How Soft Water and Hard Water Behave Differently

Hard & Soft Water

Some people think that all water is the same regardless of where it comes from. The truth is that water quality varies widely throughout the country. Some water may be deemed ‘hard’ or ‘soft,’ and that can have a significant impact on your daily life. Read on and discover the difference between hard and soft water.

Hard vs. Soft Water

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, 85 percent of water in the United States is “hard,” meaning it contains high amounts of calcium and magnesium because it comes in contact with rock and soil. Soft water, on the other hand, contains relatively few elements, and in some cases none at all. Soft water can occur naturally or be produced with treatment devices that reduce elements of water hardness.

Bathing

Certain minerals in hard water make soap and other cleaning products less effective, hampering their ability to properly lather. Hard water also creates soap and buildup in the showers, requiring more intense cleaning effort and increased use of chemicals to clean the bath.  Soap lathers easily when you have soft water, meaning you can use less (and save money on personal hygiene products), plus you won’t have to spend all your free time scrubbing hard water stains from your bath fixtures.

Cleaning

Similar to your bath soap, minerals in hard water interact with detergents that you use to clean your home and your laundry. This impacts its ability to clean dirt and stains, and requires that you use more detergent to clean your clothing. With no minerals to interact with your detergents, soft water can decrease the need for detergent by up to 50 percent.

Energy Usage

Gas water heaters using only hard water will consume more energy than those that use soft water, lowering the system’s energy efficiency and increasing water heating costs. In addition hard water residue can build up in a water heater over time and lead to deterioration sooner than if you had soft water. Soft water cuts overall energy cost and helps preserve the life of your home appliances.

Pipes and Stains

Hard water can cause buildup in pipes and the heater, which impedes water flow and can eventually block the pipes entirely, leading to potential flooding and/or expensive pipe replacements. It can also cause your small appliances around the house to deteriorate faster, such as your dishwasher and washing machine. In the long run it will cost you a lot more to pay to replace these things more often than if you paid for water softening technology.

A water softener removes the calcium and magnesium from the water and will protect your appliances, reduce cleaning time, and will help skin and hair to be softer and less dry.  A Kinetico water softener also uses no electricity, uses 70% less salt and will provide a couple of decades or reliable, trouble free service.

The Numbers on The Limit of Drinking Water

Water Filtration

The amount of water on planet Earth is literally the greatest concentration of H2O in the known solar system. Nevertheless, from the hundreds of millions of gallons of water out there, how much can humans really use?

A Lot of Unusable Water

First, it’s important to look at the exact of amount of water on Earth; geologists estimate the volume to be around 344 million cubic miles. Still, we can automatically eliminate 96 percent of that water (321 million cubic miles) because it’s saline water from the ocean, and another 5.8 million cubic miles are frozen in ice caps and glaciers. That leaves around 1.72 percent of water, or around 5.7 cubic miles of fresh water in groundwater, lakes, rivers, and other sources.

Much of Our Water is Already in Use

The Earth’s water volume isn’t locked in its liquid form though, as a significant portion of those remaining cubic miles are atmospheric moisture. This helps regulate global temperatures and seasonal changes, but can’t really be used for human consumption. Anyone keeping track should also deduct 3,400 cubic miles from the remaining supply, as these are already in use; locked within every living thing on the planet (biological water).

Most drinking water is inaccessible without heavy industrial drilling, as a significant portion of the water is in the ground beneath our feet. In fact, the total amount of readily available drinking water is around four percent of the world’s total supply of potentially drinkable water.

Looking at the raw number doesn’t raise much alarm; it’s still a significant volume that has been a critical part of human subsistence for millions of years. However, humans have to share that number with around six and a half million other land species of both plants and animals.

Drinking water is a finite resource that won’t last forever, and making sure that everyone has a clean supply of it should be a top priority for everyone. To make sure you are always drinking the cleanest possible water, check out our line of water filtration systems. Contact us directly for more information regarding our services in providing a supply of clean drinking water for your family.

How Bad is Hard Water for Your Laundry?

laundry

Many people know about the benefits that soft water has on your hair and skin, along with preventing scale buildup around the shower, sinks, and tubs in your bathroom. But there is one other advantage you get by filtering your home’s water supply: better laundry.

You might be surprised, but hard water does have a noticeable effect on how your clothes come out after washing, causing clothes to fade and wear out faster than soft water. Here are some of the things you might notice if you have hard water:

  1. Visible marks – Many people notice obvious signs of hard water contamination on laundry. Graying or yellowing is quite common, making clothing look much more worn out than it actually is. You might also find faint white or gray streaks all over the fabric.
  2. Uncomfortable texture – Hard water tends to make fabric feel much stiffer and harsher than normal, making the wearer uncomfortable. On top of that, you might notice an irritating smell coming from it, even right out of the wash.
  3. Higher detergent use – Normal detergents don’t do well in hard water, and you end up having to use a frustratingly large amount just to get the job done. This is not just costly, it is also bad for the environment, as it leads to higher water pollution.

Thankfully, solving the issue is fairly easy. You can try switching to a hard water detergent, but this can be expensive over the long term, and doesn’t help with non-laundry applications of your water. Instead, the best option would be to install a whole home water filter to provide your household with pure soft water any time you need it, whether for drinking, bathing, or washing clothes.

Ready to make the switch to soft water in your home for softer skin, cleaner clothing, and less time scrubbing those hard water stains? Kinetico Utah is always ready to help. Get in touch with us today, and we will be more than happy to answer any question about our products.

How Much Salt is Added to Soft Water

man drinking water

One of the most common questions about water softeners is how much salt or sodium is added to my water. Generally it’s much less than people think. There is a very simple formula to calculate how much salt it added to the water.

Grains of hardness (gpg) x 1.89 = mg added to an 8oz glass of water. If your water is 15 grains hard you would have about 28 milligrams (mg) of added sodium in the water.

Grains per gallon (gpg) is the measurement used to calculate hardness and the scale goes as follows:

Less than 1 Grain Soft
1.0 to 3.5 Moderately Hard
3.5 to 7.0 Hard
7.0 to 10.5 Extremely Hard

If your water is 15 grains hard then you would have about 28 milligrams (mg) of added sodium in the water.

Even for people who are on a low sodium diet this amount of salt shouldn’t be a problem. Most of the sodium we eat comes from processed foods and table salt. If you compare the amount of sodium already contained in foods we think of as having low amounts of salt the amount added by a water softener is very low. As an example, an 8oz glass of milk will contain 125mg of sodium and a slice of white bread will have about 120 mg.

To find out how hard your water is contact a water softening company and they can test it for you, or contact you local city water department and they can tell you the number of grains per gallon of hardness you have in your water.

For those who don’t want to drink soft water there are a couple of solutions. The first is to install a water purifier that will remove the sodium. Reverse osmosis is the most effective method. Another option is to bypass the drinking water in the kitchen so it remains hard water.

Soft water is simply water that is free of calcium and magnesium. A water softener works by removing the hard minerals and replaces them with sodium through a process known as ion exchange.