Difference between hard water and soft?

Hard Water V Soft Water

Depending on the area in which you live, your tap water will be either hard or soft. But what is the difference between the two? In this short article, CW Services Heating and Plumbing explain the difference and highlight the advantages and disadvantages of both types.

Rainwater is soft

As rainwater, the water itself falls out of the sky as soft water. But when the water soaks into the ground, it collects certain minerals; things like calcium, chalk, lime and magnesium. It’s this combination of minerals and the proportion of their presence in the water that determines how hard your water is. It’s also the presence of these minerals that imparts flavour to the water, something that makes it the preferred choice for bottled drinking water. Soft rainwater often has a naturally salty taint.

Why hard water is not preferred for most household uses

But while hard water is preferred by many for drinking, it is not preferred for other use around the home. Why? It’s mainly because soaps and detergents don’t work so well with hard water.

Hard water is responsible many things including:

  • Less lather from soaps due to the presence of the calcium and magnesium
  • Dowdy looking clothes
  • Spots of food and grease residues on dishes and plates
  • The film that is seen on the surface of water
  • Soap scum left around sinks and baths
  • Dull looking, sticky feeling hair
  • Fir build-up in kettles and heating elements

Soft water – the chore doer’s friend

For the person who does the chores around the home, soft water is his or her friend. Soap lathers better, and doesn’t tend to leave any film or scum behind. Glassware sparkles more brightly, people’s hair looks shinier and healthier, and their skin feels softer.

Soft water is also more economic because appliances don’t gather fir and lime-scale, and items such as dish-waters, washing machines and water heaters tend to have longer working lives. Energy bills in homes that have soft water are noticeably lower too.

Soft water nay not be so healthy

It is however worth bearing in mind that soft water is not as healthy for those with circulatory and heart problems, or for those who are on low sodium diets.

Research indicates that residents who live in hard water areas, where mineral content in the tap water is higher, are less at risk from cardiovascular disease.

The best of both worlds – find out more from CW Services Plumbing and Heating

If you live in a soft water area, or you have your water softened, there are ways of reducing the sodium content; methods such as: deionization, distillation, and reveres osmosis. It means you can enjoy the best of both worlds – soft water for all those chores and longer appliance life, but tasty water without the risk of increased sodium.