Hard Water vs Soft Water: What’s the Difference?

If you’re like most people, when you open the taps and get a glass of water, you’re not thinking about whether it’s hard or soft. However, over time, you might notice the effects of hard water, like calcium buildup. Sometimes, depending on what kind of chemicals are in your water, you might be able to taste or smell it too.

Whether you realise it or not, there is a difference between hard and soft water, and there are things you can do to soften the water in your home. Here’s what you need to know:

What Is Hard Water?

Hard water is water that has had different types of minerals dissolved in it. Since water is a natural solvent, as it makes its way through rivers and streams, springs, and other water sources, it “collects” minerals like calcium and magnesium along the way.

The problem is, when you use hard water in your home, those minerals can be deposited on other things. Which is why you might have water stains in your bathroom or limescale in the kitchen sink.

Hard water is a blanket term that describes water that has any kinds of chemicals other than sodium dissolved in it. That means that you might have a variety of different elements dissolved in your water.

Many people who use well water notice that it leaves red stains on walls. That’s another sign of hard water.

What Is Soft Water?

Soft water is what we would consider a “purer” water, much like rainwater. Instead of having all kinds of compounds and chemicals diluted in it, soft water is simply H2O and sodium.

Because there’s nothing dissolved in soft water, it does not leave any chemical deposits in your home when you use it. Ideally, soft water is what you want to have in your home, both because it won’t leave stains and deposits, and because often, it tastes better too.

How to Tell If Water Is Hard or Soft?

Of course, there are chemical tests that can be done to test how hard or soft water is, what your water PH is and more, the simplest way to tell if you have hard or soft water is to observe your plumbing fixtures and appliances that use water.

If you notice a buildup of calcium, limescale or stains on white plumbing fixtures, there’s a good chance you have hard water. You can confirm this by speaking to a plumber.

You Don’t Have to Live with Hard Water

The good news is that hard water is a fairly common problem, and there are many different solutions that could work for your home. A good plumber can help answer your questions about water hardness, and provide you with a solution to soften and filter your water.

This is a good idea, because over time, hard water can do a lot of damage to your plumbing and appliances, and the cost to install water softening solutions will prolong their life and save you money in the long term.

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