You’ve probably heard water described as “soft” or “hard” – but what makes it that way? The short answer is minerals. The more minerals present in water, the harder it is.
When water falls from the sky, it’s naturally soft. However, once it reaches the ground and travels through the waterways, it begins to accumulate minerals like calcium and magnesium. Therefore, by the time the water reaches your faucet, it’s usually pretty concentrated.
Is hard water bad?
Not if you’re thirsty. Because of the dissolved, natural minerals found in hard water, it actually has some health benefits. Some also think it tastes better than soft water. However, there are many downsides to hard water – and it may end up doing harm in the long run.
When hard water dries on surfaces, it leaves behind mineral deposits known as scale. Repeated use of hard water eventually leads to scale buildup, which can damage the efficiency of your home’s pipes and appliances.
The same minerals also cause soap scum in showers and sinks, residue on dishes and stains on clothes. They can also cause all kinds of damage to your hair and skin, as well.
What are the benefits of soft water?
Instead of having high levels of calcium and magnesium, soft water has sodium. Soft water’s lack of hard minerals makes it great for cleaning. Sodium doesn’t interfere with soaps and detergents the same way calcium and magnesium do.
So if you use soft water, you’ll notice showers and sinks free of soap scum, cleaner dishes and softer clothes. You’ll quickly notice you use less soap and detergent. Appliances that use soft water also require less energy to run and end up lasting longer as a result.
Do you need a water softener?
If you want to avoid the negative, long-term effects of hard water— like high energy costs and replacing pipes and appliances— a water softener is a good investment for your home. There are a variety of water softeners on the market, many can serve your whole house and still stay energy-efficient, make sure you read reviews.
Call The Pros
If you are experiencing issues caused by hard water or have any questions about water softeners, feel free to contact Norman Heating, Air and Plumbing today to speak with one of our experienced plumbers.