Although water is typically crystal clear, it contains minerals and chemicals and the concentration of certain minerals is what creates the “hardness” of water.
What’s the difference between hard water and soft water?
The hardness of water is determined primarily by the amount of calcium and magnesium it contains. Higher levels of these and other minerals make water hard. Water softening systems work by reducing the concentrations of minerals from the water. Instead of having higher levels of calcium and magnesium, soft water tends to have higher concentrations of sodium or salt.
How can you tell if water is hard or soft?
You can’t usually tell by looking at water whether it’s hard or soft. Sometimes the feel of water and what it does to items in your dishwasher or washing machine can be a tip-off. Signs of hard water include:
Feeling a film on your hands after washing them. This is caused by the soap reacting with calcium to form soap scum. You may need to rinse your hands longer if the water is hard.
Spots. These can appear on glasses and silverware coming out of the dishwasher. These are usually deposits of calcium carbonate.
Mineral stains. These show up on clothes when they come out of the washing machine. Clothes can wear out faster because of the harshness of hard water.
Less water pressure in your home. Mineral deposits can form in the pipes, essentially shrinking the interior diameter of the pipes and reducing water flow.
Signs of soft water include:
A healthy lather when washing clothes, dishes, and even your hands and body.
Clothes that are cleaner, with no mineral stains and less wear-and-tear damage.
Healthy water pressure in your home.
A slight sodium taste in drinking water, though in many cases a difference in taste is imperceptible.
Are there any health risks associated with hard water?
There are no serious adverse health problems associated with drinking hard water.
However, hard water can contribute to dry skin and hair. Washing your hair frequently with hard water can leave your scalp feeling itchy.
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.
If you notice problems with dry skin and hair, you may want to look into a water-softening system for your home.
What is water softening?
A home water-softening system works by running hard water through a resin — a sticky, insoluble substance from certain trees and plants — that’s coated with positively charged sodium ions. These are molecules with a net electric charge. Concentrations of sodium essentially replace the magnesium and calcium in the water. Water softening units require ongoing maintenance, and sodium pellets need to be added to keep the resin electrically charged. Some systems can use potassium pellets instead of sodium. There are also systems that use magnets, citric acid, or other means of reducing the calcium and magnesium concentrations in the water.
If you’re interested in softening your water, give us a call at 580 200-8280 or email us - firstname.lastname@example.org.