What’s the deal with hard vs soft water?
What does it mean when water is either hard or soft? More importantly, what does this mean for your home?
Millions of homeowners are now paying attention to the differences between hard and soft water. They know there’s an impact on household cleaning, expenses, and even health.
Once you understand the difference, it’s much easier to take action on improving your drinking water, plumbing, bathroom sanitation, and other household components that are directly impacted by the quality of your water.
Ready to get to the bottom of this mystery once and for all? Keep reading to learn the facts and consequences of hard vs soft water.
Hard Vs Soft Water: What Is It?
According to recent geological surveys, 85% of all our water in the USA is actually hard water, not soft water.
Hard water contains far more minerals than soft water. It’s literally packed with calcium and magnesium carbonates! That’s because hard water is filtered through chalk and limestone deposits before it hits your tap.
The more minerals there are, the more “hard” your water is.
On the other hand, soft water contains extremely low amounts of these minerals.
Instead of filtering through limestone, soft water is acquired from surface water, rainfall, and rivers with minimal calcium-rich rocks. That’s why hard and soft water tastes a little different.
But what’s the real impact of such high mineral composition or lack thereof?
Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of hard vs soft water.
Hard Water: Pros and Cons
The most talked-about benefit of hard water is the fact that it does contain these large doses of calcium and magnesium, two important minerals that are vital to our diets. Hence, why we have “mineral water.”
However, because of this high mineral concentration, hard water can do a number on your home and appliances.
Any of these issues sound familiar?
- Calcium buildup and clogging of your pipes.
- Residue and curdled laundry detergent fusing to your clothes.
- Soap residue and limescale on your bathroom tiles, tub, sink, and shower doors.
- Fading of fabric colors after each wash. One study even found that hard water increases color fading by 15%!
- Dingy or “yellowing” of your white clothes.
- Mineral scaling and build-up in your coffee maker.
These are the most obvious consequences of hard water that you can see with your own eyes, but there are more issues that are often missed by the naked eye.
These frequently missed problems include:
- Mineral buildup in your washing machine
- Hard water does not interact as well with soap than soft water. That’s why it takes longer to lather up with hard water than soft water.
- Hard water makes your gas heater less efficient, causing your energy costs to go up.
- Calcium scaling and build-up in your water heater.
Fortunately, there are a few tricks you can try to minimize the negative impacts of hard water.
What You Can Do To Combat The Consequences of Hard Water
For starters, you can buy special soaps and dish detergent that are meant to effectively interact with hard water. This is one way to get rid of that frustrating post-laundry residue.
You can minimize the mineral concentration in your hard water by keeping your boilers set at around 50 degrees.
Get a well-water treatment that greatly reduces the amount of calcium and magnesium in your water.
Call your local water professional about installing a water softener or distiller.
Now, let’s get the skinny on soft water.
Soft Water: Pros and Cons
As you now know, soft water is basically the opposite of hard water. Instead of high amounts of calcium and magnesium, soft water contains very little minerals. This is the primary reason why soft water is not considered the best drinking water.
Moreover, the fewer minerals there are in your water, the more likely it is to weaken metal-based structures like metal frames and railings for example.
Soft water has also been known to decrease the effectiveness of chlorine. Coupled with its impact on metal, soft water may not the best choice for jacuzzis and pools either.
Now, for the pros.
When it comes to cleaning, you can’t beat soft water. In fact, soft water can help you minimize detergent use by more than 50%! You can even wash your clothes in cold soft water and they will still come out cleaner than clothes washed in hot hard water.
Want to feel cleaner? Soft water makes quick showers more effective because it interacts perfectly with body wash and lathers right up. It also doesn’t leave that icky post-shower residue on your skin either.
Soft water makes it easier to clean grease encrusted pans quicker and more effectively after you cook.
Soft water is just better for your clothes. Period. It keeps your colors vibrant and your whites brighter for longer. Plus, it greatly minimizes wear and tear from your washing machine.
Because soft water is far more superior for cleaning, it keeps your bathroom, food dishes, floors, and countertops more sanitary.
Enjoy crystal clear windows, faucets, mirrors, and shower doors by preventing calcium buildup caused by hard water.
Hard Vs Soft Water: Your Next Step
Now that you have a good handle on hard vs soft water, it’s time to take action.
Why not take advantage of both water types to lower your energy costs, improve your cleaning, maintain your pool, and keep that mineral-rich drinking water?
Think of your water system as any other important home element that must be routinely checked, upgraded, or even replaced if the situation calls for it.
To start, use this post to create a hard vs soft water checklist to access your issues.
For example, if you’re sick of those clumps of laundry detergent or wasting money on dish soap, then it’s time to consider a water treatment solution to improve the performance of your washing machine and pocketbook.
Once you’ve assessed your water situation, your next step is to talk to a water professional about a plan of action.
That plan may include a water analysis, installation of a new water filtration system, purchase of a water softener, or opting for full reverse osmosis treatment.
When it comes to your water and expenses, you can’t afford to not address the consequences of hard vs soft water.
Start addressing these issues now for a cleaner and more cost-effective home.