Hard water is statistically present in over 80% of US households. It affects appliances, everyday household items, and clothes. To solve this issue, many people look to buying water softeners.
How can you tell the difference between softened and hard water?
Hard water creates a white chalky residue on appliances and dishes. It also stains clothes because it doesn’t allow soap particles to disintegrate properly. Unlike hard water, soft water doesn’t leave mineral residue. That’s because it has been stripped of all traces of calcium, magnesium, lime, and chalk. As a result, it can wash away all the soap scum and doesn’t clog skin pores. This allows your skin to release its natural oils, therefore becoming a little slippery.
And because it does such a good job washing away soap scum, your bathtub will look more attractive and require less scrubbing. Furthermore, soft water reduces limescale residue. Limescale is the main culprit that causes corrosion. Since soft water reduces it, your pipes will be less likely to clog. This can save you money and stress over time.
Curiously enough, even with all these flaws, hard water is safer to drink. How come? Because hard water contains chalk, lime, calcium, and magnesium. The latter two are beneficial to your health, considering they are in the right dosage. When it comes to taste, people also prefer hard water, despite its other flaws.
Is purchasing a water softener a good idea?
There are two ways to soften water: salt-based softeners and water conditioners. The salt-based water softeners generally do a good job. You’ll notice that during showers or baths, your soap will create more bubbles. Your clothes will feel and look less dingy when washed with softened water. Your dishes will have no more residue on them. The same goes for your tap and showerhead.
However, the salt build-up might negatively affect people with high blood pressure, people with diabetes, babies, plants, and fish that swim in softened water-filled aquariums.
But don’t get too excited about salt-free water conditioners just yet. The main concern with these systems is that they don’t work that well in places where water sits. As such, your water heater will still have limescale build-ups. They also don’t do a good enough job of decontaminating the water in case of bacteria or other pollutants.
Is there something that solves these problems?
If you’re looking for a solution that solves all these problems and makes the water drinkable, your best bet would be a water descaler. A water descaler is by far the healthiest alternative to water softeners because it doesn’t get rid of essential minerals like calcium and magnesium. The water remains 100% drinkable with the added benefits that soft water gives you.
Water descalers work by treating the water with electric impulses. By directly reshaping the mineral molecules, they become less adherent. As a result, your plumbing system and appliances will also last longer.
And you’ll still get the necessary calcium and magnesium by drinking descaled water. Your clothes, dishes, bathtub, and appliances will get the same benefits as they do from softened water faster, because the descaler works past the hardness point that limits water softeners.
It’s the best of both worlds. Water descalers also reduce limescale, which in turn reduces bacterial growth and rust.
In conclusion, is drinking softened water safe?
In small rations, softened water shouldn’t have a lasting impact on healthy adult humans. However, in large doses, softened water has been proven to have adverse effects on plants. Also, babies shouldn’t drink softened water at all. This is because of the usually high concentration of salt found within softened water.
Now you might ask why rainwater doesn’t negatively affect plant life, even though it is theoretically softened water. That’s because rainwater doesn’t contain salt and goes into the soil, where it combines with the ground’s natural nutrient to feed the plants. If the land didn’t have any nutrients and you would use softened water, your plants would die in a couple of days max.
To put it in even simpler terms, if you’re an adult, you can drink softened water as long as you don’t go over a salt level of 200 mg/l.
Even so, don’t try it too often. Stick to softened water when you need to take a shower, wash your clothes or dishes and want to keep your washing machine safer from limestone deposits.
Otherwise, you are far better off getting a water descaler, which offers the same benefits as soft water without any of the downsides. With all of this said, stay safe and hydrated!