What are the Benefits of Soft Water?

What are the Benefits of Soft Water?

Hard water can take a toll on pipes, fixtures, and big ticket items like water heaters and washing machines. Soft water units can help preserve the life of appliances, dishes, laundry and more!

 

Everyone’s familiar with the telltale signs of hard water: white streaks inside your shower, stubborn mineral deposits on your “clean” dishes, corroded fixtures and hard-to-remove discoloration and build-up on basins and countertops.

 

So what exactly IS hard water, and what causes it?

 

Hard water contains high amounts of calcium and magnesium, which is caused by water coming in contact with rocks or soil; in other words, hard water is any water containing an appreciable quantity of dissolved minerals.[1] In the United States, 85 percent of the water is hard, according to a U.S. Geological Survey.[2]

 

  • Certain minerals in the hard water interact with the soap or detergent, which keep it from properly reacting to – and cleaning – certain soils, stains and dirty dishes. Put simply, it makes soap less effective, creating scale and film buildup in showers which then requires increased frequency of cleaning (and chemicals used for cleaning) the shower walls and tubs.[3]
  • For gas water heaters, every 5 grains per gallon of hardness causes an 8 percent loss in efficiency, and an 8 percent increase in cost when using 100 gallons of hot water per day. (Hardness is measured in grains per gallon as calcium carbonate; 1 grain equals 17.1 milligrams per liter.)[4]
  • Excess hardness can also cause scaling inside your pipes, coffee makers and even industrial machinery. This scale build-up restricts flow through the pipes, which can lead to your pipes becoming completely clogged.[5]

 

On the flip side, soft water is treated water in which the only cation (positively charged ion) is sodium.

 

A 2009 study commissioned by the Water Quality Research Foundation (WQRF) and conducted by the Battelle Memorial Institute found that adding a water softener helps water heaters and major appliances operate as efficiently as possible, while preventing clogs in showerheads, faucets, and drains.[6]

 

In addition, soft water has other amazing benefits when used around your home:

 

  • Researchers found that when water heaters used softened water, the units maintained their original factory efficiency rating for as long as 15 years. Running hard water through the units cut efficiency by up to 48 percent.[7]
  • Softened water reduces the need for detergent by more than 50 percent because it doesn’t contain the minerals that interact with the cleaning products. Washing in the cold water setting instead of the hot water setting achieves the same or better stain removal compared to results in hard water, according to a 2011 study conducted by the Scientific Services S/D Inc, a New York-based laboratory focused on testing laundry detergents.[8]
  • Because it responds to detergents and soap more effectively than hard water does, soft water can help cut energy costs. It also aids in cleaning, and prevents deposits left on pots, pans and dishes through the evaporation of hard water when boiling or baking.[9]

 

Investing in a water softening system for you home can be a great decision. High quality units can help you extend the life of fixtures in your home, as well as saving money and conserving water in the process.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sources:
[1] http://chemistry.about.com/cs/howthingswork/a/aa082403a.htm
[2] http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-04-25/health/sc-health-0425-hard-soft-water-20120425_1_hard-water-soft-water-calcium-and-magnesium
[3] Ibid
[4] Ibid
[5] Ibid
[6] http://www.wqa.org/improve-your-water/benefits-of-good-water-quality
[7] Ibid
[8] http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-04-25/health/sc-health-0425-hard-soft-water-20120425_1_hard-water-soft-water-calcium-and-magnesium
[9] Ibid

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