Listening to manufacturers of water softeners, you only hear of the virtues of water softeners.
Yes, it’s true!
Water softeners are great.
Nevertheless, there exists some confusion about the effects of drinking softened water. I did my own investigation on the side effects of drinking softened water.
Let’s jump right in…
My extensive reading of material on the web and medical journals shows that there are three main concerns associated with drinking softened water.
IN THIS POST
- 1 Side effects of drinking softened water
- 2 Can you filter softened water for drinking
- 3 Is it better to drink hard or soft water?
- 4 Is soft water safe for pets to drink
- 5 Does soft water hurt plants
- 6 Do I really need a water softener
- 7 What’s the difference between a water softener and a water conditioner?
Side effects of drinking softened water
- Water softeners add sodium to your drinking water. Groups of people are anxious that softening water lead to an increased level of sodium in the water. Sodium is associated with conditions such as high blood pressure which increases the risk of stroke, heart attack, and other organs failure. However, if you examine the amount of sodium that is added to water during the process of removing hardness, it is negligible. To soften one cup of water 20-30mg of sodium is added.
- One cup of soft water will have 20mg of sodium; compared to a 12 ounce can of soda that has 80mg of salt or cup of milk that has 100-120mg of sodium. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), the prescribed daily intake of sodium should be between 1500 mg to 2,300 mg per day. A healthy adult who is under the age of 50 can consume 2,300 mg sodium without suffering any negative consequences. If you are older and suffer from some health condition, you should restrict your sodium intake to no more than 1500 mg. Drinking 250ml of water will contribute to less than 2% of your sodium intake per day. We can conclude the amount of sodium that is added to drinking water is insignificant unless your doctor has advised you to reduce.
- Risk of toxic metals poisoning because soft water is more corrosive. Another big concern about soft water is that soft water can introduce toxic metals into your water because it’s more corrosive. Soft water is more aggressive and leaches on metals such as lead that are in the plumbing system. If soft water comes into contact with metals such as solid brass which has a high level of lead, it results in lead poisoning. Toxic metals poisoning is most likely to happen if the pipes are old. To avoid the dangers of toxic metals poisoning due to soft water, you can have one tap in that bypasses the water softer. The drinking water tap will be giving out hard water for drinking. You can use a simple filter such as a carbon filter to purify water from the drinking water tap.
- A water softener removes calcium and magnesium which are essential minerals that the body needs. As you probably know, water hardness is caused by the presence of minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and iron in the water. A water softener removes these minerals through a process of ion exchange where sodium ions are added to water. In this process, calcium and magnesium ions are eliminated from the water. Soft water will typically have zero calcium and magnesium while sodium levels are enhanced. This is not a very big concern because you can always get these minerals from other sources such as foods and supplements.
Can you filter softened water for drinking
Drinking softened water is perfectly safe for your family. However, soft water is more susceptible to getting contaminated with toxic metals from pipes in the plumbing system because softened water is more corrosive.
If you are worried about poisoning from toxic metals such as lead, you can filter softened water before drinking it. The filters that are good for removing toxic metals are reverse osmosis water filter filters. The reverse Osmosis system will remove 98% of sodium that is added to softened water.
Is it better to drink hard or soft water?
The best water for humans to consume is water that has zero contaminants. Softened water has reduced levels of minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and iron. On the other hand, hard water is rich in minerals mostly calcium and magnesium.
Although hard water is healthier than soft water, it might cause conditions such as kidney stones in places where the hardness is very high. Therefore, in a case where the hardness is very high, you should go for soft water or if you just don’t like the taste of hard water.
Is soft water safe for pets to drink
Softened water meets the FDA safety standard for drinking. This also encompasses safe for pets to drink. However, if the pet has a restriction on the amount of sodium it can take, you should take that into consideration.
Does soft water hurt plants
It’s not a good idea to use softened water to water your plants because it will hurt your plants. Soft water has a higher amount of sodium making it saltier.
Plants don’t do well in a salty environment. Sodium will affects the acidity and might even kill the plants. In addition, when you use soft water to water your garden, the salt will build up in the soil preventing future health of your soil.
Do I really need a water softener
If you have water that is very hard and has lots of iron, buying a water softener might be your only way out. Hard water has many disadvantages which include damage to water appliance, hard water does not work well with soaps and the taste might not be that great.
However, if the level of hardness is not very high, you might not require buying a water softener because they are expensive and hard to main. If you are looking for more information on the best water softener to buy check out our water softeners Reviews and Buying guide.
What’s the difference between a water softener and a water conditioner?
A water softener is a system that removes minerals from water using a process of ion exchange to remove the minerals from water.
On the other hard conditioner is systems that modify the structure of the chemical of the minerals in water so that they stop forming scale. Water conditioners are also known as salt-free water softeners.
Water conditioner does not completely remove the minerals it just eliminates the ability to accumulate and form limescale while a water softener completely removes the minerals.
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ABOUT LEON SMITH
Leon is a Thirty-something-year-old blogger from Mauritius who is currently studying for a Masters degree in chemical and processing Engineering at the University of Eldoret in Kenya. Read more about him.