Difference between Hard Water and Soft Water

Many have already heard the terms soft water and hard water without knowing what they really mean. In a nutshell, hard water is any water that contains a certain amount of minerals or other impurities in your Soquel home.

Soquel, CA Water Softener ServicesSome of these minerals, or impurities, include calcium and magnesium. While these minerals are good for the human body, they are not ideal for other tasks, such as cleaning.

Harmful minerals can be found in hard water as well. Unfortunately, this is most often the case.

Going back to the cleaning, hard water can damage certain appliances, such as dishwashers and pipes, by leaving behind deposits that result in blockage.

How to Identify Hard Water

One of the best ways to determine if water is hard in your Soquel home, is to see how many suds are created when soap is added. Generally speaking, hard water will create significantly less suds compared to soft water.

Rather, hard water will create a type of soap scum. Another very tall-tale sign of hard water is left over deposits, such as calcium deposits. This is the reason why some dishwashers leave a white film behind on dishes. A milky-white color is another good sign of hard water.

What Exactly Causes Water to Become Hard?

Without going to much into the complex chemistry of it, high concentrations of multivalent cations, which is anything greater than 1+, causes the water to become hard.

Both calcium and magnesium have a charge of 2+. This means that both rain and distilled water are generally soft, since they have no impurities.

Permanent vs Temporary Hard Water

If hard water cannot be softened by boiling it, it's then considered to have a permanent hardness. Bicarbonate minerals, on the other hand, can usually be isolated from the water by boiling it, making it have a temporary hardness.

Common compounds that cause permanent hardness are chlorides, calcium and magnesium sulfates. Contrary to its name, permanent hardness can actually be fixed through other methods of water softening.

How Hard Water Is Softened

One way to soften hard water is to reduce the number of impurities. One way to do this is to add calcium hydroxide. Sodium ions can also "cancel out" the charges of the impurities that make water hard.

This is why some water softeners use some form of a salt. Overall, soft water is better for both drinking and cleaning.

Knowing the differences between hard & soft water in your Soquel, CA home is important. For more info, call Bellows Plumbing, Heating & Air at (831) 219-8644 today!