What is Hard Water and Soft Water

water faucet

If you are wondering what is hard water or what is soft water and how can you tell the difference keep reading.   Hard water contains high levels of calcium and/or magnesium which leave white stains on plumbing fixtures, cause dry skin and soap to not lather and work properly. Soft water, on the other hand, refers to water that is free of these minerals, either naturally or that’s passed through a water softening system to remove these minerals and “softens” the water.

At Kinetico, our water treatment solutions include various water softening options. If you’ve been around hard water stains before, they appear in the form of chalky buildup, white rings in toilets, white stains in the sinks and tubs. Let’s look at their common causes plus how you can remove them.

How Does Water Become Hard

Water is naturally soft and as it comes in contact with the soil, either by running through streams and rivers or as is percolates through the earth, it absorbs minerals, including calcium and magnesium.  These minerals actually dissolve into the water and will not settle out or evaporate.

Why do Hard Water Stains Develop

When hard water is allowed to evaporate or is heated to high temperatures, as in a water heater, the minerals will come out of their dissolved state and are left behind in the form of a white chalky residue.   Some types of metal in pipes also will attract the minerals and will get a lot of build up in them.

Removing Hard Water

There are a number of cleaning products that can help remove hard water stains, but you have to be careful with these products. They are generally extremely powerful, and may contain acids. Make sure to wear gloves and use these products only in a well-ventilated area.

Soft Water

The best long-term solution to hard water is installing a water softening system, which will remove these minerals before they make their way into your home.  Soft water will lengthen the lifespan of your appliances and plumbing fixtures, saving you hours of cleaning each week scrubbing unsightly stains from your kitchen and bathrooms. You will also have spot free, sparkling clean dishes and silverware, softer skin and hair and significantly reduce the cleaners and soaps used in your home.

To learn about our soft water systems or any of our other home water treatments? Speak to the pros at Kinetico today.

Sodium and Soft Water Basics


A common question for families considering installing a water softener is “how much salt does a water softener add to my drinking water?” Particularly those who suffer from high blood pressure are concerned about adding sodium to their diet.

Is this concern justified? Let’s look at the true amounts of sodium in soft water – and how Kinetico can help you lower or even eliminate the presence of sodium in your drinking water.

How Much Salt is added to the Water?

When hard water flows through a softener, sodium ions replace the hard minerals that cause the white build up on glass shower doors, faucets and anything else the water comes in contact with.

Typically, the sodium in a glass of water softened is less than the sodium found in a single slice of bread. It is far less than the amount found in a can of Diet Pepsi, which is considered a low-sodium beverage. So while sodium is definitely present, it’s not in particularly egregious amounts.

If you know how hard your water is there is a simple formula to determine the actual amount of sodium added to your water through the softening process.  Water hardness is measured in grains per gallon (gpg) and anything less than 1gpg is considered soft, 3.5gpg is hard, 7gpg is very hard and 10.5gpg is extremely hard.

For every 8oz glass of water 1.89mg/l of sodium is added for each grain per gallon of hardness.  If your water is 10gpg the water softener will add 19mg/l of sodium to an 8oz glass of softened water.  As a comparison an 8oz glass of milk contains 120-125mg/l of sodium.  A slice of white bread will have about 170mg/l of sodium.

Drinking Water without Added Sodium

There are a few ways to reduce or completely eliminate the salt from your drinking water. A reverse osmosis system, like our Kinetico K5 Drinking Water Station, will remove virtually everything from the water, including sodium. Another option is to bypass the cold water in the kitchen, so it stays hard water.  This will allow water in the rest of home to be softened and the drinking water will not.

Want to learn more about soft water, or drinking water filters? Speak to the pros at Kinetico today.

Effects of Hard Water

water softener

While hard water may not be a serious threat to your health, it can certainly have significant effects on other areas of your life, making household tasks more difficult and causing long-term damage to your clothing, skin, hair and appliances.

The average American family of four uses about 400 gallons of water every day, for everything from showering and cleaning to washing dishes and laundry. Hard water can have a significant impact on your daily life.

Disadvantages of Hard Water

Hard water in the laundry, for example, can cause soap curds to lodge in the fabric during washing and leave clothes feeling rough and stiff. It may cause graying of white fabrics and the loss of brightness in colored ones. Over time you may even start to notice an undesirable odor, and it could shorten the useful life of your clothes.

Dishes and glasses washed in a dishwasher using hard water may end up spotted when dry. Hard water can also cause a film or spots on glass shower doors, shower walls, bathtubs and sinks that require significant scrubbing and harsh cleaners to remove.

Bathing with hard water is discouraged as it leaves a sticky coat on the skin, doesn’t lather as well (so you have to use more soap), and may not remove bacteria and dirt as effectively. Soap residue may even lead skin to become irritated and dry, and make hair dull and difficult to manage.

Hard water also contributes to inefficient and costly operation of water-using appliances. When limescale forms in appliances and water heaters it may cause breakdowns. Heated hard water forms a scale of calcium and magnesium minerals that can damage appliances such as your dishwasher or washing machine.  It will also cause scale buildup in commercial equipment such as boilers, cooling towers, and other large-scale equipment.

Benefits of Adding Soft Water

To enjoy softer skin and hair, shiny spot free dishes, fluffy and fresh smelling towels and have your appliances provide years of trouble free service we encourage you to consider having a Kinetico water softener installed in your home.

Here at Kinetico Utah, we believe everybody deserves soft water to make life easier and cleaner. We offer home filtration systems that soften water to make everyday activities a breeze. Contact us today to find out more about your water treatment options.


Skin Benefits of Soft Water

washing hands

There are several reasons why soft water can be more beneficial to skin than hard water, and there are plenty of reasons to try and avoid hard water on the skin altogether. Let’s look at the effects soft and hard water have on your skin.

Effects of Hard Water on Skin

Hard water contains dissolved minerals like calcium and magnesium, minerals which make it more difficult for water and soap to dissolve effectively.  Leaving a scummy residue just like you’ll see on sinks, shower doors or fixtures.

This same residue clogs your pores, and can cause several skin conditions – studies have shown that children in areas with hard water are 50 percent more likely to suffer from eczema. Hard water can cause the natural oils in pores to be trapped and form blemishes or pimples, and it can even affect the way skin ages. Many people find hard water causes them to have dry, irritated skin, and wrinkles over time.

Effects of Soft Water on Skin

Soap easily dissolves into soft water forming a sudsy lather; one that easily rinses away and doesn’t clog pores. Soft water requires less soap be used when washing, and often allows people to stop purchasing lotions to counter the effects of dry skin caused by hard water.

Slippery Vs. Squeaky Clean

People who have spent their whole lives bathing using hard water will often associate the “squeaky clean” feeling they get after a shower with true cleanliness. These same people take a shower in soft water, and assume the slick or silky feeling on their skin means they aren’t actually getting clean.

In reality, this is backwards. That slick feeling on the skin is how the skin is supposed to feel, and that squeaky clean feel actually might be soap scum, dead skin and dirt that wasn’t washed away. That slippery feel means that natural oils haven’t been stripped from your skin, and are able to do their jobs.

Want to learn more about the benefits of soft water, or any of our water filtering solutions? The experts at Kinetico are standing by.

4 Ways Water Softeners Can Save You Money

piggy bank

Most people know that water softeners make it easier to keep water spots and scum off of dishes, plumbing fixtures and silverware, but did you know that a water softener can also save you money? While it may cost a bit up-front, the four following money-saving benefits make up for the initial cost.

Reduces the Amount of Laundry Soap You Buy

Laundry detergent is fairly expensive, especially if you have hard water and need to use a lot of it. Hard water contains minerals that inhibit the ability of detergents to clean properly. This means that you will need to use  larger amounts of detergent in order to try and get your laundry sufficiently clean. Installing a water softener allows you to use less laundry detergent and experience a significant savings advantage over time.

Soft water also eliminates the need to use expensive products like Oxy Clean,  Calgon and Clorox to try and keep your whites from turning gray and dingy.  Soft water will also eliminate, or virtually eliminate, the need for fabric softeners and your towels, sheets and other clothing be soft and fresh smelling.

Eliminates Damage to Plumbing

Want your plumbing system to last as long as possible? Installing a water softener may be the best way to extend its life. Mineral deposits from hard water can collect in your  pipes, appliances, faucets and fixtures.  It also leaves unsightly and hard to clean build up and rings in sinks, toilets and on faucets.   Soft water eliminates these problems and helps ensure that your plumbing lasts as long as possible. Healthy, non-clogged plumbing pipes and appliances are less likely to require expensive repairs and replacement.

It is estimated that 17-20% of the cost of a home is for the plumbing system, that’s a lot of money invested, and soft water protects this investment and significantly extend its life.

Reduces the Amount of Soap and Lotion You Use

Soaps, shampoos and lotions may not seem very expensive, but their costs can add up to surprising amounts over time. Soft water makes it possible to use less of these items so that you don’t need to purchase them as frequently.

University studies have shown a 50-80% reduction in soap usage with soft water vs. hard water.  As an example, the Maytag Answer Book  recommends using 3tsp of detergent with soft water and in hard water  10-12tsp.  In extremely hard water  they say “it’s very difficult to achieve acceptable dishwashing results” no matter how much detergent is used.

In an attempt to get their dishes clean and spot free in hard water most people add additional products like Jet Dry or Lemi -shine.  In soft water these products are not needed at all, adding to the cost savings and protects the environment at the same time.

Extends the Life of Your Clothing

The minerals found in hard water can be rough on your clothing and cause them to look dull and dingy. Water softeners are gentler on fabric and can help you save money by extending the life of your clothing.  According to a Purdue University study “the life of clothing and household textiles was prolonged up to 15% when washed in soft water.”

Four Benefits of a Kinetico Water Softener System

water softeners

You may already know about the benefits that a water softener can provide for your home—everything from protection against faded clothing to softer skin and, not to mention, money savings from using less detergent and soap—but not all water softeners are created equal. If you have considered purchasing one, you probably know that there are a lot of different choices out there, but how do you know which is the best? Here are four reasons that you should put Kinetico in Utah at the top of your list.

No Electricity

All other water softeners use electricity, but combining salt, water and electricity is usually not a very good idea.  Kinetico systems are different because they are non-electric and use the force of water to power the unit, which means you won’t have to plug it in (and pay for electricity), plus there aren’t any electrical components that might go haywire or need repair in the future. According to Consumer Reports Magazine “servicepersons report that microprocessors are among the most frequently broken components of these systems” and “the damp often salty environment is hard on electric circuitry.” A non-electric Kinetico water softener eliminates all of these concerns and never requires you to program or reset it.  When water is used it simply measures the usage and regenerates whenever it needs to.

Automatically Adjusts to Water Usage

Regular water softener systems determine when to regenerate based on an average of your past daily water usage. Therefore, you get the same treatment interval when you are on vacation and using no water, as you would when you have your entire extended family in town for the holidays using 10 times your normal volume of water. Kinetico systems monitor your water use so it processes whenever it’s needed—not sooner, not later—which means you always get quality soft water and never have excess waste.

Long-Lasting and Dependable

Kinetico has been making water softeners for more than 40 years, so when you get tired of another water softener that is causing you all sorts of problems, constantly requiring repairs or needing parts replaced, call us and we’ll replace it with a Kinetico system. Our non-electric, dual softening tank water softeners are engineered to provide 20-30 years of reliable service and are backed by an industry-leading ten year warranty. 

Uses 70% Less Salt 

Yes, that is correct; a Kinetico water softener will use an average of 70% less salt than a traditional water softener.  Imagine how nice it would be to significantly reduce the number of trips you make to the store to pick up salt! That’s less times you have to haul those heavy 40 lb. bags from the garage down to the basement and then empty them into the salt tank.

It may sound too good to be true but, a Kinetico water softener really does operate without electricity, it automatically adjusts to your water usage so, you always have soft water, it uses an average of 70% less salt and provides many decades of reliable, trouble-free service.  

To find out more, contact your local Kinetico professional.