800-732-6202

Reading, PA

800-525-6464

Gilbertsville, PA

Mon-Fri: 8AM-5PM

Online store always open

800-732-6202

Reading, PA

800-525-6464

Gilbertsville, PA

Mon-Fri: 8AM-5PM

Online store always open

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Hard Water vs. Soft Water: What is Hard Water?

Hard Water Vs. Soft Water

So, you have begun exploring your water softening options! Suburban Water experts are here to help. You may have heard of hard water and soft water. You’re probably wondering what the differences are and if you need to fix it. Is hard water bad for you? Can you drink hard water? What are the pros and cons of each type? Is one type of water better? 

Essentially, the only difference between the two is the concentration of certain minerals. Hard water has more minerals like calcium and magnesium, whereas soft water has a higher sodium content. Let’s explore the difference between the types and how they can affect you.

What is the Difference Between Hard Water & Soft Water?

The hardness of water is determined by the amount of calcium and magnesium it contains. The higher the levels of these and other minerals determines if it is hard water or soft water. Soft water tends to have a higher concentration of sodium instead of calcium and magnesium. The process of transforming hard water into soft water essentially reduces the concentration of minerals in the hard water. Suburban Water offers many different types of treatments to determine your specific water issues and how to fix them. We are also able to customize treatment appliances and systems that handle an extremely wide range of impurities. 

Looking at the water in your home cannot typically help you determine whether it is hard water or soft water. Here are some key indications you have hard water in your home:

  • Spots being left on your dishes or silverware after running through the dishwasher. The spots on your leftover glasses are deposits of calcium carbonate from hard water. 
  • Your hair or skin feels dry after a shower. You may also feel like you have to shower longer to feel cleaner. Hard water can be especially irritating to those who suffer from eczema since hard water tends to dry your skin out. The minerals in hard water can change the pH balance of your skin which weakens the barrier you have against harmful bacteria and infections. Getting a water softener can help relieve these issues. 
  • Build-up of limescale on faucets. After hard water dries it leaves a hard build-up of deposits which are difficult to remove completely. 
  • You have staining in your sink or other appliances from hard water. Some color indications may be:
    • Green stains caused by acid water. Typically shows in your sink, toilet, and tub. 
    • Brown stains caused by manganese in the water. This will usually show in your dishwasher.   
    • Rusty orange stains caused by iron in the water.
The effects of hard water on a spout when left untreated

Hard water will not directly harm you from ingesting it, but it can cause a number of problems around your house. You would have to buy more cleaning supplies to clean your house frequently to prevent build-up and also reduce staining. For regular maintenance on appliances, specifically pipes, you may need a plumber to come in as well. 

Some indications of having soft water can be: 

  • Having healthy water pressure in your home. 
  • The feeling of a soapy lather when washing your hands or body. 
  • No mineral stains in your sink or bathtub. 
  • Not having to re-wash clothing. Hard water causes stains on clothing from the harsh minerals.

Benefits Of Hard Water & Soft Water

One benefit of drinking hard water is that it may help your intake of recommended daily essential minerals. This is because it naturally contains a higher level of minerals such as magnesium and calcium. Some believe it also has cardiovascular benefits, but there are no solid conclusions to back that claim.  

With soft water if you have deficiencies in calcium or magnesium minerals in your daily life, it is recommended to take minerals daily to replace that. Soft water is better for cleaning since it does not produce as much soap scum or mineral stains. It won’t leave behind limescale, mineral build-up, or stain your appliances. Soft water can save you money because you won’t have to rewash clothes or dishes.

What is Water Softening?

Home water softening works by running hard water through a resin that is coated with positively charged sodium ions. Resin is a stick insoluble substance from certain trees and plants. The sodium moves through the hard water and replaces the high levels of magnesium and calcium in the water. There is small maintenance needed to maintain soft water. Sodium pellets or potassium pellets can be added to keep the resin electrically charged. Once the issue is fixed you can easily maintain it yourself.

Depending on the system you have there may be other means of reducing high mineral levels, it all depends on the treatment plan you go with. 

Overall, most people can safely drink hard or soft water with no side effects. The main side effects you will see show up on your body, appliances, and clothing. Home water softening can help eliminate the problems you are facing. If you are looking for a company to treat your hard water, contact Suburban Water to get help from your local specialist or give us a call at 800-525-6464! We service many areas across Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

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