Softened water is a process of exchange of hard mineral ions with soft ions of sodium. There is a very detailed process through which the softening takes place. When untreated water moves from the brine tank and passes through softener salts, it then flows to the resin tank. Here the calcium ions are grabbed by the resin bed and exchange sodium ions which makes the water soft.
But then it all depends on the hardness of water right. If the ions of hard minerals are at elevated levels which means water is grainy, the more sodium exchange shall take place. Sodium in large quantities can cause health issues and further make the water undrinkable.
Here, we will see the distinction that exists between hard water as well as soft water. The process that is done in order to treat softened water and make it drinkable and whether or not the boiling and distillation process is enough to make softened water drinkable.
Hard Water vs Soft Water
Hard Water and Soft Water both are very different in their texture, essence, and even taste. Hard Water is more grainier and to know exactly how grainy it is you need to measure it on a gallon basis:
|Hard Water essentially means untreated water
||Soft Water is the end product of filtering water and separating sediments, small pebble like structures, separating hard minerals like Calcium and Magnesium.
|Hard Water can exist even after cleaning. Given the treatment is done by an evaporated filter.
||Soft Water cannot exist on it’s own, it can only exist when treated by a water softener
|Hard Water can be dirty.
||Soft Water cannot be dirty.
|Water is termed hard when it’s above 180 ppm, Very Hard if it exceeds 400ppm. Anything beyond that shall be termed undrinkable.
||Soft Water exists when it’s under 17ppm.
|Hard Water is undrinkable because it has excess of many minerals that harden the molecular bonds
||Soft Water is undrinkable because it has been added with excess sodium to make it soft and riddle impurities
|Hard Water can be treated with Water Softener which in turn shall be again treated with a RO filter
||Soft Water needs to be treated with RO Filter to loosen its sodium ions which the level of it is lost in soft water. Sodium in such large quantities is not safe.
|To get hard water you can use sand to filtrate the outer dirt
||Only RO Filter can clean soft water
|Hard Water is not safe to drink
||Soft Water can be used for drinking if the water does not fall in the extreme grainy category.
|Hard Water can be availed in natural settings. It also means getting water supply through a pipeline.
||Only water softener treated water can be called soft water.
Methods to Make Softened Water Drinkable
How Does Distillation Make Softened Water Drinkable?
The process of just heating the water till the boiling point which releases the vapor and then transitioning the water again to its liquid form is called distillation.Water is said to exist in three stages mainly solid, liquid and gas. The changing of a liquid to gas and reversing the change is called distillation.
Limitations of Boiling Water
- Just boiling the water does not ensure the complete elimination of sodium ions.
- It can be done through a process of distillation that focuses on changing the various water forms. In this case, changing a liquid to gas and then again from gas to liquid.
- This entire process will require however a large-scale capacity operation which is not possible in a small home.
Drinking Softened Water Side Effects
Softened Water in itself does not mean it is drinkable. The softened water has a lot of sodium ions in it when the water is treated in the resin bed. Softener does get rid of many hard chemicals like calcium carbonate. But it also adds a lot of excess sodium to make the water soft. Sodium can cause health problems in longer timespan. Let us see a few side effects of drinking softened water.
- Sodium can have detrimental effects on various body parts including the Heart, Kidneys, and eyes.
- Sodium can cause blood pressure risk and that can further elevate the chances of someone having a heart attack.
- Sodium can also affect a person’s sight and cause blindness.
- Potassium in higher quantities in the blood can induce arrhythmias which can lead to organ failure.
- The daily safe intake of sodium is however fixed at 3240 mg. If anyone consumes more sodium than the prescribed number they can create severe health problems. For instance issues like heart failure.
- A daily intake of 8.4 grams is the requirement of the human body. If someone has more than that number their health is at risk.
- Hard water in some areas can be more than 400ppm. If the PPM raises itself above the 400 mark in ppm terms in hard water it will require a lot of sodium ions to neutralize it and that can cause severe health complications. It’s always best to use the softener first and then process the water again in a RO Filter. RO Filters have semi-permeable membranes that gushes the water with force and breaks apart the smallest of microns. This can take care in getting rid of the excess sodium.
Hardness/Softness of Water
||Parts Per Million (PPM)
||Less than 17.0 PPM
||Between 17.0-60 PPM
||Between 60-120 PPM
||Between 120-180 PPM
||More than 180 PPM
FAQs on Consuming Soft Water
Following are the few commonly asked questions with regards to consumption of soft water:
Is Soft Water Safe To Drink for Dogs?
Soft Water is not good for dogs in terms of co-morbidities of your dog. It is not good if your dog is very fat. When sodium levels are elevated your pet can become more fat. Storing fat can be detrimental for your dog’s health in the long run.
Hard water on the other hand is perfectly safe for your dogs. Dogs do not get ill from drinking hard water. Their health improves as they get a lot of good minerals from it like calcium for instance which is good for their bones. Similarly, Magnesium also helps in building a Dog’s muscular frame.
Only in some exceptional cases they might need treated water. But not using a softener does not mean you don’t make the water clean. You still need to give your dog filtered water, just that softened water is not a requirement for a dog.
How to Remove Salt From Softened Water for Plants?
Plants do not require softened water. Instead, plants engage in leeching which helps the salt to remain in the upper layers and not hinder their growth in the long run.It traps the salt to reach the roots. Plants require hard water more as the hard water has essential nutrients like calcium carbonate for them. Plants face hindered growth and drying when given too much soft water.
Can you Drink Softened Water if Boiled?
You cannot drink soft water when boiled. Boiling is merely effective to remove bacterial unicellular organisms from your water. In order to remove sodium ions which is the result of softening, you need to perform distillation.
Soft Water can have bad effects on the human body when the sodium level rises beyond the daily allotted consumption level of a person. Many myths do rounds regarding the safety of drinking water. The excess salt in the long run is not good for the health of a person which is found in softened water. Here, the difference between hard and soft water clears many myths about drinking water.