Soft Water: Problems and Solutions
Your homes may have soft water or hard water, and it isn’t always easy to tell which type is running through your pipes. Both soft and hard water have pros and cons. Purchasing a water analysis kit is the fastest and easiest method to determine the type of water in your home. If the test shows your home’s water is soft, there are a few things you need to know to ensure your health and that of your family.
Soft Water-What Does It Mean?
Unlike hard water, which is laced with large amounts of dissolved mineral ions, such as magnesium and calcium, soft water contains sodium ions. Hard water is untreated, but soft has been treated with salt. One of the main differences between the two types of water is hard water tends to taste better and is healthier because of the added minerals, whereas soft water has a salty taste due to the added sodium ions.
Because of the many minerals in hard water, it tends to leave behind mineral deposits in the sink, shower, toilet and tub. It can also leave clothes feeling stiff and looking dingy. You may feel “coated” in soap after a shower, since hard water does not rinse well.
Soft water, on the other hand, is more efficient when it comes to cleaning. It does not leave behind soap scum, glass sparkles because of no residue and skin and clothes are softer. Because it works well with detergents and soaps, it puts less strain on appliances and can lessen your water bill.
As rainwater falls, the water is considered soft, but as it makes its way through the ground and the labyrinth of waterways, it accumulates a variety of minerals. These minerals include lime, calcium, chalk and magnesium. After absorbing these minerals, the original soft rainwater is converted into hard water. It must then go through the softening process where sodium (salt) is added and the additional minerals are removed.
For anyone who has medical issues related to circulatory or heart problems or someone on a low-sodium diet, softer water is not recommended for drinking. During the process water goes through to emerge as soft, minerals are removed and replaced by sodium.
Soft water may be a problem for homes with lead pipes. As the soft water travels through, it may pull unhealthy contaminants, including lead, into your drinking water.
There are three ways water companies and homeowners address the problem of water treatment. They are:
- Reverse osmosis – Also referred to as desalination, the process uses a semipermeable membrane to filter water and remove impurities.
- Distillation – A process that removes impurities and contaminants by using heat, condensation and evaporation.
- Deionization – Removes all salt from the water leaving water mineral free through an ion exchange process.
For homeowners, improving the water quality in your home could include the installation of a water softening unit or a reverse osmosis system. For answers to your questions about soft water solutions for your home, contact The Pink Plumber today.