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Soft Water vs. Hard Water Explained

You may have heard a lot of buzz about soft water and water softening, but wonder if having soft water is really worth the cost of installing a water softener system. When it comes down to it, soft water is all about preference. If you prefer that your soaps and shampoos lather easily, not leave behind residue, and that your dishes and laundry come out spot-free and bright… then you probably prefer soft water.

Hard water typically contains dissolved calcium and magnesium salts. These salts, while not evidenced as harmful to human health, can wreak havoc on appliances. When heated, soluble calcium and magnesium crystalize and stick to pipes, hot water heaters, dishes, etc. These crystalized calcium and magnesium deposits are commonly known as scale.

Water softening uses an ion exchange process to remove calcium and magnesium ions from your water and replace them with sodium ions. Soft water that is free of calcium and magnesium has been proven to clean better, and requires less detergent and soap than its hard water counterpart.

  Hard Water Soft Water
Contains: Calcium & Magnesium Sodium
Leaves Deposits? Yes No
Reacts w/ Soaps to Produce Film Produce Suds
Impact on Detergents: May Not Lather Forms Lather
Okay for Plants? Yes Not Recommended

While soft water is not recommended for watering plants or lawns due to the sodium content, water softeners can be installed with a bypass valve in order to bypass water lines going to faucets outside of the house, or to certain areas of your home.

Having soft water can save you a considerable amount of money on: laundry detergents and additives; dish washing liquids and powders; personal care items; and household cleaners. Without calcium and magnesium to prevent lathering and leave behind scale, you can use fewer cleaners and won’t have to clean as often.

This savings calculator will help you to get an idea of just how much money you can save with a water softener system.

If you live in an area with hard water, consider getting water softening system.

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