Ever go to a cheap motel and notice how skin dries out after shower or water tastes a little different?
That is likely because of hard water. It contains a high mineral count of magnesium (dolomite), calcium (limestone or chalk) and more dissolved compounds. Hard water has a difficult time lathering.
In contrast, soft water lathers easily and it contains only one positive charged ion in the form of sodium. It can occur naturally or made with treatment systems. But people prefer hard water over soft water when it comes to drinking because of better taste.
Confused? Here is a detailed explanation.
Hard water and soft water – basic differences
Hard water has been found to be beneficial for drinking. Hardness doesn’t affect health in a negative way. In fact, studies show that drinking dissolved magnesium and calcium content (present in hard water) can be a good source of including minerals in the diet.
The drawback of using hard water is that its dissolved ions react with the chemicals used in soaps and detergents. It makes the soap less effective, and creates scale buildup when using a shower, leading to greater use of chemicals and water to clean the area.
Hardness in excess can cause scaling inside water heaters, pipes, and even industrial machinery. That is because the scale restricts water flow through pipelines and is a poor head conductor. And it isn’t a surprise if the pipes become clogged because of these reasons, they eventually do.
The hardness of water depends on the region and sometimes on local geology and water sources. The map at USGS shows how water hardness is distributed throughout the US.
Coming over to soft water, it has remarkable cleaning capacity (chore-doers will love it). Soap lathers better and items are often left cleaner than with hard water. It further aids in cleaning deposits left on dishes and pans through hard water evaporation when baking or boiling.
Energy bills are also lower when hard water is treated by water softening systems to make soft water. However, traditional water softeners have negative impact on the environment, which is why household and industrial consumers have started taking more interest in alternatives to water softeners in recent times. LifeSource Water Systems inform that a clear alternative to common water softeners doesn’t use salt and adds nothing to water during treatment. Even better, it retains healthy minerals without wasting water or limiting its availability.
Soft water can be damaging in the sense that it can cause deterioration of metal equipment and contribute to vinyl, concrete and fiberglass. Further, it can reduce chlorine effectiveness in swimming pools.
Which one of the two?
You can’t make a choice between the two. Because if you have soft water, you would need to worry about finding a better drinking source, but would be at ease at getting things clean. So you can filter out the sodium content or use harder water.
If you have hard water, you would find convenience at drinking, but would have to come up with a better way to get some cleaning done. And if it’s extremely hard in content, it would require softening to help you keep items cleaner.