To the uninitiated into the intricacies of chemistry, water is simply the same most of the time. Likewise, it would be quite difficult for them to understand why water is considered hard at certain times and soft at certain times. However, a little understanding of chemistry would surely be of great help in understanding the difference between hard and soft water.
On the one hand, hard water contains minerals such as magnesium and calcium and other metal cations. This hard water is often incompatible with the usual soap that you are using; likewise, the continuous use of hard water would definitely lead to some plumbing problems. On the other hand, soft water doesn’t contain these minerals and is compatible with the usual soap you use every day. Hence, it is ideal to have water softener equipment within your home to ensure that the hard water that comes from outside water sources is turned into soft water. A cursory look at the best water softener 2016 would give you an idea on how important water softener is to your household.
The operation of water softener may seem complicated. Yet, its operation is based on simple principles of chemistry. The process involves removing the minerals from the water, and these minerals include magnesium, calcium and other metal cations. The process includes the use of positively-charged ions to attract the negatively-charged particles of hard water, and it is simply a principle called ion-exchange.
There are several ways by which hard water can be turned into soft water. It can be achieved via reverse osmosis or ion-exchange polymers. It can also be achieved by sequestration wherein chelating agents are added into the water or via precipitation methods.
The problems that are usually associated and caused by continuous use of hard water include lime-scale formation wherein lime-scale buildups occur within the pipes due to the accumulation of minerals. This accumulation and buildup of lime-scale may befoul the plumbing of your home and can promote corrosion. Additionally, in industrial settings, the continuous use of hard water can cause costly breakdowns in cooling towers, boilers, and other equipment that are used for handling water.
Another problem caused by the use of hard water is that of the buildups of soap scum. Soft water is compatible with the soap that is commonly used in most households, and with the use of soft water, soap will readily bind and attract fats found on the surface of the skin. Hence, the molecules of soap stick longer onto the skin. However, if you are using hard water, the residue of soap on your skin will fall off your skin along with the water. For this reason, soap scums usually build up on the shower surfaces and on the tub.
There are other advantages concomitant with the use of soft water. First, soft water can help you save money because you would be consuming less soap and you will need less cleaning products. Likewise, your home plumbing will last longer than if you are using hard water. Moreover, your other equipment that handle water such as water heater and other appliances that use water will surely last longer.