Both are perfectly drinkable but why should it matter whether your water supplier provides hard or soft water? We’ll discuss the differences and how hard or soft water can affect your diet, skin and even your appliances.
What is Hard Water?
As a whole, hard water is the most common type of water in the UK. Over 60% of UK residents live in hard water areas. Here’s a geography lesson for you. Hard water occurs where there is sedimentary rock such as limestone or chalk making up the bedrock. Along with igneous and metamorphic, sedimentary rocks make up one of three main types of rocks found on Earth. As sedimentary rock is the most porous, nearby groundwater takes on the mineral deposits from this type of rock as it passes by. Water is classified as hard water if there are high concentrations of the minerals calcium and magnesium within it.
What is Soft Water?
Soft water has lower concentrations of calcium and magnesium. This is on account of it journey through the ground. Soft water has not come in contact with chalky sedimentary rock and is mainly sourced from ‘surface water’. Surface water is the term given to water found in rivers, lakes and reservoirs. Some soft water also comes from groundwater, but is in contact with less porous rocks, therefore absorbing fewer minerals.
Why is Hard Water a Problem?
First of all, hard water is not dangerous to drink or use. In fact, the mineral content helps us get our daily recommended intake of calcium and magnesium. These minerals are beneficial for growth and development, so hard water isn’t all that bad. However, a build-up of these minerals can cause problems when using your appliances and even washing your hair.
Not-so Luscious Locks
Mineral residue left behind from washing in hard water can prevent moisture from being absorbed into the hair. Repeatedly rinsing your hair in hard water may result in brittle, straw-like textured and dull looking locks. Furthermore, your premium hair care products won’t lather up so well in hard water, meaning you have to use more. Soft water can save you money and keep your hair looking healthy and strong.
It’s no surprise that hard water dries out the skin too. Like it does on the surface of each strand of hair, mineral deposits create a barrier on the skin. If you live in a hard water area you might find that no matter how often you moisturise, your skin still feels dry. This dryness can also lead to skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema flare-ups. Sensitive skin reacts particularly badly to hard water, so if this is your skin type you need to avoid showering in hard water. Not to worry, there is a solution…we’ll get to it in a minute!
Appliances and plumbing that regularly come into contact with hard water can experience a build-up of a white crust or limescale. Over time, this limescale can affect how an appliance works. For example, from limescale build-up, your kettle could break down faster after boiling hard water. Not to mention, the chalky bits floating in your tea!
Plumbing and boiler systems can also be affected. Mineral deposits can cause your boiler to work less efficiently, requiring more energy to heat the water and wearing down components. All in all, hard water damage can cost you quite a bit.
In addition to the threat of limescale build-up in your washing machine, hard water can ruin your laundry. First off, clothes can appear less vibrant and fade more easily when washing in hard water, due to the mineral deposits. Secondly, the hard water can affect the feel of the fabric. Once dried, your clothes may feel stiff and cardboard-like and your towels will be rough to the touch. Meaning, you will have to add fabric softener to your weekly shop.
How Can I Get Access to Soft Water?
If you live in a hard water area, there is a solution to the problems that hard water causes. Aquatiere have a range of products to suit your water softening needs. If dry hair concerns you, why not try our shower filters that soften and filter hard water, leaving you with super clean and healthy hair. Perhaps you are worried about limescale build up and the state of all your household appliances? Our whole house solution, the Pureau Saltless Softener & Filter ensures that you have access to soft, filtered water throughout your entire home.
If you are still unsure as to which water filter and softener system is perfect for you, contact us to chat to our experts. They’ll be happy to help you with your water filter and softener queries.