Common Water Softener Myths Debunked

Water Softener Myths Debunked

Water softeners are used to treat hard water. However, people are often hesitant to install one in their homes and businesses because they have heard myths about them.

Much of what people hear is either a partial truth or entirely false. This article will go through the 10 top myths about water softeners and give you the facts.

What Is Hard Water?

Hard water is freshwater that has certain minerals, such as calcium and magnesium in it. These deposits cause the hard water to leave a film or stains behind when it is used.

In fact, the minerals also leave deposits on piping and the coils in hot water heaters, which reduces their efficiency and leads them to wear out faster.

What Does a Water Softener Do?

Water softeners remove the agents that make the water hard. They use ion exchangers to remove positively charged ions, such as calcium and magnesium, as well as iron.

The water softener collects the hardening minerals in its tank and flushes them out through the drain, so the water that enters the house is soft and mostly free of the hardening minerals.



Myths About Water Softeners

#1 Water Softeners Add Salt to the Water

This is one of the most common myths about water softeners. It comes from the fact that water softeners use sodium to remove the calcium and magnesium from the water.

Salt is sodium and chloride, but the salt added to water softeners is just sodium. The only way to remove the calcium and magnesium is through an ion exchange process.

Calcium and magnesium interfere with soap and other products. Water softeners use a resin that has a negative charge, and it attracts the positively charged sodium.

Then, the magnesium and calcium get kicked off of the resin and filtered out of the water. The sodium molecules are released and travel into your home with the water in place of the calcium and magnesium.

The amount of sodium that is left in the water is minimal, and there are benefits to your skin, home, clothes, and appliances that make it worthwhile.

#2 Water That Is Softened Is Healthier to Drink

People often think that softening water is equivalent to filtering water, but it is not. Softened water is filtered through an ion exchange where calcium and magnesium are exchanged for the sodium, but this is not the same as running water through a purifier.

However, there is no harm in drinking it. Often people prefer the taste of softened water, but it is not more or less healthy than drinking hard water.

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#3 The Sodium in Softened Water Is Unhealthy

The amount of sodium in softened water will vary from home to home because it is based on how hard the water is. However, the amount of sodium is not unhealthy.

For example, one egg contains 59 mg of salt, and one gallon of softened water contains only 30 mg of salt. The amount of salt is too small to have an adverse effect on your health.

#4 Water Softeners Will Remove Viruses and Bad Bacteria

This is another myth. Water softeners only remove calcium and magnesium and traces of other minerals. If you need to remove viruses and bad bacteria, you can add a UV filter to your system. You can have your water tested to make sure it is safe to drink, but a water softener will not remove viruses and bad bacteria from water.

#5 Water Softeners Are Very Expensive

There is an initial cost when you buy a water softener and have it installed, but they are affordable. In addition, this investment will save you considerable money in the long run.

If you have calcium and magnesium running through your pipes, it damages your appliances, including your dishwasher, washing machine, refrigerator, and more. It also causes build up in your pipes and in the coils of your hot water heater.

When you have a water softener, your appliances, pipes, and other items that are impacted by water will all last longer and require less frequent servicing. In the end, you will save money, and the water softener will more than pay for itself in a short time.

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#6 Water Softeners Will Cause Your Electric Bill to Be Higher

This is another myth. The water softener is on standby most of the time, and it doesn’t use any electricity when it is. Normally, the water softener needs to regenerate every five to ten days, so the impact on your electric bill is minimal.

#7 Water Softeners Remove Minerals That Your Body Needs

Water softeners use an ion exchange to remove calcium and magnesium from the water that enters your home. Some people think that these are minerals that should be in drinking water.

The reality is that calcium and magnesium in water are dissolved solids in their organic forms. This is not the form that human bodies use for nutrition.

There is no benefit to drinking water with these minerals in it because the body is unable to digest them the way that it can digest these minerals when they are in food.

#8 People Who Have City Water Do Not Need a Water Softener

Most cities do treat their water before it is sent out to residents, but there still might be contaminants in it. In fact, many people who have city water have hard water. It doesn’t matter what kind of water you have; if it is hard, it has calcium and magnesium in it.

Calcium and magnesium will damage expensive appliances such as hot water heaters, washing machines, dishwashers, and more, and this can result in expensive repairs or replacements.

Even if you have city water, you can have a water test done to find out if you would benefit from a water softener.



#9 Water Softeners Do Not Wash Soap Off Your Body

Some people say that when they use a water softener, their skin feels like it still has soap on it after they shower. In fact, this is not the case. Hard water has a difficult time rinsing soap off your skin, so it remains on there. This leads to dry skin.

When you install a water softener, your skin will feel much softer and more slippery because your body’s natural oils will come to the surface. Being able to rinse the soap off your skin is actually much better for your skin.

#10 Water Softeners Waste Water

When water softeners first appeared, they would spend a lot of time regenerating. This did waste some water. However, today, systems that soften water are much more efficient.

They make very little impact on a monthly electric bill. In addition, because softened water flows more freely and removes soap from people’s bodies when they bathe, their laundry when it washes, and the dishes in the dishwasher, you will make more efficient use of your water.

The Verdict

There are many falsehoods that people believe to be true, but the reality is that water softeners are important for taking the hardness out of water. Hard water can be a nightmare to live with, and the benefits of having a water softener far outweigh any potential drawbacks.

Jon Agarwal

Jon Agarwal works as an environmental consultant focused on water resources, and he volunteers his time for non-profit organizations. He lives in the heart of Melbourne with his beautiful wife, two sons, and three Persian cats. He particularly enjoys working part-time as it leaves him the time to work on his own writing and share his knowledge. Visit our About page to learn about the contributors of Healthy Buddys.

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