When you talk about hard water and water softeners, there are often various misconceptions that arise. Here's a look at the truth about hard water, dispelling various myths and replacing them with facts. Read on to learn more, and contact the water and plumbing experts at WaterSmart if you have any questions or are looking to install a water softener.
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"My wife and I recently purchased a home that did not have a water softener since the house was built. One company advised us to use the plumbing stack for drainage because of the location of the main water pipe, this was understandable. However, Watersmart advised us with a better alternative. Since they were licensed plumbers, they were able to find a location to cut some water pipes, and install the water softener near our laundry drain. They are very skilled professionals, and have great customer service. We also bought a reverse osmosis from them. They gave us detailed instructions on how to operate the softener and reverse osmosis. I would recommend these guys. Thank you Watersmart." - William
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The Truth About Hard Water - Understanding Myths vs. Facts
There are at least five myths about hard water that are worthy of our attention. Let's take a look.
Myth #1: Hard water is contaminated.
Truth: Hard water is full of “stuff” but they are not contaminants. Hard water has a high mineral content and is formed when water naturally filters through deposits of limestone and chalk, which are largely made up of calcium and magnesium deposits. Drinking hard water with abundant essential minerals can be good for your health.
According to the World Health Organization, calcium and magnesium-rich hard water can actually help protect against heart disease and stroke. Additionally, the Government of Canada directly states "calcium and magnesium are not of direct public health concern."
Having said that, an increased intake of magnesium can cause a negative change in bowel habits, namely diarrhea, and drinking water in which both magnesium and sulphate are present in high concentrations can have a laxative effect.
For more, be sure to read The Facts About Hard Water and Health.
Contrary to what you might think, hard water isn't contaminated.
Myth #2: Hard water tastes bad.
Truth: This one is related to the myth above, where hard water gets a bad reputation because many assume it’s contaminated when it’s really filled with minerals. Minerals can actually improve water’s taste; you can even purchase mineral water for its flavour.
Soft water not only doesn’t contain minerals, but the softening process can cause the water to taste a bit salty, thanks to the potassium or sodium ions used to eliminate magnesium and calcium.
Keeping in mind the potential irritation to the digestive system mentioned above, we recommend softer water with a filtration system for the best drinking experience. For more on that see Myth #5 below.
Hard water doesn't necessarily taste bad.
Myth #3: Hard water will clog up my piping.
Truth: This myth dates back to when homes were built with galvanized steel piping. Since hard water may contain magnesium and calcium, clogging was possible as those minerals can stick inside steel pipes.
Modern homes, however, have copper piping, which is perfectly compatible with hard water. If your home was built after 1975 or your older home has been re-piped, hard water poses less of a threat. If you have a home built from the mid-1940s to the mid-1970s that hasn’t been re-piped, soft water will be safer for your plumbing.
Hard water will, however, still cause limescale build up, which does affect pipes and appliances, and can also leave your dishes and glasses spotty and filmy. Over time, that build up can weaken water pressure but is relatively easy to remove.
If your home was built after 1975 or your older home has been re-piped, hard water poses no threat
Myth #4: Soft water gets your body cleaner.
Truth: Soft water is a better cleaner for household cleaning and laundry, as it doesn’t leave behind the mineral residue and limescale buildup that hard water does. But when it comes to your body, soft water may not be the superior option. The minerals in hard water give soap something to cling to, so it can easily rinse away. Super soft water can leave your skin and hair feeling like there is product left behind after a rinse – it just doesn’t bind with soap the way hard water does. Also, some say taking a shower in soft water makes their skin feel slippery.
While you may be tempted to switch to hard water for bathing, remember this: Studies are ongoing, but this much we know about the potential risks of hard water thanks to the World Health Organization: "Exposure to hard water has been suggested to be a risk factor that could exacerbate eczema." If your skin is easily irritated, going with soft water will be better than hard water.
Hard water is better for bathing, but not for easily irritated skin.
Myth #5: You Can Filter Hard Water With a Softener
Truth: Water softeners convert hard, mineral-filled water into chlorinated, salty water. There is still a need to use a reverse-osmosis system to remove salt, sediment, and chlorine to produce a palatable water for drinking and cooking, and you can also invest in various Brita products to ensure you get great tasting filtered water whenever and wherever you want it. Better yet, WaterSmart offers refillable 18-liter bottles for your convenience. We've been providing water services to our customers in the Kitchener-Waterloo area since 1994. We'll be sure to provide you with the same excellent customer service and high quality of products that we've been providing all of our customers for over 20 years. Check out some of the bottled water products we carry and feel free to contact us today if you have any questions.
WaterSmart's 18L bottles are a great way to ensure the best possible drinking water.
Hard Water Issues? Trust WaterSmart
Having been informed of various myths and truths in regards to hard water, you may now be considering what to do next. Watersmart Systems and Plumbing is a full-service plumbing and water softening company, including both installations and repairs. We also carry bottled water along with the best line of drinking water systems in the business.
At WaterSmart we take our role in providing our customers with an adequate supply of clean drinking water seriously. If you have questions about your water quality or the type of water you need, drop by one of our locations or give us a call to find out how we can help improve the quality of your water.
Contact WaterSmart today for all of your home water needs.