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Does Your Home Have Hard or Soft Water? Learn the Difference

Posted on July 15, 2014

Most homeowners don’t have a choice when it comes to having hard or soft water. Unless you live in a community that draws water directly from clear mountain creeks and streams, chances are you have less than soft water. While rainwater is naturally soft, it picks up minerals on its way through rocks and soil into our waterways and reservoirs.

Calcium and magnesium are minerals that get absorbed into groundwater, the amounts of which account for whether you have hard or soft water. A U.S. Geological Survey reports that south central Kansas has hard water. While most municipal water utility companies treat very hard water to balance hardness and softness, some mineral content is retained for taste and health benefits.

Effects of Hard Water

  • Mineral deposits build up in pipes and appliances
  • White spots or residue on glasses and dishes
  • Soap scum buildup or film on shower walls and doors, sinks, bathtubs and faucets
  • Less sudsing when using shampoo, detergents or soap
  • White residue inside your pots or tea kettle
  • Dingy looking colored clothing and drab whites

Soft water has the opposite effect on dishes, clothes, your appliances and yourself. Soap lathers better, leaving clothes, hair, dishes and glasses cleaner and residue-free. Using soft water in your appliances can actually save money and prolong the life of your washing machine, dishwasher or water heater. However, soft water has a salty, slightly alkaline taste, which also flavors foods and beverages.

Soft Water Solutions

Traditional water softeners can help reduce the effects of hard water. The most common option for households is an ion-exchange water softener, which exchanges the mineral content in water with harmless particles – such as sodium — through electrical attraction.

Sodium-free, electronic water treatments are available, eliminating the need for maintenance or supplies. The units are professionally installed and operate on pennies a day. This is an envi­ron­men­tally green method of water softening and conditioning that uses the effects of elec­tro­sta­tic fields.

For more expert advice on hard or soft water identification and solutions, please contact us at Comfort Systems. We’ve been serving the greater Wichita area since 1996.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Wichita, Kansas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about soft water and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

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