Water is one of the most essential substances for human, animal, and plant life. Without water, our body can’t perform its bodily functions. As a result, it’s impossible for any human being to survive. Today, there’s a lot of discussion on what’s the best hard/soft classification for drinking, cooking, bathing, and cleaning water. Hard water is known to provide the dietary needs of essential minerals like calcium and magnesium. Soft water, on the other hand, helps soften your skin and smoothen your hair. If you fancy soft water, knowing the pros and cons of a water softener will give you an idea of whether or not soft water is best for your health.

Understanding Water Softener and How It Works

A water softener is one of the best solutions to softening hard water through the process of ion exchange. Unlike other solutions, it does not involve the use of chemicals in water treatment. Since the goal is to get rid of calcium and magnesium in the water, the water treatment device uses small polystyrene beads with negative charges to remove the minerals as they pass through the mineral tank. A water softener also has a separate brine tank where a concentrated brine solution is made and used to flush calcium and magnesium off the beads.

An automatic regeneration system is present in most of the reliable water softeners today. The system is flushed and recharged on a regular schedule. Regeneration is essential in maintaining soft water by flushing minerals from the resin when it is spent and can no longer produce soft water. Refreshing the water softener system by backwashing it with a salt solution will allow it to become operational once again.

Hard Water and How to Know If Your Water is Hard

Hard water is water with minerals above the normal levels found in many water systems. When minerals like calcium and magnesium are dissolved in the water, they increase the degree of hardness of the water.

Dry skin, spotty dishes, and laundry problems are just a few telltale signs that will help you know if your water is hard. Mineral scale and soap scum are also some of the symptoms of hard water. You can also use test kits to determine the hardness of your water. The way to measure hardness is in grams per gallon (GPG) or milligrams per liter (mg/l).

Advantages:

Softer Skin and Smoother Hair – Since hard water makes your skin and hair dry, using a water softener will help in achieving softer skin and clean, smooth hair.

Reduced Energy Requirement When Heating Water – Soft water is easier to heat since there are no deposits in the water that prevents heat transfer.

Soaps and Detergents are Effective in Soft Water – Without calcium and magnesium, soaps and detergents are more effective in doing what they do best – cleaning. You’ll have cleaner and shinier glassware, tiles, cars, mirrors, and silverware. Additionally, you’ll save money by reducing the number of soaps and detergents used because of the rich lather produced in soft water.

Less Hussle in Plumbing – Without mineral deposits, there’s no need for frequent plumbing repairs and replacements since there are no scales in the pipes and appliances. Water heaters are vulnerable to hard water due to the scale buildup. With a water softener, you can prevent the buildup and prolong the life of your appliances.

Disadvantages:

Lacks Essential Minerals in the Water – Hard water is known to contain essential minerals like calcium and magnesium. Aside from giving water flavor, it is healthy to drink hard water regularly. Therefore, using a water softener will deprive you the essential minerals your body needs.

Potential Health Risks for People on Low Sodium Diets – Aside from the removed calcium and magnesium in the water, people on low sodium diets should not use water softener due to the added sodium in the exchange. The release of sodium and brine solution is also detrimental to our environment.

Higher Maintenance – Installing a water softener will require maintenance since salt is added on every exchange. Therefore you need to regularly remove sodium and the corrosive salt brine from the system.

A water softener is a good solution to hard water, especially if your water hardness is very high. Unfortunately, it has its downsides that you also need to consider before deciding if soft water is best for you.

4 Responses

  1. I had no idea that hard water can dry out your skin and hair. As someone with bleached hair and eczema, it is a constant struggle to keep my skin and hair moisturized. I will definitely look into having a water softener installed in my bathroom.

  2. It’s interesting that soft water can make cleaning supplies more effective. I have noticed that many of my dishes have a mineral film on them after going through the dishwasher. It sounds like it would be helpful to install a water softener in the kitchen to help with this.

  3. Love the insight about water softeners! I appreciate that you explained that soft water can help reduce energy consumption. My wife and I are worried about our current water situation since I feel itchy after I take a shower. It seems like it would be a good idea to get a water softener system sooner rather than later.

  4. It’s good to know that spotty dishes and mineral deposits are signs of hard water. I have noticed that my cups always have spots on them when I take them out of the dishwasher. It may be beneficial to have a water softener installed to reduce this problem.

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