What's The Difference Between Hard And Soft Water, Anyway?

Environmental Blog

You've likely heard the terms "hard water" and "soft water." But do you know what these words really mean? How can water be hard or soft? Read on to learn what hard and soft water really are, and why you should care which type of water comes into your home.

What are hard and soft water?

The terms "hard" and "soft" refer to the concentration of dissolved minerals in the water. Hard water contains a lot of dissolved minerals, whereas soft water contains less. The minerals in question here are primarily calcium and magnesium.

How do hard and soft water vary in their actions?

Hard water lays down minerals as it travels. If it rushes across your skin, it leaves some minerals behind on your skin's surface. If it travels through the coffee maker, it leaves some mineral deposits on the way. Soft water does not leave these deposits since its mineral concentration is much lower.

Because it leaves mineral deposits behind, hard water can cause some problems – for your body and for your home. The mineral deposits can lead to clogs and permanent damage in appliances that use water, such as your coffee maker, water dispenser, and washing machine. Your pipes might even clog with these deposits! The mineral buildup can make your skin itchy and dry. It also interferes with the lathering action of soaps and detergents, which means you'll need to use far more of these products in order to get the desired effects. Soft water will make your skin softer and your products more effective while also preventing damage to water-using appliances and pipes.

How can you tell if you have hard water, and what should you do about it?

If you notice any of the consequences of hard water as described above, then you have hard water.  If you're not sure whether your water is hard or soft, you can order a basic testing kit online or hire a water treatment expert to conduct an in-home test. It will only take a moment to test your water's hardness.

If you do have hard water, it's important to take steps to soften it. Usually, this involves having a whole-home water softener installed. This apparatus removes the minerals from your water as it flows into your home. The soft water that emerges will result in longer-lasting plumbing and appliances, so you may actually save money in the long run by not having to replace these items as soon.

If you suspect you may have hard water, get in touch with a plumber to learn more about installing a water softener today. Contact a business, such as Neilson Research Corporation, for more information.   


25 April 2016

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