Understanding the Differences Between Hard and Soft Water

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Around 85% of the US water supply is hard, so you likely naturally have hard water in your home.

You likely have heard people refer to their water as hard or soft before, but did you know what they were talking about? Water is water, right? So, what is the difference, does it actually matter? We are going to help you answer all of these questions, review what hard and soft water are, and help you determine what type of water you have in your home.

Hard versus Soft Water

When it comes to water, there are two types, hard and soft water; let’s get right down to it and dive into what hard and soft water are and how they are different.

Hard Water:

When water falls from the sky, it is naturally soft; however, as it flows from its source, to your Buffalo, NY home, and out of whatever tap, showerhead, etc., it can collect very small particles (minerals) along the journey. The simple definition of water hardness is the amount of dissolved calcium and magnesium in the water. Hard water is high in dissolved minerals, largely calcium and magnesium.

Hard water can leave a lasting impression and often be felt. Depending on the hardness of your water, after using soap to wash, with hard water, you may feel like there was a film of residue left on your hands. In hard water, soap reacts with the calcium (which is relatively high in hard water) to form “soap scum”. When using hard water, more soap or detergent is needed to get things clean, such as your hands, hair, or your laundry (USGS.gov).

With hard water, due to its higher content of minerals, if consumed, while not harmful, it may have a rather strong taste. Keep in mind, due to hard water’s added minerals, there are some added health benefits when consumed. Hard water can cause dry skin and hair, leave spots and residue, and is known to create buildup that can damage plumbing and appliances.

Soft Water:

Soft water, is water containing little or no dissolved particles of calcium or magnesium. This water contains less than 17 parts per million. Soft water is much gentler than hard water and often has the excess minerals removed through a water softener system.

Because soft water is much lower on the water hardness scale, less build up is created and your soap and detergents are more effective. Soft water, generally tastes different than most people are used to, because the minerals of hard water can add a bit of flavor to the water, and without them, the water can taste a little salty.

Due to the lack of minerals in soft water, many people believe that this type of water can make you feel cleaner, prevent scale buildup around your home, improve soap’s effectiveness, and help to prevent dryness.

Why Does the Type of Water I Have in my Home Make a Difference?

Now that we have reviewed some of the differences between hard and soft water, you likely are wondering if it really makes a difference what type of water you have in your home. What type of water you prefer in your home, really depends on personal preference. Because of the added minerals in the water, some people believe hard water is the best option for health reasons; while other people think that soft water causes less issues to their skin, appliances, and plumbing, so that is their preferred water type.

You can test your water for the hardness levels or may be able to tell on your own based on residue, taste, etc. Around 85% of the US water supply is hard, so you likely naturally have hard water in your home; however, if you want to lower its hardness, you can. There are several options for softening water, such as softeners, ion exchange systems, etc.

If you continue to have clogs in your plumbing from your hard water, you may want to look into making it softer to prolong the life of your appliances and prevent a major blockage from mineral buildup over time.

Contact Reimer Home Services for Your Buffalo Plumbing Needs

Regardless what may have caused a clog in your Buffalo, NY home, Reimer Home Services can help. Reimer is your locally trusted plumber in Buffalo and Western New York. Our full-service plumbing team is ready to help with whatever your home needs, from thawing frozen pipes to cleaning out your shower drain. Our Buffalo plumbers are available Day or Night to help you and your home. We provide upfront estimates and we don’t charge you anything extra for service on nights or weekends.

When you need a plumber, don’t hesitate to call or contact us online

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