What's The Difference Between Hard And Soft Water?

You may have heard the terms before but it is not always clear what exactly the differences are between hard and soft water types. In this post, we discuss the similarities and differences between hard and soft water.

What Is Hard Water?

Hard water is water that contains a very high mineral content. The water gathers microscopic mineral deposits when it flows through rocky regions that are rich in limestone or chalk. As a result, the water itself is high in minerals such as magnesium and calcium.

Hard water has a slightly different flavor as it is less refined than soft water. There are minor health benefits from consuming hard water, as it is rich in vitamins and minerals. It has a slightly murky appearance but it is perfectly safe to drink. Some regions have naturally hard water, there are filtration devices that you can use to reduce the number of minerals in the water you drink.

Generally, hard water leaves traces of mineral deposits that can appear on your cups or glasses. The traces of minerals can become problematic and build up in machinery that is exposed to it over a longer period of time.

What Is Soft Water?

Soft water is water that has been refined or “softened” through a filtration process. It is a smooth, clear consistency, relatively free of minerals. Soft water can also be found naturally in regions that contain a lower mineral level.

Soft water in nature is generally rainwater, rivers that are fuelled mainly by rainwater, rivers that are low in calcium-rich stones or the water at the surface of any water body. Generally, in a lake, hard water sinks to the bottom whereas soft water resides at the surface.

Soft water is easy to drink and it is generally free of any specific, mineral-like taste.

Which Is Considered Better For You?

The human body is over 70% water, but what type of water is best for you? Both hard and soft water is perfectly drinkable and many people drink both, all over the world.

Hard water is rich in trace deposits of minerals. Hard water introduces more calcium and magnesium into your diet, but it can have a slightly mineral rich taste. Soft water is generally perceived as the more enjoyable for drinking, due to its neutral flavor.

Where Can I Find Hard And Soft Water?

Soft water can be created anywhere through an at home filtration device. Most parts of the world have very thorough filtration and distillation devices in place, so the majority of drinking water is soft.

However, in more northern parts of the world, or any region where there is a high level of limestone or chalk, the water gathers more minerals and retains most of those minerals through the refining process.

How Does Hard Water Affect Plumbing?

Hard water has the greatest effect on plumbing and potential plumbing problems. If your region has water that contains a high mineral content, the minerals often gather and build up in your pipes and plumbing system. This can become problematic over time because the minerals can eventually clog your pipes and make it difficult for drainage.

Talk With Your Plumber About Hard Water Buildup

There are several products that can easily clean away the mineral deposits that build up over time. If you live in an area with hard water, it may also be a good idea to enlist your plumber in cleaning the pipes that are harder to access.

This does not have to be done frequently but once a year is a good idea if you notice your water pressure is lower than normal, or there are noticeable mineral deposits and drainage problems.

At Hillcrest Plumbing, we have over 50 years of experience serving Vancouver and the lower mainland. Contact Hillcrest Plumbing for all problems or questions related to hard and soft water. Our experienced technicians can help clear mineral deposits, as well as suggest filtration devices if hard water becomes problematic for your pipes.