Soft Water vs. Hard Water

Many Brits have heard of hard water and soft water, but do you know the difference between them? If you’ve ever thought to yourself “what is hard water?” or caught yourself wondering about the water type in your area, don’t worry you’re not alone, and we’re here to help. These terms get thrown around without much explanation, but the experts at Harvey Water Softeners are here to mop up any confusion. In this article, we’re comparing the key differences of soft water vs hard water and what you can do to achieve soft water at home.

Ready to become a water expert? Keep reading to find out more. 

water graphic

The ultimate guide to hard water and soft water

Water, we use it every day in multiple ways. However, how sure are you that your water supply is benefitting you and your home? Is it time to switch it up?  

All water contains minerals, and the number of minerals determines whether your supply is hard or soft. The benefits of soft water vs hard water can impact your daily life, so it’s good practice to assess your home and what you need.  

What’s the difference between hard water and soft water?

The number of minerals determines the difference between soft and hard water. If your water supply has a higher mineral content, it’s hard water. On the other hand, if your water offers few minerals, it’s soft water.  

Water hardness is measured by minerals in ppm (parts per million). If water has 100ppm or higher, it’s officially classified as hard water.  

The main minerals that cause water to be hard are calcium and magnesium. These aren’t harmful to our health, but in larger amounts, they can cause dry hair and aggravate skin.  

Hard water can be softened by ‘water softening’. So, if you’re unhappy with your hard water supply, you no longer have to endure the frustrating effects! 

What causes soft and hard water?

How come some areas experience higher water hardness than others? Well, your water hardness is determined by where you live!  

Areas with more minerals in the ground experience harder water. This is due to the water dissolving magnesium and calcium as it runs through the ground. The hardness and minerals are retained in reservoirs, which continue into your home’s water supply.  

Soft water contains lower levels of these minerals as the water passes through different rock types. You’ll find some of the hardest water in the UK in the southeast, London, Doncaster, York, and Hull. You can check your own water hardness by putting your postcode or town into the water hardness checker.  

water from tap

Hard water issues

Many residents change from hard water to soft water while some people assume that it’s harmful to health which isn’t true.  

While hard water isn’t harmful to us, there are negative effects that come with it. When you compare a soft water vs hard water shower, you’ll often see the hard water shower has more limescale on the shower screen, the floor, around the plug, as well as around the shower head itself. This build-up is due to the extra minerals, and can be difficult to clean.   

Also, there are some soft water vs hard water hair impacts too. If you frequently wash your hair in hard water, you might find it feels drier and slightly itchy. There are also some soft water vs hard water skin impacts, including dryness and a weaker skin barrier. This might leave some people with worsened eczema and other dry skin conditions compared to soft water.  

Alongside these effects, hard water can also leave you spending more on toiletries and cleaning products, as you need to use more of the product to get an effective lather with hard water. 

The issues with hard water can be managed, but if these problems start affecting your day-to-day spending or cleaning, it might be time to invest in a water softener. 

Are there any benefits to hard water?

Though hard water can cause some household trouble, there are some benefits to the extra minerals.  

When it comes to hard water vs soft water for plants, many gardeners suggest using your hard tap water to water your garden. As some water softeners use sodium chloride (salt), gardens can be left with a build-up of excess sodium in the soil. 

Also, those with sensitive taste might notice a difference between the two water types. In terms of soft water vs hard water taste, those with sensitive palates may be able to taste the difference of water with or without magnesium and calcium. Many actually prefer this, and you can buy bottled water with minerals added in. 

Why change to soft water? 

The main reason you should consider a water softening product is to remove the negative impacts of hard water, mainly limescale.

shower head limscale

If you’re tired of scrubbing water stains and limescale off your shower or fed up with replacing broken appliances such as kettles, it might be a sign that you need a water softener. Also, if you’re experiencing hair and skin dryness or going through shampoo at record speeds, it might be time to switch.  

The most common water softening products include: 

Each helps you to experience the ultimate water experience at home. Soft water can make your day-to-day life easier. From cheaper bills, less elbow grease when cleaning your home to bigger bubble baths, it’s worth considering. 

What is my water type?

Knowing what type of water you have is the first step to solving any water-related issues. But, how do you know what water type you have? 

The tell-tale signs of hard water include limescale on appliances and taps, water stains on glassware, hair and skin dryness, and appliances that don’t last long.  

However, there’s an easy free online tool to help you check right now.  

Our water hardness checker uses your location to tell you whether you have hard or soft water without needing to check every water outlet throughout your home. If you have more than 100ppm in your water, you could benefit from softer water. 

The bottom line

Soft water vs hard water is a common debate. However, hard water does usually pose issues for homes. If you’re ready to kiss limescale and dull surfaces goodbye, request a quote for Harvey Water Softener services today. We’re here to help you with soft water solutions and modern systems.  

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