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Difference Between Hard Water Versus Soft Water | FilterSmart

Both soft water and hard water are found throughout the U.S. depending on your geography.  Soft water is essentially rainwater, meaning that is free from dissolved minerals like calcium and magnesium.  Water becomes hard as it falls and makes its way through rocks, rivers, and streams picking up these essential minerals along the way to your home. Hard water minerals are not bad for you, however, with hard water, you’re more likely to be left with spotty chalky spots on your silverware, glasses or dishes after you’re done doing the dishes.


Shampoos, soaps, and detergents do not lather well in hard water, running the amount you spend on and detergents and other soapy materials up by 75%.

On the other hand, with soft water, detergents easily rinse off clothes and silverware; your skin and air feel softer, smoother, and cleaner. Studies also show that fabrics are softer without the hard minerals associated with hard water in them. Also, fabrics are said to last longer with white fabrics maintaining their whiteness white better without contact with hard water.

Hard water is known to leave chalk or orange rings around bathtubs and sinks, consuming more time and resources when it comes to house cleaning and cleaning in general. 

Soft water preserves the life of all water appliances such as coffee and ice makers, dishwashers, and clothes washers. Appliances wear out quickly and require more energy when they are corroded or clogged with mineral deposits from hard water; this ultimately leads to damages to such appliances, both short term and long term. Ultimately soft water helps you save costs on fuel energy usage, money, and more.

Is Soft or Hard Water Better For Your Home?

Having hard water in your home is like having a little puppy. But instead of a puppy going around and eating all your shoes and tearing up your carpet, hard water is the lot sneakier with the damage it causes. If you have ever noticed soap scum on your shower or tub floor, then you have seen firsthand the damage it can cause. Hardness in water messes with soaps the ability to lather and causes you to use far more soap when you bathe, wash her hands, etc. Then the soap sticks to surfaces and leaves a nasty residue behind. Besides just using more soap, you also use more detergent, and over time this can be very costly.

Hard water also has many other effects, such as damaging your skin and hair. When you have soft water in your house, your hair becomes softer and more manageable in your skin less dry. The same hard minerals enter the fabric in your clothes and cause them to feel rough. Your whites also lose that vivid color over time by the hard water turning them gray. If you were to have soft water in your home, your clothes could last up to 50% longer.

You also have to worry about the hard water stains on your dishware and faucets. While this isn’t necessarily a harsh negative effect, a lot of people can’t be bothered by washing the dishes for them still to appear dirty.

What is the Difference Between Hard and Soft Water? 

Removal of hardness from your water is the key to enjoying the many benefits of water. Soft water tastes better, is without smell, and leaves no stains. Hard water, on the other hand, causes the build-up of scales inside your pipes and appliances.

When scales get severe, they can block your water supply and ultimately cause your appliances that use water to fail. 

There are various methods to soften water and various reasons too. These advantages range from relief to skin infections, help for cleaner clothes and utensils, appliances and the home in general, and better-tasting drinking water. 

Hard water contains chloride or sulfate anions, which do not react with the cations during boiling. Just because the water is classified as hard does not mean that it can’t be softened. An ion exchange system can soften the water.

An ion exchange system treats water that has a significant amount of hardness. If a sample has two or more grains per gallon of hardness, a water softener is recommended. A water softener is also recommended if the water supply has a large amount of iron because it will effectively aid an Iron Removal System in filtering out all of the iron. Softening systems are also effective for removing manganese.

The ion exchange water softening method is a two-tank system designed to reduce the grains per gallon of hardness in your water. One tank completes the treatment, while the other tank - a brine tank - houses salt. Salt is required to regenerate the main tank’s media to complete the actual treatment. There is a metered control valve at the top of the treatment tank with tubing that connects the two tanks.

Water that has been treated with a softening system is preferable for cleaning. Because cleaning agents dissolve better in soft water, there is no sticky residue left behind on tubs, clothes, or hair. Soft water does not result in scale build-up in pipes, washing machines, and other appliances. No build-up means better pressure and longer appliance life.

Determining the level of water hardness and knowing the differences between hard and soft water is important in deciding if treatment is necessary.



How Traditional Water Softeners Treat Hard Water in Your Home

Water Softeners work to convert hard water into soft water. Hard water has minerals like calcium and magnesium, which are positively charged ions. The presence of positively charged ions is what causes calcium and magnesium to dissolve less easily in water. As a result of the high concentration of minerals, water tastes “salty” even though there is no sodium present.

Water Softeners not only work to remove excess calcium and magnesium but also to remove iron, lead, radium, copper, and sediment.

The main principle that softeners operate on is the ion exchange. Water softeners all have a resin tank that contains the ion exchange brine tank and the control head, which is the mechanism that determines when the regeneration process is to take place.

Why A Salt-Free Water Softener Might Be the Better Option

The main downside to water softeners is that they only treat hardness.  Traditional water softeners simply take calcium and magnesium and replace the ions with sodium, thus producing soft water.    

Traditional water softeners do not filter and chlorine or other contaminants.  If you are looking to reduce the effects of hard water and filter the water without the use of adding sodium to your water a salt free water softener might be the better option. 

Salt free water softeners are perfect for those looking to treat hardness without the use of sodium in a more environmentally friendly and healthier way.

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