You have heard about water hardness, and you might be wondering if hard water is bad for you. There are typically no adverse health problems associated with drinking hard water, but soft water has a variety of benefits. On the other hand, hard water can cause irritation to your skin and hair, and it could have a negative impact on your plumbing system.
Learn more about hard water below, and understand the risks and benefits associated with hard water and soft water.
The Health Risks of Drinking Unfiltered Water
Even if you don’t mind the taste of hard water, you must make sure the water you drink is safe. If you drink untested and unfiltered water, there are a variety of serious health risks that might develop.
One of the biggest health risks of drinking water is that it could increase your chances of developing cancer. That is because unfiltered water may contain high levels of arsenic, which can lead to poisoning (in the short-term) and cancer (in the long-term). You should always have your water tested, but if you drink filtered water, it should not have any arsenic in it, protecting you against this significant health risk.
Another risk of drinking unfiltered water, which is often called raw water that comes from wells, is that you could increase your chances of contracting an infection. A few examples of dangerous microorganisms that live in raw water include Giardia lamblia, cryptosporidium, and vibrio cholera. Some of the diseases that these organisms can cause include sepsis, diarrhea, and cholera. If you drink filtered water, you reduce your chances of contracting an infection from your drinking water, protecting your health.
What About Drinking Hard Water?
There is a difference between unfiltered water and hard water. Hard water may have still been filtered, but it contains higher levels of certain minerals.
There are no direct health problems associated with drinking hard water. Remember that hard water generally has extra calcium and magnesium in it. In reality, you need adequate levels of calcium and magnesium throughout your body for a variety of reasons.
While drinking hard water is not necessarily harmful to your health, it can be annoying. Some of the side effects you might notice associated with hard water include:
Dry Skin and Hair
If you shower using hard water, you might notice that your skin and hair begin to dry out. When you wash your hair with hard water, it can leave your scalp feeling itchy. When you get out of the shower, you might feel like you need to scratch your head and you might notice some flakes falling from your fingertips. Hard water could contribute to increased production of dandruff, which can be a bit annoying.
Changing Your pH Balance
Furthermore, the minerals associated with hard water could change the pH balance of your skin. When this happens, your skin might no longer be a strong barrier against bacteria and infections, and people who suffer from eczema might be particularly vulnerable because they already have dry skin. Therefore, if you wash yourself with hard water, you could be more prone to developing infections.
These are a few of the reasons you might notice if you are exposed to hard water for an extended amount of time. You may want to invest in a water softener system for your home, and that is where DROP products can be helpful.
What Is the Difference Between Hard Water and Soft Water?
First, it is important to understand the differences between hard water and soft water. Generally, water hardness is determined by the amount of magnesium and calcium contained in that specific water supply. If the water has higher levels of calcium and magnesium, the water hardness increases.
You can you use a water softener to reduce the concentrations of calcium and magnesium in the water supply. Generally, when you soften your water, you will replace the calcium and magnesium with higher concentrations of sodium. Therefore, you are essentially conducting an ion exchange process, swapping calcium and magnesium for other ions. You can swap them for sodium, potassium, or a combination of the two.
How To Tell If Drinking Water Is Hard or Soft
It can be difficult to tell if water is hard or soft just by looking at it. While you can use a device to measure your water hardness, you can also see the effects of hard water throughout your home. Some of the signs include:
Film on Your Hands
You might notice a film on your hands after you are done washing them. This is generally caused by the buildup of soap scum. Soap on your hands can react with the calcium in the water supply to form soap scum. You might need to rinse your hands off when you are done washing them to get rid of the film on your skin.
Calcium Carbonate Spots on Your Glasses
You might also notice some spots on your silverware and glasses when they come out of the dishwasher. These spots represent the buildup of calcium carbonate in your water supply, and they generally result from a higher level of calcium in your water. These spots are not necessarily harmful, but they can be annoying and difficult to remove.
Lower Water Pressure
Finally, you may also notice lower water pressure throughout your home. The mineral deposits that form on your pipes can reduce the diameter of the pipes themselves, restricting the flow of water. For this reason, you might notice that your water pressure is a bit low throughout your house.
These are just a few signs that you may have hard water in your home. But, are there any health risks associated with hard water?
What Are the Benefits of Water Softener?
If you invest in a water softener, there are several benefits you might notice. They include:
Easier for Cleaning
If you install a water softener to remove excess calcium and magnesium, you should notice that it is easier for you to clean your clothes and your dishes. With soft water, you don’t need to worry about excess calcium and magnesium stripping the color from your clothes or deactivating your detergent.
In addition, you shouldn’t have to deal with spots on your glasses and silverware when you pull them out of the dishwasher. For these reasons, soft water is much easier for you to clean your clothes and your dishes.
No Sticky Films
With a water softener, you also don’t have to worry about a sticky film forming on your hands when you wash them. Because you will remove excess calcium and magnesium from your water, you don’t have to worry about it reacting with the soap you use to wash your hands.
If you want to get rid of the film on your fingers and palms when you are done washing them, a water softener can be beneficial.
No More Dry or Itchy Skin
Furthermore, you shouldn’t have to worry about dry or itchy skin when you take a shower. Because you get rid of excess calcium and magnesium, you shouldn’t have to worry about your scalp feeling itchy, and you might be able to reduce the production of dandruff.
Furthermore, this is especially helpful for people with eczema who already have dry skin. If you don’t want to spend the first few minutes after your shower scratching your body, installing a water softener can be helpful.
Protect Your Plumbing System
Finally, installing a water softener can also help you protect your plumbing system from harm. You might not realize just how much scale is building up inside your pipes and appliances. If you install a water softener to get rid of these excess minerals, you can protect your pipes, improve your water pressure, and reduce your chances of dealing with a leak down the road. You might even be able to extend the life of your appliances.
How To Choose a Water Softener for Your Home
There are plenty of reasons why softening your water is beneficial not only for your health but also for your plumbing system. At the same time, there are plenty of options available. How can you choose the right water softening system to meet your needs? Some of the most important factors to consider include:
- Always take a look at the filtration system to see how much maintenance it requires.
- Understand whether you are replacing dissolved minerals with sodium or potassium, or a combination of both. One is not necessarily better than the other, but you do need to know how they work.
- Take a look at reviews and ratings of water softening units to see if other people are happy with the product.
If you are looking for the best water softener to protect your health and your plumbing system, take a look at the selection from DROP today. With the right water softener system, you can improve your water quality, improve your home, and prevent health problems from developing.