Posted on 20 July 2011.
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Posted on 25 March 2011.
Many people hear about hard and soft water without really knowing what those terms mean. Understanding how water is classified lets a homeowner make an informed choice when it comes to the family drinking water and general household water supply. Some people absolutely love soft water, while others strictly prefer the qualities of hard water.
Hard water contains naturally occurring concentrations of calcium, lime and magnesium. This can be seen in the residue that hard water can leave behind on surfaces like shower walls and sinks. Soft water, on the other hand, is treated to only contain ions of sodium, giving soft water a slightly salty taste. Because of this, people may notice a subtle difference in the tastes of hard and soft water.
Both types of water originate with rainwater that filters through underground rocks. Water becomes ‘hard’ when the water passes through soft, loose rock containing minerals and calcium that easily break apart and are carried into the water flow. In contrast, soft water passes through hard granite rock, picking up very trace amounts of minerals.
Some homeowners prefer soft water because the lack of mineral content keeps their kitchen appliances and plumbing from requiring extra maintenance, while lengthening their life spans. Hard water deposits are also harder to clean from surfaces in the bathroom and kitchen.
Bathing in soft water has the added health benefit of leaving hair clean without stripping it of important natural oils. It’s also known to be beneficial for those with sensitive or breakout-prone skin, as soft water does not clog pores like hard water can.
According to studies done by the National Research Council, there is no evidence that drinking hard water can cause adverse health issues, but can instead be beneficial. Drinking hard water that contains small amounts of calcium and magnesium can be valuable to those who don’t get enough of these minerals by daily diet alone. As such, for health benefits, hard water is more often recommended as the drinking water of choice.
The easiest way to tell if water is hard or soft is to look for residue on surfaces. White, scaly residue or even green discoloration around water pipes means calcium and lime are present in the water. Sometimes, holding a glass of tap water up to the sunlight will show the tiny particles of minerals and calcium deposits that are present in hard water. To be sure, buy a home water testing kit.
Both hard and soft water have their pros and cons and choosing between hard or soft water for drinking, bathing and household chores is a personal choice. Some families combine the best of both worlds by using hard water for drinking and soft water for bathing and washing clothes, but both are perfectly safe.
Posted on 26 February 2011.
Many people wonder how good the water quality in their area is. When water contains contaminants, it leaves behind tiny particles that are dissolved in the water, particles that are called “total dissolved solids.” This map charts total dissolved solids in the water. Although this chart doesn’t show exactly which contaminants are present in your water and whether they’re bad for you, it’s still a good measure of water purity.
Click on the map to find out more about your local water quality.