Slightly Hard- 1-3 gpg
- Moderately Hard- 3-7 gpg
- Hard Water- 7-11 gpg
- Extremely Hard- over 11 gpg
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