Last Updated On June 10th, 2020
Hard water occurs when ground water absorbs the minerals – especially calcium and magnesium – in the ground. This causes several problems with the way water functions in homes including lowered effectiveness of soaps and detergents, mineral deposits in pipes which reduce water flow, and increased scale build up that decreases the efficiency and life of appliances that use water.
The solution to hard water is to chemical treat it, and the most popular chemical treatment is a water softener. Generally speaking, a water softener is a devices that attaches to your home’s water supply system. It removes the minerals causing the hard water by replacing it with something else – usually sodium. This removal and replacement process is known as an ion exchange.
Hard Water and Health
Drinking hard water is not detrimental to health. In fact, people pay decent money to drink carbonated mineral water from glass bottles. Minerals in water make it have a certain delicious taste with a wide variety of health benefits.
Prominent studies have found that people who drink hard water are less likely to suffer from cardiovascular disease. Experts hypothesize that by drinking minerals (via hard water or mineral water), people are enriching their otherwise mineral-deficient diets, improving their overall health.
Water Softeners and Your Health
Sodium-based water softeners may be an issue with health if you have a sodium-restrictive diet. A water softener that has been adjusted properly will release 8 mg of sodium, or salt, per litre of treated water, for each grain of removed hardness. This means that if you have 10 grains of hardness in your water, a sodium-based water softener will add 80 mg of salt per litre.
Potassium chloride-based softeners may be an issue with health if you have kidney problems or diabetes.
Keep in mind that water softeners do not sterilize the water and will not reduce levels of contaminants like bacteria, chemicals, or sediment. To remove these substances, you will need to install another treatment or filtration appliance.
If you are trying to adhere to a low-sodium diet, have your drinking water supply thoroughly tested with a detailed report on the levels of various minerals and substances in your ground water.
Check to see if your water softener is properly adjusted and functioning effectively. Otherwise, higher levels of salt may be released into your softened water.
You can have low-salt water with a sodium-based water softener system if you have a tap (usually the kitchen sink) that uses water bypassing the water softener.
Another option for low-salt water with a sodium-based water softener system is to install a reverse osmosis system in the kitchen. This reverse osmosis system will remove the salt and other contaminants from your drinking and cooking water.
Although hard water may cause less than ideal consequences for your home and appliances, it is the better option for your health if you drink it. The calcium and magnesium in hard water is great for your health, especially for those who have nutrient-deficient diets.
Water softeners solve hard water issues for your home, but sodium-based water softeners are not ideal for those who have salt-restrictive diets. On the other hand, potassium-based water softeners aren’t recommended for those with kidney issues or diabetes. To avoid these issues with health, either install a separate tap that bypasses that water softener device or install a reverse osmosis system in the kitchen. In either case, make sure to get your hard water tested so you know exactly what’s in your water.