Anyone looking into the subject of water quality will quickly come across the terms hard and soft water. The majority of households in our country receive hard water from their public water supplier or their well. Hard water has a high concentration of calcium, magnesium and other water hardening minerals. These hardening minerals are added to the water as it seeps into the ground and this can cause problems. In this article, we will take a closer look at soft water to explain why it’s so desirable for homeowners.

What are the Properties of Soft Water?

Many people are unaware that water is an extremely effective solvent; given enough time most materials can be dissolved in water and the water may even look clear. Public water treatment facilities remove these contaminants, such as pesticides and chemicals, but these systems can fail. Obviously, this is a problem for those of us that want the best quality water for our homes and water testing may be the only way that we can be sure about the contents of our water supply.

Soft water has a lower mineral content than hard water, and this makes it easier to use and less harmful for your home. If the water has been softened by a water softener the sodium (salt) levels may be slightly elevated, but this isn’t noticeable by most people. If a person is on a very low sodium diet, this could be an issue, and it’s a good idea to get some advice from a medical professional.

What Problems are Caused by Hard Water?

Hard water doesn’t represent a health risk to the user, but it can indicate the presence of contaminants that might. Soft water is easier to use in the home because it will not leave mineral deposits on plumbing fixtures and inside water using appliances. This mineral buildup is often referred to as limescale; it clogs up pipes, makes appliances less energy efficient and it can cause a pre-emptive failure in anything that it passes through. This can lead to expensive repairs or an early replacement for items, such as water heaters, washing machines, dishwashers, and plumbing fixtures.

Another key issue is how hard water affects people that use it. As we mentioned above, hard water does not harm your health, but it can affect you in different ways. Washing dishes and clothes in hard water is less effective; it’s harder for the soap to achieve a lather and this means that you need to use more detergent. This is also true when you wash your hair and shower in hard water, the minerals in the water stick to your hair and skin, they are hard to rinse off, and this is why many people have dry skin and brittle or lifeless hair.

Making a Switch to Soft Water

When you install a water softener, your water will be softer and far easier to use in your home. You will find that you’re using less detergent and you can wash clothes and dishes on a lower temperature setting. Many people report that their skin feels cleaner and softer and their hair condition improves after showering in soft water. If you’re interested in making the change to soft water for your home contact a local water treatment professional for expert help.