hard water vs soft water how to tell
You’ve probably heard the terms “hard water” and “soft water” and now you are wondering what determines the hardness or softness of water and how to tell the difference.
- For an easy at home water hardness test, check this article.
- For the map of US hard water, check this article.
Although water is typically crystal clear, it contains minerals and chemicals. The concentration of certain minerals is what creates the “hardness” of water. In this article, we will look at the differences between the two types of water, as well as the pros and cons of each.
What’s the difference between hard water and soft water?
The hardness of water is determined primarily by the amount of calcium and magnesium it contains. Higher levels of these and other minerals make water hard.
- Soft water has less than 17 parts per million
- Slightly hard water has 17 to 60 parts per million
- Moderately hard water has 60 to 120 parts per million
- Hard water has 120 to 180 parts per million
- Very hard water has greater than 180 parts per million
Risks and Benefits of Hard Water and Soft Water
Both types of water offer unique risks and benefits, and water quality may vary for both hard and soft water. It usually comes down to what you’re using the water for. There is a lot of information out there about hard and soft water, but some of it is just myths or misunderstandings.
Myth #1. Hard Water is Contaminated.
Hard water contains more minerals, but that doesn’t mean it’s contaminated. Contamination is different than mineral content and refers to germs and bacteria instead. Minerals are valuable nutrients for your body, although too many may pose health risks. Too much magnesium may lead to renal issues and diarrhea, similar to a laxative effect. If you live in an older home built from the mid-1940s to the mid-1970s, excessive levels of magnesium and calcium could stick to the inside of the pipes and create a bedding for bacteria buildup.
Myth #2. Hard Water Tastes Bad.
On contrary, minerals in hard water improve water’s taste, while softer water lacks these taste differentiators. In reality, softer water is more likely to taste different than what you’re used to. If your water is softened using a chemical or filtration system, it may taste slightly salty.
Myth #3. Rainwater is Soft.
Water that falls from the sky starts out soft because it cannot carry as many minerals during evaporation. However, as it flows along the ground, it picks up minerals along the way.
How can you tell if water is hard or soft?
You can’t tell by looking at water whether it’s hard or soft. But that doesn’t means signs are not visible.
Signs of hard water include:
- Spotty Glassware
- Crusty Faucets
- Hard to Clean Toilet Stains
- Higher Utility Bills. Mineral deposits can form in the pipes, essentially shrinking the interior diameter of the pipes and reducing water flow.
Signs of soft water include:
- A healthy lather when washing
- Toilets that are cleaner longer
- More powerful flush
- Healthy water pressure in your home
Hard Water or Soft Water?
While according to the National Institute of Health, drinking hard water might even be healthy for you as it contains essential minerals, it can wreak serious havoc on your toilet. Even if you are living with an area with moderate hard water that is not affecting your everyday life, using Pulitamin Magic Eco Balls can save you from constant bathroom cleaning and keep your septic pipes and internal toilet and flushing system healthy.