Hard or Soft Water? How are we supposed to know the difference if they look exactly the same?
Water is an important element for us to live, as our body is made up of about sixty percent (60 %) water. It enables our blood to bring nutrients, minerals, and oxygen to trillions of cells and helps us to get rid of the toxic substances in our body.
Hard or Soft water may look the same, pure in color and typically flavorless. But, water can also be classified as a hard or soft base on its mineral content.
Hard water is water that has a high mineral content, particularly magnesium and calcium. Therefore, it reduces the solubility of toxic metal ions. Furthermore, hard water can be very difficult to take off from our skin and can even leave a white film on our washed dishes. The hardness of water can be classified into two types, 1) temporary hardness and 2) permanent hardness.
Hard water often leads to pipes getting clogged, reducing water flow. Eventually, pipes can get so clogged that they will need to be replaced. Even your appliances will become less efficient as hard water forms a deposit which is commonly called “scale” on appliances. One of our most important appliances, the water heater is also severely impacted by hard water. When hard water is heated in a water heater, a scale is formed and eventually it will result in an increase of energy consumption and maintenance cost.
The hardness of water is caused by mineral salt mostly, calcium and magnesium which is dissolved in it. These mineral salts are what cause the white chalky stuff to build up in the appliances.
– Temporary hardness is caused by the presence of dissolved bicarbonates of calcium, magnesium, and other heavy metals and the bicarbonates of iron. The dissolved bicarbonates can be removed by boiling the water.
– Permanent hardness is due to the presence of dissolved chlorides and sulfates of calcium, magnesium, iron and other heavy metals. Unfortunately, it cannot be resolved by boiling. It is also known as non-carbonate or non-alkaline hardness.
Soft water is water that has higher sodium content and a small concentration of calcium and magnesium. It does not create any issues for pipes and appliances, but it is less beneficial to consume because it lacks certain natural minerals that our bodies utilize to fight and prevent certain heart and cardiovascular diseases.
In order to soften water, the minerals are removed through a process called ionization. An aftereffect of this process, is that it will increase the sodium level of the water. Although, the level of sodium in soft water is non-toxic to drink for most of the people, it is not advised for anyone with a controlled salt diet to consume too much soft water.
Soft water is a better way of cleansing our skin. It will be easier to rinse the soap away and will enable the soap to work more efficiently and will not leave any residue behind. Plus, it is much easier on your pipes and appliances as well.
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