Is Soft Water Really That Great?

What is “soft water” and does it really live up to the hype?

Chances are you’ve heard people hype up soft water as if it was the greatest thing since sliced bread. You might even know someone who claims soft water has changed his life. But what exactly is soft water and does it really live up to its hype? In this article, we’ll take a look at the results of an independent study to objectively answer this question and help you decide for yourself if soft water is right for you and your home.

Soft water is water that contains low amounts of dissolved calcium, magnesium, and certain other dissolved solids. The opposite of soft water is — you guessed it — hard water which contains a higher level of dissolved solids. Dissolved solids are measured in units of parts per million (ppm).

According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), water containing 0 to 60 ppm of dissolved solids should be considered soft; 61 to 120 ppm as moderately hard; 121 to 180 ppm as hard; and more than 180 ppm as very hard. Due to varying geographical features, certain areas around the country are more prone to water hardness than others. Thus, hard water is more of a problem in some areas than others.

Courtesy of USGS

The USGS warns against relying on this chart alone to determine the condition of your water. Water from your municipality travels through miles of metal pipes to get to your home, so it can pick up a lot of contaminants along the way. To get a true measure of the hardness of your water, you’ll have to measure your water at point of use.

Hard Water = Hard Times

Why does hard water get such a bad rap? Although drinking hard water is not necessarily a health concern, it can make your life harder in other ways. Nearly everything that uses — or comes into contact with — water in your house including appliances, showers, counter-tops, sinks, and even gas water heaters are greatly affected by hard water.

Over time, scale buildup caused by hard water diminishes the performance and longevity of appliances that use water. This same scale buildup leaves an ugly film on surfaces in the kitchen and bathroom; requiring you to spend time and effort to clean. Soap scum and scale buildup caused by hard water is especially difficult to clean due to the fact that it is not water soluble and requires special chemicals to dissolve.

Additionally, detergents are less effective when hard water is used versus soft water. A good percentage of the soap component in your detergent is used up by reacting with hard water minerals (what a waste!)

With this said, I would be remiss in my duties as your fair and balanced author if I did not also mention the good about hard water. Plants use the calcium in hard water to build and strengthen cell walls. They also use the magnesium to build chlorophyll blocks which are necessary for photosynthesis. Hard water is great for your garden but a nuisance in your home.

The many benefits of soft water

For those of us accustomed to hard water, soft water will seem like a godsend. In 2009, an independent study conducted by the Water Quality Research Foundation set out to study soft water’s affect on water-using appliances. Here are some of their findings:

Soft water extends the life of nearly all appliances and fixtures in your house that use water. Since soft water contains significantly less dissolved calcium and magnesium than unsoftened water, it does not leave any scale or residue behind. For this reason, pipes, nozzles, and fixtures stay unclogged even with repeated use. This means soft water not only helps appliances last longer, it also keeps them working like new throughout the life of the appliance.

Another huge benefit of using soft water, is that you can drastically reduce the amount of detergent use for just about everything from taking showers to washing clothes, without sacrificing performance.

This is because detergents are drastically more effective when mixed with soft water versus hard water. The science behind this is fascinating and deserves its own article. To put it briefly, soft water contains less of the chemicals that fight the active ingredients in detergents — allowing these ingredients to be used to their full potential.

So what does this all mean? It means soft water will save you tons of money and make your life much easier. You’ll buy less detergent, your appliances will function longer without repair, your clothes will look newer longer, and you’ll spend less on heating costs. Cumulatively, these benefits represent a long term savings of thousands of dollars — this constitutes a win in my book.

Moreover, using soft water does not only represent a win for your wallet, it also means a win for the environment. Using less energy, less detergent, less water, and using the same appliances for longer just happen to be great things for the environment as well. Who says you have to make trade-offs to be environmentally friendly?

Putting it All Together

There you have it, a simple breakdown of the benefits associated with running soft water in your home. Now that you are educated on soft water, you are probably eager to start enjoying the benefits of water in your home.

The first step is to determine the hardness of the water coming in to your home — Nuvia Water Technologies can help you do this. They will send an approved water specialist to your home to perform a series of tests on your water and explain the results. Not only do they measure water hardness, they can also check for the presence of disinfectant byproducts which also affect the taste and quality of your water.

Nuvia knows a thing or two about water quality, their Made-in-the-USA products are Gold Seal Certified by the Water Quality Association. They use advanced technology to create some of the best home water filtration and softening systems on Earth.

After performing the tests on your water, they can recommend the perfect solution to any issues you might be having with your tap water. They are also there to help answer any questions you might have.

Get your water tested today! Call Nuvia at 951–734–7400 to request your complimentary water test.

Sources:

  1. https://www.wqa.org/Portals/0/WQRF/ResearchStudy_BenefitsOfSoftenedWater_ExecSummary.pdf
  2. https://water.usgs.gov/edu/hardness.html
  3. https://www.cleaninginstitute.org/clean_living/soaps__detergents_chemistry.aspx