Naturally, water consists of a variety of minerals, particularly calcium and magnesium. Water containing high levels of these minerals is called hard water. Although hard water does not offer any health risks, it may reduce the lifespan of your appliances, and/or form mineral deposits in your plumbing. In order to combat this hardness, water softeners are available that lower the calcium and magnesium levels in your water, changing it to “soft” water. Clean Water Solutions, Houston, is a great place to learn more about water softeners and how to acquire and install one.
Are Water Softeners Necessary?
It is not necessary to soften your water. Softening is a personal choice that can have an impact on your house and the environment. If your water has a hardness level of more over 7 grains per gallon (120 mg/L), you may need a water softener to keep your appliances working smoothly and improve the taste and smell of water.
So How Do Water Softeners Work?
Home water softeners are appliances that work on ion exchange principles i.e., they remove calcium and magnesium from water and replace it with sodium or potassium. The softener contains resin beads that trap the calcium and magnesium minerals. Over time, these resin beads become saturated with calcium and magnesium, at which point they are flushed with a highly-concentrated salt solution to remove the minerals and drained into the environment.
The softened water from your tap might potentially add a substantial amount of sodium to your diet if you live in an area with very hard water. The harder the water, the more salt will be added by the softening system to replace the dissolved calcium and magnesium.
How Water Softening Affects Blood Pressure
As mentioned above, water softeners switch out calcium and magnesium content for sodium and potassium. This means that the resulting water you drink will have an increased amount of salt. Water softening may cause high blood pressure difficulties in your family if you consume a lot of tap water or reside in an area with particularly hard water.
In case you’re worried about this risk, here are a couple of solutions:
- Consult your doctor about drinking softened water
- Request your plumber to disconnect your softener’s cold-water system so that only the hot water used for laundry and washing is softened.
- Install a simple water filter for cooking and drinking purposes.
- Using potassium chloride instead of sodium chloride in your softener. (Find more information at Clean Water Solutions, Houston’s official website).
Another health concern is that if you’re using water softeners to remove essential minerals like calcium and magnesium from your water, you will need to consume them as part of your daily diet in order to avoid mineral deficiencies.
Although water softening may be the answer to your stained water fixtures or clogged up pipes, it is important to consider their long-term effects on your health and the environment. The best way to avoid increased sodium intake through water would be to consider a salt-free water softener.