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Hard Water vs Soft Water: All You Need To Know

Hard Water vs Soft Water: All You Need To Know
March 14, 2018 Vlad Alabin
In Blog
woman gives soft water to child

All You Need to Know About Hard Water and Soft Water

Water that is accumulated from rainfall is naturally soft, but when it flows through the ground it mixes with minerals such as lime, chalk, magnesium, and calcium. As it is rich in minerals, it is sometimes preferred as drinking water. It is flavorsome and healthy in many ways. In contrast, soft water is less suitable for drinking as it might taste salty sometimes.

How to Identify Hard Water?

Identifying hard water can be relatively easy as it forms less lather when it is used with soap. Hard water produces a white scum or precipitate. Hardness of water is also manifested by its scaling properties. As hard water contains large amount of magnesium and calcium, it usually forms white scales. Milky appearance of water in swimming pools is also an identification of hard water.

Scaling From Hard Water

Scaling Caused By Hard Water

How Does Water Become Hard?

Water becomes hard due to the high concentration of cations such as magnesium and calcium. These minerals are collected when the water flows through the ground surface.  There are two types of hard water, temporary and permanent.

Permanent hard water is water that remains hard even when it is boiled. On the other hand, hardness of water that can be removed when it is boiled is known as temporary hard water. When water is boiled, it leads to carbonate formation which precipitates and makes the water soft. Permanent hard water can also be softened but not through the process of boiling.

Water is classified into hard water and soft water on the basis of various aspects such as PH level, temperature, presence of minerals in the water and so forth.

Hard Water versus Soft Water

Most of the people love using soft water as it lathers better than hard water. It can be used to clean clothes and areas quickly and easily. Soft water is ideal for washing machines as it requires less soap. Households with water softeners have lower energy bills which is another advantage of using soft water.

Hard water leaves a lot of soap and scum on shower curtains, bathtubs, dishes and other appliances. Household appliances use a lot of energy when hard water is used as it takes time to clean the clothes. Clothes which are washed in hard water tend to appear dull and dingy.

What are the Effects of Hard Water?

Hard water has no such adverse effects on health. However, it can be damaging to household appliances as it leaves spots on bath tubs and dishes. It leaves scales and deposits in pipes which can impair the heating process of heater and other devices.

Hard water contains different types of minerals and therefore it may taste a bit different compared to the taste of soft water. Soft water has a pure taste which is the reason why most people prefer soft water for drinking and other household purposes.

Hard water can increase skin irritations in children as it contains minerals. It can cause itching and dryness of the skin. It can also make your hair appear dull and sticky.

What are the benefits of Soft Water?

Long lasting fabrics

Clothes that are washed in soft water tend to last for a longer period of time. There are no hard minerals trapped in the fabric and it retains its shine and color.

Clean and shiny silverware

All types of glassware, silver, and mirrors, appear shiny when it is cleaned with soft water.

Elimination of soap curds

When you use treated water for household purposes, you can completely eliminate spots and residues from the surfaces of tiles, tubs, kitchen sinks and other places caused due to soap curds.

Electrical appliances last for a longer time

When you use soft water, electrical appliances tend to last for a longer time as there is no scale formation in the pipes which reduces the overall productivity of these devices.

How to Treat Hard Water?

There are many ways to treat hard water. Using a water softener system is one of the best options to convert hard water into soft water. A water softener is a mechanical device that trades minerals present in the hard water for sodium. It works on the basis of ion exchange. Majority of the water softeners have automatic regenerating system which functions on different features. The basic system has an electric timer that recharges the system on a specific schedule. Another system uses a computer to trigger the regeneration process.

Water softener system also uses a mechanical water meter that measures the amount of water used and then starts the recharging process. A water softener system has a mineral tank that is filled with tiny beads made of polystyrene which carry negative charge. As hard water contains calcium and magnesium which carry positive charges, it clings to the beads when the water is passed through the tank.

Different Types of Water Softeners and Filter Systems

There are various types of water softeners and filter systems that can be used to treat hard water. The benefits of installing a water softener do not stop with the availability of drinking water. It improves the quality of water you use in showers, cooking appliances and so forth. You can also find a plethora of water filters that can be used to filter contaminants such as bacteria, lead, rust and many more. Some of the various types of water filters are

  • Whole house water filters
  • Shower head filters
  • Faucet mount water filters
  • Water filter pitchers
  • Under sink water filters
  • Refrigerator filters

You can find water softeners and filters with different water capacities and features to suit specific purposes. While companies like Lowes and Home Depot offer water softeners and filters for both domestic and industrial purposes, more specialized companies like VA Water, LLC are better suited to pair you with the right water filtration system for your needs. We spend the time to learn about our clients and work with them closely to ensure they get everything they’re seeking and are more than satisfied. Contact VA Water, LLC as we have water softeners and filtration systems available in different varieties and price ranges.