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To the casual observer, it may seem like all water is basically the same. Some is dirty and some is clean, sure, but the clear stuff that’s the basis for so much of our lives is basically all the same at its core, right?

As your go-to residential plumbers in Utah, we at Whipple are here to tell you that this is very wrong. Types and classifications of water are very important in our industry, whether it’s water heater maintenance or treating and cleaning water damage anywhere in the home. In particular, there’s one distinction you should be aware of: Hard water versus soft water. This can be a very important separation for some of the water in your home. Let’s find out the basics, and how you can tell the difference.

Hard Water

The term “hard water” refers to water that has been untouched by any chemical process, and may commonly contain minerals like calcium and lime in higher quantities. It’s important to note that while this can mean the water is contaminated or not safe for drinking, this is not always the case. A few benefits of hard water:

  • Contains natural minerals not found in soft water, which can have health benefits
  • Minerals also add to taste for many people
  • No chemical process

By the same token, though, there are a few drawbacks to hard water:

  • Scale buildup can damage the efficiency of household appliances
  • Can contain harmful particles as well as beneficial nutrients
  • Can produce a negative stench
  • Can leave marks or scratches on dishes and other items due to hard minerals

Soft Water

Soft water refers to any water which has undergone a chemical process to make it clearer and less rich in minerals. This is most commonly done using a water softener, like the high-quality softener services available at Whipple. Some benefits of soft water:

  • Smoother and with fewer hard elements
  • Less smell or burdens to drinking
  • No scaling buildup in taps and other appliances

Soft water is a point of debate, with some believing it can add too much to human sodium levels if drunk exclusively instead of hard water. However, this has not been conclusively proven, and many people prefer to drink soft water for its texture and chemically purified qualities. There are water softeners available with a water bypass valve system to allow hard water be consumed while soft water is used for many cleaning purposes.

Telling the Difference

The simplest way to tell the difference between soft and hard water is the lather on soap. If the water is hard, soap will create a white film instead of a foamy leather. It will also be much more difficult to rinse off your skin and hair, due to minerals and other items sticking on your skin. Hard water also leaves a white mineral scale on surfaces like tubs, which can make it easy to spot it.

Want to learn more about this, or about our water softener services? Speak to our experts at Whipple Plumbing today.

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