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Hard vs Soft. When it comes to water which one is the best and why?

As a native living in the fierce Arizona summer heat, you know that you use water a lot. From filling up your bathtub, washing your hands, or making sure your hydrated, the use of water in your home can have effects on more than just your hygiene and health. The hardness of your water, or the amount of dissolved calcium or magnesium in your water, could be making your appliances in your home work harder and increase the amount of energy needed to run those appliances.

Water that has been severely saturated with these minerals could cost you larger amounts of energy waste, wear and tear, inefficient operation, early failure of appliances and reduced lifespan of your plumbing. With the increased amount of chemicals needed to overcome the effects of hard water, the environment can be negatively affected.

Hard water can be a real drain on the wallet, but it might have its benefits with taste and health. Being able to understand the differences between hard and soft water, and the value each one brings, will help you to choose the best option for your home and appliances.

So, what is the difference?

How hard or soft your water is can have a direct impact on your appliances and the amount of energy usage. Taking time to notice the differences between hard and soft water will help you optimize the water for taste, health, as well as your appliance and plumbing efficiency.

Hard Water

Hard water contains a high concentration of dissolved minerals — usually calcium and magnesium, but sometimes also iron. To gain the title of "hard water," it isn't necessarily that there are minerals in the water, but how concentrated those minerals are.

A concentration greater than 60 milligrams per liter of water is considered "hard." Extremely hard water can top 180 milligrams per liter. At these levels, you should expect to see mineral buildup affecting your appliances.

Soft Water

When water has little or no calcium or magnesium, it is considered to be "soft water." Naturally, water is soft, take rainwater or distilled water for example. When water is in those forms, it may contain no minerals whatsoever.

Other times the water can be softened through chemical extractions to remove calcium or magnesium. Hard water can be softened by running through a salt solution that replaces the calcium and magnesium ions for salt ions, this results in soft water.

Which one is better?

How to Test the Hardness of Your Water?

There are several methods to test if you have hard or soft water coming to your home:

  1. Water hardness test kits. There are a number of affordable testing options ranging from services that test for hundreds of substances, to simple dip-in, instant-read strips.

  2. Warning signs. Knowing whether you have hard water versus soft water can be a matter of simple observation. If you see white scaling on your faucets, if glasses come out of the dishwasher covered in a cloudy film, or if you have trouble rinsing off soap and suffer chronic dry skin, you may have hard water.

  3. The soap test. This simple test won't tell you the mineral concentration in your water, but it is a cheap and easy way to know if you have hard water. Fill a glass halfway with water and add soap. Cover the top and give it a shake. If you have hard water, the water will be cloudy with minimal suds. If your water is soft, the water will be mostly clear, but the top will be filled with bubbles.

Use A Water Softener to Help With Hard Water

Typical water softener systems work by flushing hard water through resin beads containing positively charged sodium and potassium ions. The sodium and potassium are released into the water as the resin beads attract the calcium and magnesium ions, which are also positively charged. The result of this exchange is softened water containing small amounts of sodium and potassium.

If the type of water you use to keep your self healthy and appliances running properly is important to you, then understanding the different levels of the hardness of your water is essential. The Forrest Anderson team has years of experience optimizing water efficiency for thousands of households throughout the Phoenix area. Give us a call and we can help explain the benefits of a water filtration system that will work for you and your family.

Call Forrest Anderson Plumbing and Air Conditioning today @ 623.780.4060 or Click Here for more info.

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