This is quite the debate. Should you or shouldn’t you use water softeners? Are water softeners worth it? Are there negative health consequences of using water softeners?
There are a dizzying array of opinions and articles that you can read on this subject. The important thing is not to get lost in other peoples’ opinions but to understand the underlying principles and use them to make your own informed decision.
That’s what you’ll get in this article and it’s going to save you a lot of time cutting through other’s personal opinions and skewed marketing material.
What’s the Problem?
Hard water contains the elements of magnesium and calcium. These elements are very beneficial for your health.
However, their presence within your plumbing system can create problems over time as they build up a residue and attach themselves to metal components within the system. That may cause damage and premature deterioration of some of your appliances. With deterioration comes inefficiencies in the use of electricity to power your appliances.
The short of all of this is that hard water may cost you more in electricity and in repairing or replacing some of your appliances. To avoid this, some people opt to use water softeners which remove these ‘hard’ elements from your water.
In deciding whether you should or shouldn’t do something about this you need to find out how ‘hard’ your water really is. You should be able to find this out from your water provider, or you can test it yourself using an inexpensive testing kit. You may find that your water is not that hard and you don’t need to do anything at all.
Principle of Ion Exchange
Magnesium and calcium have positively charged ions or molecules. It is possible to use other positively charged ions to substitute or replace these ions. This is where sodium comes in.
It is soluble and when mixed with the water within the water softening system, it basically replaces the hard elements. What that means is that the water going through your plumbing system and various appliances will no longer produce these problematic metal deposits. However, it also means you lose those healthful elements from your water, so they need to be replaced in your overall diet.
Salty Water and Your Health
As you soften your water, the bottom line is that the salt content of your water will increase. For many people, this is no problem. The degree to which your water will be salty also depends on how ‘hard’ it was at the start. This emphasizes the value of testing your water right from the beginning so that you know what you’re dealing with.
If anyone in the family suffers from blood pressure problems, then you should seek an opinion from your doctor. On this note, it worth knowing that modern equipment has advanced considerably and is much more effective using even less salt than before. Whatever system you’re thinking of using make sure you learn more about it from the supplier before you buy.
Are Water Softeners Worth It?
Now you know what the problem is with hard water. The question is how much have you had to spend on repairing or replacing appliances in your home. The extent of the problem will depend on how hard your water is to start with and the volume of water you are using. A bigger home, with bigger families, and the problem gets worse.
The harder the water you have, the more ‘softener’ required. Be aware that as you soften your water, you increase the salt content. That may have health implications for some.
Make the Hard Choice
In this article, you’ve read about the principles of ‘softening’ water. Are water softeners worth it? Only you can answer that question but at least now you’re familiar with the factors that should influence your decision either way.
It’s good to know that the technology and methods of softening water are continuing to advance. There are other methods not discussed in this brief article, so make sure you continue to read about this subject so that you can be fully informed. You can read more lifestyle articles and interesting perspectives on our site.