Soft water is desirable in terms of usage and drinking. Some areas have naturally hard water, which comprises of many minerals. Most of these hardness minerals do not have negative health consequences. In fact, naturally dissolved minerals such as calcium and magnesium offer supplemental contribution on your dietary intake and have a higher bioavailability than over the counter vitamins. For most consumers, water that is too high in these impurities may impart an unpleasant taste.
There are disadvantages of hard water that can be costly for residential and commercial applications. Water containing hardness minerals can damage or clog piping, fixtures, and appliances. In industry, hard water could increase electricity costs in boiler applications for example. Hard water is usually caustic softened by the respective department in the local government before it is supplied to households. This process does have its limitation and post treatment is the responsibility of the end user. This post talks about benefits of soft water and how you can use a water softener if required.
Know About the Common Issues with Hard Water
What is hard water? Ground and surface water from sources such as from wells, rivers, and lakes contains minerals in their natural form. Hard water is a type of water highly rich in various minerals and deposits of bicarbonates, lime, sulfates, and more. This happens as water percolates through various deposits of rocks, gypsum, chalk, limestone, and absorb calcium and magnesium mainly. Other minerals such as barium, strontium, silica, iron and manganese also contribute to scaling conditions and your water treatment professional can assist in deciding what treatment method is best in your situation. Here are some disadvantages of hard water:
- Hard water comprises of minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, iron, and magnesium which may be fine for health but it depends on which form and its quantity.
- Hardness minerals may react with other metals in utensils, heaters, and so on, and corrode them.
- Depending on the source, hard water may contain dangerous metals such as lead and non-metals such as plastic.
- Hard water forms scales and deposits on pipe and tank linings, thus eventually clogging/scaling them and reducing life and efficiency.
- Calcium and magnesium leaves white deposits on toilet and bathroom fixtures such as taps, faucets, showers, tile, tubs, and shower doors.
- It may be damaging for hair and highly alkaline minerals will also dry your skin and hair.
- It can damage clothes or certain types of fabric if used for washing them. This is usually in terms of stains and discoloration.
- It is not easy to dissolve soaps and detergents in hard water and it does not form foam. It forms a kind of precipitate instead.
What Are Water Softeners and Their Types?
Hard water can be softened using various types of softeners. However, two types of water softeners are widely used: salt-based and salt-free.
- Salt-free water softeners: These are a better option than the later in case of domestic use or where the water is not too hard. In this method, hard water is conditioned by passing a specialized media/resin that changes the state from a carbonate to a non-scaling bicarbonate. The advantage here is there is no build-up of chemicals and sodium ions in the softened water. It also leave the beneficial calcium and magnesium for consumption.
- Salt-based water softeners: Salt-based softeners eliminate the minerals that build-up scale and deposits through an ion exchange process. The positively charged sodium ions replace the positively charged ions of calcium, magnesium and some metals.
- Point-of-Entry (POE) Reverse Osmosis: These systems use osmin pressure to physically remove most contaminants in water including chemicals, metals, and hardness ions. It is the pinnacle of water treatment and offers bottled water quality to every tap in your home. It is a substantially more expensive technology that requires pre and post treatment and well as a holding tank with a repressurization system.
Water Softeners and Their Benefits
Most local governments across the globe, including the US have their own water treatment plants through which purified water is supplied through pipes to flow to the end user. Caustic softening is often a part of this water treatment process, depending on the type of water available in a given area. Further softening of water is often required when it comes to daily consumption and residential or commercial use.
Here are some of the benefits of water softening tools:
- The first and foremost benefit is that they prevent of clogging of pipes and accumulation of deposits and scales on fixtures.
- This enhances the water flow as there is no build-up inside on the lining of taps and pipes.
- Soft water forms foam when mixed with soap, which makes cleaning easy.
- As it contains minerals in minimal quantities, it does not react with metallic objects or surfaces.
- Soft water is soft on skin, hair, and fabrics.
- The improved flow of water reduces energy consumption for geysers and heaters.
- Soft water is definitely more potable than hard water and better in taste. Hard water has a peculiar flavor which many people do not like.
- Water softening systems are quite easy to install at homes.
Do you require a water softener for domestic use? If yes, ensure you approach a reliable company such as Intec America, which offers safe water treatment solutions for domestic consumption. They offer end-to-end solutions for residential water treatment systems, such as water filtration, disinfection, softening, pH control, reverse osmosis, and so on.