There is a lot of misinformation concerning the water softening process in terms of the processes involved as well as the pros and cons of this water treatment technology.
As an authority on all things water treatment related, we are going to clear up some of the myths and confusion that many homeowners are subjected to, to bring you the facts surrounding soft water and domestic water softeners.
The origins of this myth are based within the fact that salt-based water softeners require a salt additive to facilitate the water softening process. And so, if your water softener requires salt, surely this salt is being added to your water?
No. These salt additives are utilized within the ion exchange process in the form of sodium to remove the minerals that create hard water. You should never be able to taste any salt whatsoever.
There are also many different types of water softener available that don’t use salt at all – instead opting to utilise electrical charges to change the properties of mineral compounds and thus render them ‘soft’.
The quantity of sodium added to your water supply is based upon your levels of water hardness. The harder your water, the more sodium required.
But with that being said, the quantity of sodium added during the water softening process is so small that it will not have any effect on the health of your home’s occupants.
In fact, there is more sodium in your average meal than you will find in soft water. But if this is a point of concern for you, we recommend installing a separate faucet for the supply of drinking water.
Generally speaking, water softeners are only designed to remove certain minerals from your water supply and thus are not a substitute for a proper water filter that removes harmful contaminants.
But there is an increasing amount of water softeners on the market which have water filtration technically incorporated within them, essentially providing an all in one solution for home water treatment.
If you desire both soft and healthy water for your home, we suggest checking out one of these models which we have reviewed within our water softener buyers guide.
Calcium and magnesium are good for you and are vital to development, so surely if they are removed during the water softening process, this is a bad thing?
Not exactly, no. The calcium and magnesium found within hard water is inorganic and cannot be absorbed with the same efficiency as the minerals that you find within food and supplements.
And so while you will be consuming less of these minerals when drinking soft water, there is not a significant enough amount of difference for you to be concerned that you are missing out.
If you have ever showered or washed your hands in soft water, you will know that it leaves your skin feeling strangely smooth, almost as if there is something still present or you haven’t washed the soap off properly.
This is not the case at all and is actually the natural oils in your skin which you can now feel. Hard water on the other hands leaves your skin covered in soap scum and mineral deposits which is what we have become accustomed to as normal.
Water softeners are required to go through the regeneration process to maximise their efficiency and longevity - and this process does consume salt and some water so that it can be facilitated.
But what is important to note is that this technology is becoming more and more efficient, with the latest models consuming less resources than ever to complete their job.
We would suggest making sure that you purchase a water softener with an advanced digital control head which will take care of the salt dosage requirements and ensure that as little as possible is being used.
In addition, soft water is better at cleaning both laundry and dishes, so you will spend less money on detergent and will be able to adapt your laundry cycles, thus saving you money.
As with any consumer product, there are several different price points and feature sets that are available to choose from. But even at the top end of the market, we wouldn’t classify water softeners as expensive when you take into account the benefits that they offer.
There are also the running costs to consider in terms of energy consumption which you may wish to factor into your buying decision, but these are minimal when prorated across an annual basis.
Furthermore, many household appliances are much more efficient when utilizing soft water such as your washing machine and water heater, often allowing you to reduce temperatures (and thus save energy) whilst maintaining performance.
Many homeowners believe that only those properties that are utilizing well water require water softening and that city water and mains water properties don’t.
This isn’t the case at all as more than 80% of all homes in the US are supplied with hard water.
Whether you’re using a private water supply, or you have your water piped in from your local authority, the use of a water softener is recommended to remove the inorganic minerals from your water supply.
You may have encountered one or more of these untruths which plague the home water treatment industry, but each of them can very easily be debunked and dismissed.
There are very few drawbacks in relation to the use of water softeners. If you have ever delayed the purchase of a system for your home due to hearing one of these myths, you can now buy in complete confidence that you are doing the right thing for your home.