Differences between Hard Water and Soft Water
As water flows on bedrocks of limestone, aquifers and soils of the earth, it absorbs mineral salts. These salts comprise of univalent cations, for example, magnesium and calcium ions. Concentration of the cations in water determines its hardness or softness. Water is classified as hard when there is a high concentration of cations in it. Examples of hard and soft water include river water and rain water respectively.
With respect to plumbing, differences between hard and soft water include:
Clogging of Pipes
Hard water consists of Magnesium and Calcium ions that get deposited on the inside of water pipes by a process called calcification. The deposits clog water pipes reducing their width and consequently the water pressure. The water pressure is gradually reduced and eventually gets clogged completely. The functionality of water taps and valves is also affected. The blocked water builds up pressure cracking, hence damaging the pipes.
Hard water is a form of electrolyte, owing to the Calcium and Magnesium ions in solution. When two metallic materials are exposed electrolyte, preferential corrosion occurs on the more reactive metal. Unlike soft water, hard water has this property of electrolyte solutions.
Hard water is not good for a plumbing budget. Hence, it is necessary to avoid clogging of plumbing materials such as pipes by use of a number water softening techniques. These techniques range from ion exchange softeners to reverse oxidation. It is necessary to use more resistant materials like PVC and copper to minimize the effects of hard water on pipes and other plumbing equipment like bathtubs and shower-heads. Replacement of damaged pipes also incurs an additional cost. Soft water does not have an effect on pipes hence all these extra costs are not considered.
Scale and Stains
Bathtubs, sinks and even toilets is stained by a scale that is a result of Calcium and Magnesium ions present in hard water. Soft water does not leave behind these deposits.
It is argued soft water is preferred to hard water with respect to pipes and boiler tanks. From a biological standpoint, hard water is more appealing as it contains mineral salts which is part of the nutrients required by the body to function. Having a preference for hard water to soft water or vice versa depends on what the water will is used for.
If you suspect you have a hard water issue, don't delay. Call Anytime Plumbing, Inc at 702-362-9300 to get your Las Vegas home treated.