Have you ever been in a conversation about hard and soft water and wondered what exactly you are talking about? When thinking logically, how can water be hard, unless it’s frozen of course and then its ice – not water!
Water hardness and softness has nothing to do with its physical state. It is more about what is in it, specifically, the chemical compounds dissolved within it.
When water becomes hard.
Pure water (like clean rainwater) is usually soft water. It becomes hard when it comes into contact with rock layers made up of compounds such as calcium or magnesium, which dissolve in it to make it ‘hard’.
How does this happen?
If we continue to use rainwater as our example, rain falls and the water soaks into the ground, travelling through dirt and often stone. Via this pathway, it comes into contact with various compounds that dissolve within it. The water is now hard water because it has these compounds in it. How hard depends on how high the concentration of compounds within it.
How hard is water?
There are various levels of hardness. It all depends on the rock types found in that region and how long the water has been in contact with them.
You will not know if water is soft or hard by just looking at it. To know exactly whats in it and how much, it has to be tested.
Sometimes however, you can tell if it’s hard or soft by the way it feels or reacts when using it. In your home, there are some signs that can help you guess if your water is hard or soft. Some of the most common signs are:
- Unsightly stains are visible on your bath, shower and toilet and you have a high level of soap scum left in these same spots too.
- It’s hard to lather soap and cleaning products and a lot of them are required to clean properly.
- Glass is impossible to get clean and water leaves streaky marks on it.
- Your family may suffer from skin irritations and have dull lifeless hair.
- Your appliances are wearing out before they should and your pipes keep getting blocked.
These are some of the most common indicators that you have a hard water problem. The good news is it’s easy to fix!
Soft water – as good as a warm hug!
There is nothing better than a nice warm shower or bath at the end of a day. It’s one of life’s little luxuries that is attainable and affordable for most of the population.
A ritual that is made all the more enjoyable if your soap lathers nicely, your bath and shower are clean and streak free and when you emerge from the water and towel yourself down, your skin and hair feel soft, clean and nourished and not dry, papery and at worst, itchy and sore.
The above summarises the difference in the human contact experience of hard verses soft water. One feels like a slap that worsens over time and the other like a nice warm trusted embrace.
The cold hard fact of the matter is that hard water is typically not healthy for your skin or hair and can lead to:
- Skin that dries out quickly, feels sticky and is scaly
- Skin that suffers from eczema and psoriasis
- Hair that loses its shine and is dull and lifeless
- Hair that never feels clean
- A scalp that it is itchy, flaky and has dermatitis
Soft water is better for your home, and for your possessions too!
For most people, your home is your biggest asset! It’s a precious place in which much effort and time is invested and spent. Similar to humans, hard water harms your home in the long and short term in lots of different ways! Some of these are detailed below.
- Washing clothes in hard water can ruin the fabric over time by breaking it down, staining it and generally leaving it looking dull and dirty.
- Hard water can cause build up in your pipes that you don’t notice until they begin to back up. These mineral deposits must be flushed out by a plumber to prevent damage to your pipes. Unfortunately, many home owners do not realise that this build up is taking place until real problems occur. The simple installation of a water softening system will counteract this scale build up, and reduce (if not obliterate) the negative effects of hard water.
- Hard water takes its toll on your appliances and fittings aswell. Dish washers, washing machines, kettles, toilets, taps and faucets. All of which have shorter life spans and work less effectively and efficiently in hard water. So not only do you need to replace them more often but their use of electricity, and hence your bill, rises!
- Cleaning your home is also less efficient with hard water. Dishes and glasses are left streaky, soap scum and bathroom lime scale is endless and very hard to budge and unsightly stains can permanently mark your toilet, bath and shower tiles. Higher volumes of cleaning products are used to get an inferior result!
All in all, soft water is better water for you, your family and your home!
How do you soften your water?
Water softeners are the magical answer! Most water softeners on the market are ion exchange systems. In these systems, hardness ions (calcium and magnesium) are exchanged for salt (sodium or potassium) ions. The exchange takes place within the resin tank of the water softener. When water flows through the tank it comes in contact with small resin beads that are covered with salt ions. As water flows through the resin beads, hardness ions trade places with salt ions, hence the higher salt content in softened water.
Drinking soft water
Waterways always recommends having a dedicated undersink water filtration system in your home for your everyday drinking water. A water softener has a completely different role in your home and in when treating your homes water, converting it form hard to soft. However, it does not remove all the harmful chemicals, bacteria and heavy metals form your water for drinking.
A true water expert, we at Waterways are able to provide a range of water treatment solutions for our customers, some of which are vastly superior to the industry standard and very affordable. Our vast knowledge and experience and varied range of products allows us to provide complete water health solutions depending on the need of the individual.
For the softest, cleanest and freshest water available throughout your home, speak to a Waterways expert today.
Because to us it’s more than water, it’s about long term health and well being.
Waterways, quality ways with water.
To find out more or to speak to a Waterways expert call 8186 0189 or visit www.waterways.com.au.