Hard versus Soft Water

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hard vs soft

Hard versus Soft Water

Hard water, found in various parts of the country, contains relatively high concentrations of the minerals calcium and magnesium.

The presence of these minerals prevents soap from lathering and results in filmy sediment being deposited on your hair, clothing, pipes, dishes, and anything else that comes into regular contact with the water.

It also affects the taste.

Hard water can be annoying, and though some studies have shown deaths from heart disease may be lower in areas where the drinking water is hard, we believe the calcium found in hard water isn’t good for your heart, arteries, or bones.

Hard water deposits its calcium and other minerals on the outside of structures, while it’s the calcium and magnesium found within these structures that are beneficial to your body.

Soft water can be naturally soft or it may be hard water treated to remove the calcium and magnesium.

Standard water-softening systems work by using pressure to pass the water through exchange media to exchange “hard” calcium and magnesium ions for “soft” sodium or potassium ions.

Most use either sodium chloride or potassium chloride to do this.

The main benefit of softening is in improved cleaning properties for the water and less mineral buildup inside your household pipes and equipment.

One potentially serious problem with artificially softened water is it’s more likely than hard water to dissolve the lining of pipes.

This poses an especially significant threat if your pipes are made of lead.

Another threat comes from certain plastic and galvanized pipes, which contain cadmium, a toxic heavy metal.

These types of pipes are rarely used in construction today, but they may be present in older buildings that haven’t undergone extensive renovation.

But leaching from pipes can be a problem with copper pipes as well.

Dangerous levels of copper, iron, zinc, and arsenic can leach into softened water from copper pipes.

Another potential problem with artificially softened water is for people with kidney failure.

People with kidney failure need to restrict their intake of potassium.

Potassium-based water-softening systems can therefore pose a danger to these people.

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Dick and Lenay

email: lenay@dickandlenay.com – 715-431-0657

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