There are many myths and rumors about water softeners out there that may make you hesitate to get one for your home or business. We wanted to debunk some of those myths and give you the truth about water softeners so you can make an informed decision.
1. Softened water is healthier to drink
Many people believe that a water softener and a water filter or purifier are the same. However, they are not.
A water softener removes hardness particles, like calcium and magnesium, through a process called ion-exchange. Resin beads in the softener are negatively charged and hold sodium ions. As the water passes over the resin, the resin prefers the more strongly charged calcium and magnesium ions, rather than the weaker sodium ions. The displaced sodium ions then pass through the resin bed and out the softener outlet, thus delivering soft water.
Hard water is not a health hazard. In fact, the National Research Council (National Academy of Sciences) states that hard drinking water generally contributes a small amount toward the total calcium and magnesium needed in the human diet.
So, while some people may prefer the taste of soft water, it is not more or less healthy for you to drink.
2. Softened water contains a lot of sodium
A common myth is that softened water contains a lot of sodium that is unhealthy to drink on a regular basis. In reality, softened water contains such a small amount of salt that it should have no impact on your diet at all.
For example, if water has a hardness of 10 grains per gallon, it will contain about 35mg of sodium per 8oz glass after being softened. To put this in perspective, a tablespoon of catsup has 204 mg. of sodium and a slice of whole-wheat bread has 211 mg of sodium.
If you are on a very strict sodium diet for your blood pressure or other issues, there are other ways to get the benefits of soft water. Many people only softener their hot water line and bypass the cold line. This leaves the cold water untouched for drinking and the hot water soft for bathing and appliances like washer and dishwasher.
3. It doesn’t matter what salt you put into your brine tank
Some people believe that all salt is the same when it comes to water softening. However, using purer salt with fewer contaminants will keep your system running more efficiently and have a longer lifespan. It will also require less cleaning
Solar salt, min-cube salt, and pellet salt are great for water softeners. These are typically sold in 40lbs bags and can be found at most home improvement stores. Some companies, like Robert B. Hill Co, will deliver the salt to your home or business locally.
4. Water softeners waste a lot of water
This may have been true a couple of decades ago but water softeners these days are highly efficient when it comes to water usage. The new control valves automate the regeneration process based on your home or business water usage. This means the system is not regenerating needlessly and uses as little water as possible.
In fact, washing and bathing with hard water tend will use more water because soap does not interact with hard water as efficiently. Hard water doesn’t form lather as efficiently and you need a lot of water to wash off the detergent from clothes.
Generally, homes and businesses see little impact on their water bill when installing a water softener.
5. Water softeners remove harmful bacteria and viruses
Water softeners are great for removing calcium and magnesium from your water but they will not remove bacteria or viruses.
We recommend adding a UV filter to your home or business if you want to remove water-born or transferred bacteria or viruses.
6. If you are on city water, you don’t need a water softener
Cities do a good job of treating water for some contaminants making it safe but, the fact is, around 85% of Americans have some form of hard water. It doesn’t matter if you are on city water, well water, or any other private water source.
Hard water can wreak havoc on your plumbing and water-using appliances by causing scaling and build up. It can greatly reduce the lifespan of these appliances and/or result in costly repairs.
Most city government websites will tell you how hard your water is. But, if the city does not provide you this information, you can get your water tested by a lab or a professional.
7. Water softeners are too expensive for most people
There is no doubt about it, a water softener is an investment. However, with the advancement in technology, water softeners are more affordable now.
Additionally, they keep your water-using products and appliances running efficiently which means fewer repairs and longer lifespans for your washer, refrigerator, dishwasher, etc.
When you factor in the savings, a water softener pays for itself in just a couple of years.
8. Water softeners will drastically increase your electrical bill
Besides the control valve being on standby, a water softener only uses any substantial about of electricity to regenerate and a typical water softener regeneration period is every 5-10 days.
The rest of the time water is just flowing through the system with no electricity needed. So, no, a water softener does not use a lot of electricity and it shouldn't have a big impact on your energy bill.
9. Softened water leaves a slick film on your skin after bathing
Some people complain about their skin feeling slick or filmy after installing a water softener. They think that it is soap that didn’t wash off or sodium leftover on the skin.
In fact, it is just the opposite. Hard water typically leaves soap on your skin or leaves your skin dry and brittle. So, after installing a water softener, many people are not used to the feeling of that being washed away.
The slickness on your skin when you bathe in soft water is actually your body’s natural essential oils. Essentially, it is how clean is supposed to feel.
10. Water softeners remove essential minerals the body needs
Through ion-exchange, water softeners from calcium and magnesium from your water. Some people believe these are essential minerals needed in drinking water.
However, while calcium and magnesium are abundant in tap water, it does not mean that these minerals are safe to be consumed because these dissolved solids are still in their inorganic form. In other words, our body cannot digest these minerals the same way it does with the minerals found in our food.