Hard Water vs. Soft Water and How It Affects Water Filter Choice

Hard Water vs. Soft Water and How It Affects Water Filter Choice

If you’re here, you’re wondering, “what is hard water?” and “what is soft water?” You’re probably having some issues with your water quality and want to know what filter to use. 

Well, that will depend on the type of water you have, and understanding the difference means you can make a more informed purchase. 

To find all of the information you need to know on hard water vs. soft water, keep reading! 

Hard Water vs Soft Water

Before we go further, let’s get the basics out of the way. 

Hard Water

The definition of hard water concerns the amount of mineral content it possesses. If it has a high mineral content, then it is considered hard water.

This type of water forms when it moves through mineral deposits such as limestone, chalk, or gypsum. This process can add things such as calcium, magnesium, and sulfates. 

Sometimes the presence of all these minerals can mean the water is healthy. At other times, however, it might be a nuisance. Let’s look at a list of reasons why hard water might cause problems for you and your home. 

  • Scaling build-up in your plumbing 
  • Spots and film on dishes and faucets
  • Skin issues, such as dryness and itching
  • Hair issues, such as dull and brittle hair
  • Lots of minerals may distort the taste of your water, coffee, and tea  

Soft Water 

The definition of soft water is water that is free of dissolved minerals. So, if it has a low mineral content, then it is considered soft water. 

This means it’s much better for your plumbing and skin. It also means your soap will be more effective, as a nice side effect.

But it’s not all good. It’s important to test for bad metals which can show up more frequently in soft water, like lead.  

Although it is not a concern for many, soft water also contains sodium, although frequently in low amounts. It can actually be higher in very hard water. However, it should be avoided if you suffer from high blood pressure or other sodium-sensitive conditions.  

How to Choose a Filter

Whether your water is hard or soft, the situation you are in could require a filter. Finding the best one will depend on what type of water you have and your specific concerns. If you only care about the flavor of the water, for instance, you may not have to do as much.

Let’s look at the best filters for you!  

The Best Way to Filter Hard Water

First, it’s important to do a water test to find out exactly which minerals are causing your issues. Then, you can decide if a small solution will suit your needs or if a water softener is the best way to go. 

If you simply want to reduce the taste and amount of minerals, you can boil your water. If you want to remove build-up on your appliances, cleaning them with distilled white vinegar doesn’t take much time.

However, if you want to solve larger issues throughout your home, you should look into an ion exchange water filter. This will soften your water. There are two types of ion exchange water filters. 

Sodium Chloride 

A sodium chloride filter is the most frequently used form of ion exchange softener. By adding a small amount of sodium to your water it works to soften the water. However, added sodium could cause health issues if blood pressure is a concern for you. 

Potassium Chloride 

This works similarly to the sodium chloride filter. It doesn’t tend to work as well, but it doesn’t add sodium. There are still potential health concerns if you are on some medications or have kidney problems. 

If neither of these ion exchange filters will work for you because of their additives, there are options. Consider a reverse osmosis filter. We’ll talk more about this below. 

If you are worried about the soft water impacting your drinking experience there are solutions. Consider adding mineral drops or packets to taste. Learn more about how to customize your water experience

The Best Way to Filter Soft Water 

If you want to make your soft water more drinkable, a reverse osmosis system is generally the best way to go. This type of filter will use a partially permeable membrane. This membrane will be able to filter out almost any concern. 

Sodium, chemicals, and metals will be gone. You will be left with great tasting water that’s better for you! 

It is important to note that if you live in an area that has fluoride in the drinking water, you will be filtering that out with a reverse osmosis system. This could impact your dental health. Consider ensuring your toothpaste contains fluoride to mitigate this impact. 

If you have a refrigerator with its own water filtration system, you will have to utilize a fridge water filter as well. Be sure to learn more about what you should do for your fridge water system here! 

What Else Should I Know? 

Now you understand the situation with hard water vs. soft water and know how to choose a filter. You can be assured your water quality and lifestyle will improve with the best filter for your situation. But what other easy fixes should you consider to improve your life at home? 

Well, it’s not just your water filters you should be concerned about. What about your air quality? Be sure to find out more about everything to do with HVAC filters (and more!) in our post.

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