Hard Water vs Soft Water
Did you ever wonder if you got soft or hard water flowing from your tap? You may have heard or been part of a conversation about water being hard or soft, and wondered what that meant exactly. You may also have noticed the scaling and the deposits left by hard water on the plumbing and pipes inside or outside your house.
If you spot a thin chalky layer on your plates or household appliances after you wash them, or if your kitchen pipes are clogged with thick deposits, it may have a distinctive odour or saltiness when you drink this water straight from your tap. You have hard water running into your supply system if you can relate to any of this.
Hard And Soft Water Defined
Hard water is water that has a high content of minerals including calcium and magnesium. This is formed as water flows through layers of limestone and chalk. If the water you are using is “hard” then you need more soap, detergent or shampoo for rinsing and lather.
Hard water builds up calcium deposits in your pipes taking a huge toll on your hot water heater. In turn, the heating up of the same amount of water used would take more energy (cost).
Soft water is water with low calcium carbonate content and other ions with few or no minerals (like calcium or magnesium). It is water that is easy to lather with soap.
Rainwater is naturally soft, but it picks up minerals such as chalk, lime, calcium and magnesium as it makes its way through the ground and into waterways. Hard water contains essential minerals, making it sometimes the preferred drinking water not only for health benefits but also for flavour.
According to the Water Quality Association, water hardness is interpreted as follows:
Soft: 0-1 grains per gallon
Slightly Hard: 1.1 – 3.5 g.p.g
Moderately Hard: 3.6 – 7 g.p.g
Hard: 7.1 – 10.5 g.p.g
Very Hard: Over 10.5 g.p.g
Softening your hard water will prolong the lifespan of your washing machine, dishwasher, and water heater. It will save money also by using less soap and detergents. Energy bills will be noticeably lower & this is something to think about at a time when energy costs are rising.