The Difference Between Hard and Soft Water

water in glass


Most people assume that water is just water. However, water can fall into one of two categories. Water can be hard or soft, and the difference does not have anything to do with how it feels. Instead, the difference has to do with the mineral content.


Hard Water

Most of the water in the United States is hard water that comes from the ground. This includes the Sacramento area. This water is actually rain that has seeped into the ground to become part of water from a well or a spring. As it moves through the ground, it is purified by natural means. It also picks up minerals from the rocks that it passes over. Usually these minerals are sulfur, magnesium, calcium, and lime.


Soft Water

The other type of water is called soft water. It is usually water that has been collected from the surface, such as water from lakes, river, and rainwater that has been collected in basins or bodies of water before seeping through the ground.


Advantages and Disadvantages

There are advantages and disadvantages of each type of water. For example, hard water can have a more pleasing taste because the minerals add a flavor to it. This is why spring water is used for bottling. Some people believe that hard water is better for physical health because it provides minerals that the body needs, like calcium and magnesium.

However, hard water also has a downside. It can leave deposits, known as scale, that can corrode pipes over time. Hard water often leaves spots on dishes, soap scum in showers, and often soap doesn’t lather as much. Vinegar and other DIY cleaning solutions can help with this. It can also prevent water heaters and washing machines from working as well as they should. If there are an excess of minerals, some people find that there is an odor associated with it.

Soft water also has some advantages over hard water. First, it is better for skin because it does not contain the minerals that might dry it out. Second, it is better for cleaning clothes and dishes because it is better at rinsing. Finally, appliances that use water, such as dishwashers and washing machines, last longer and work more efficiently. Adding a water softener system is quite affordable, there are many models to choose from.

The biggest drawback of soft water is that it does not taste as good as hard water. Some people describe it as flat. Others claim that it has a salty taste to it. This is because a type of salt is used to “soften” hard water. Some of the salt that is used can affect the taste.

At Ace, we’re Sacramento plumbing and water experts. If you have any questions regarding your water and what you can do to adjust it, contact us today.