You have probably heard of soft water and hard water. Hard water usually contains lots of hand minerals (calcium and magnesium.)
Soft Water, on the other hand, doesn’t contain these minerals. People install water softeners in their homes to treat hard water by replacing the hard minerals ions with sodium ions.
Although soft water has plenty of benefits for you and your family, there have been concerns about the side effects of drinking softened water because of the high amount of sodium ions.
Should you install a water softener in your home, or should you keep on consuming hard water? That’s what we are here to find out. Read this article to find out some of the side effects of softened water.
Read More: Water Softener Review and Buying Guides
What is softened water?
Soft water is obtained through a process known as ion exchange.
The process involves removing the minerals that are present in hard water.
The water softening process uses sodium. That’s mainly because the resin that catches the unwanted minerals gets cleansed using sodium.
As a result, softened water contains some traces of sodium, which is also referred to as salt. Keep in mind that the level of sodium in your water depends on how hard the water in your area is, and your geographical location alike. The harder your water is, the higher the amount of salt is required to soften it.
What are the side effects of drinking softened water?
Water softeners are great, but there are some concerns that are associated with softened water. Let us have a closer look at them.
Softening water adds Sodium to water
For starters, water softeners add sodium to your water, and that’s a major concern that people have.
How come? Well, there are claims that the water softening process increases the level of sodium in your water.
Why is this an issue? It’s because sodium is linked to conditions like high blood pressure, which predisposes you to health problems such as heart attack, stroke, as well as other organs failure. But you need to know that the level of sodium that’s added during the water softening process is negligible. For instance, softening a cup of water only takes between 20 and 30mg of sodium, which is not dangerous.
Why Too Much Salt is bad for you
There’s a prescribed level of sodium intake per day, which stands between 1500 mg to 2300 mg. Healthy adults who are below the age of 50 can consume up to 2300 mg of sodium daily without experiencing any health issues. However, older persons or those that suffer from certain health conditions should keep their sodium intake to less than 1500 mg per day. You should also reduce your sodium intake if your doctor suggests so. Otherwise, adding sodium to your water shouldn’t have any negative consequences.
Softening water Removes Essential minerals from water
Another issue is that hard water contains essential minerals such as calcium and magnesium. Ultimately, our bodies need these minerals in certain amounts, but the process of water softening gets rid of these minerals. If you do not supplement these minerals in your diet, then there’s a high likelihood that you’ll suffer from some deficiencies. Luckily, these minerals are available from other sources, particularly food, and you can always replenish them in your body system.
Increased risk of metal toxic metal poisoning because Soft water is more corrosive
There’s also another major issue associated with soft water. Ordinarily, soft water is more corrosive compared to hard water. That means that there is a high likelihood of you getting toxic metals poisoning if you consume hard water. Do note that your plumbing system may contain lead, and when the soft water comes into contact with metals that contain lead, you could suffer from lead poisoning.
However, this is likely to happen if your household has an old plumbing system. To avoid getting such poisoning, you can install a water purification system that can remove these metals from your water. An effective product would be a filtration system that includes a carbon filter.
How to tell if your water is soft or hard
You cannot tell if the water is hard or soft using your naked eyes. But there are signs that indicate what type of water you’re using.
If the water is hard, you will most likely feel a film on your hands soon after washing them. The feel is caused by the reaction of soap with calcium to form scum. Additionally, you can tell if the water is hard if you observe spots on your silverware, sink, and other kitchen equipment. The spots result from mineral deposits.
You can also tell if the water is hard if you observe stains on your clothes after washing them. The mineral deposits affect the color of your clothes, plus hard water may make your clothes to wear out much faster. Another indication of hard water in your home is if there’s less water pressure. The low pressure mostly results from mineral deposits in your plumbing, reducing the diameter of your pipe, hence the low flow rate.
On the other hand, you can easily identify if you’re using soft water. The first indication with soft water is that soap lathers more easily, regardless of the washing task you’re undertaking. Moreover, you can identify some sodium taste in your drinking water, but it’s not so easy to identify this taste. You can also tell if you’re using soft water is your clothes get much cleaner without leaving any stains behind. Furthermore, there will be some good water pressure in your home if soft water is flowing through your pipes.
Soft water is safe for use in your household, apart from the minor issues associated with ion exchange. Usually, the water softening process involves removing calcium and magnesium from your water, while adding some sodium. If your diet doesn’t cater to the minerals that have been removed, then you’ll most likely suffer from conditions associated with their deficiency. Fortunately, such minerals are always available in food and supplements, and you can take them to meet your daily needs. The only major risk is for people who suffer from high blood pressure as a high sodium content could trigger conditions such as stroke and heart attack.