Tap water isn’t the same everywhere. While some might receive soft water, some might get hard water that is full of minerals, which are said to cause problems with your household items. Though we here introduce hard water as something harmful in the long run, soft water isn’t preferred by everyone. There are certain reasons for the same, but you need to understand the real differences between hard water and soft water.
Also, the touch and feel of the hard and soft water have nothing to do with its hardness but it is the chemical composition and the presence of minerals that differentiates the two.
In the comparison below, we’ll explain what the two water types are and how do they differ from each other.
What is hard water and soft water?
Hard water is the more commonly available water to most of the households in America, where it is said to constitute about 85% of the total water supplied. This water contains calcium and magnesium that become a part of the water when it contacts rocks and soil.
On the other hand, soft water has a negligible amount or no minerals at all. This water is naturally occurring but in households where hard water is not preferred, soft water is produced by water treatment or softening. Rain water can be called soft water, but when it contacts the rock layers have the minerals, those minerals get dissolved into it and thus, soft water becomes hard water.
What do they contain?
Soft water contains sodium and is devoid of any other minerals. The hard water contains some minerals like chalk, lime and mostly calcium and magnesium. It is the presence of these minerals that makes the water harder.
Effects of hard and soft water on health
It is quite subjective, and controversial to talk about the health effects and benefits of both the types of water, but what is believed is that hard water has better health effects due to the presence of magnesium and calcium.
These minerals present in hard water are said to be good for the development and health of bones and teeth. Some studies also say that hard water reduces the risk of heart disease. On the other side, the soft water does not contain any minerals, so it doesn’t have any significance for health.
Talking about the adverse effects of hard water – the hair looks dull and sticky due to minerals that dry out the hair. Studies also claim that hard water has one long-term effect on the skin, causing eczema.
Soft water has a high level of sodium, which can be a problem for heart patients who are to be on a low-sodium diet. According to research, areas, where water has a high mineral content, sees lesser cases of cardiovascular diseases.
Hard water vs. Soft water in household chores
Soft water will be the preferable choice for many in households because of its advantages over hard water in the day-to-day use scenario. With soft water, more lather is formed and the items that are cleaned don’t have any white marks. Thanks to soft water, there will be lesser soaps and detergents used when compared to hard water.
The shower curtain will be scum-free when soft water is used for shower and in the end, if you end up using soft water for most of the appliances and applications, this increases the longevity of the products and thus, you don’t have to spend regularly in getting the appliances.
The difference between hard water and soft water is significant and one can easily even find out whether the tap water at their locality is hard in nature or soft. The hardness is classified by Water Quality Association of the United States in terms of GPG (grain per gallon) into these types.
- Soft Water: Less than 1 gpg
- Slightly Hard: 1-3.5 gpg
- Moderately Hard: 3.5-7 gpg
- Very Hard: 7-10 gpg
- Extremely Hard: over 10 gpg
If you feel that having hard water supply helps get some minerals for your body, you will be compromising with a lot of other things, so it is wise to have a water softener that converts hard water to soft water with the help of removal of responsible minerals, especially Magnesium and Calcium. You can probably use best reverse osmosis system to remove such dangerous minerals from hard water.
Soaps use citric acid to make the water softer and lather better but that is not a permanent solution and thus, water softening systems are the best ways to help soften water for household usage.