Water softeners are effective at combating the ill-effects of hard water—dry skin, dingy laundry, stained sinks, and damage to plumbing and appliances. Water softeners remove calcium and magnesium ions from the water, which cause hard water. These minerals are replaced with salt so that the water is smooth and gentle.
Is Softened Water Safe for Consumption?
Does the addition of salt and the elimination of calcium and magnesium make softened water unhealthy?
For most healthy adults, the amount of sodium added to tap water by softening is too small to be harmful or cause any health concern. It's safe to drink and doesn't change the way the water tastes.
While it may concern people with high blood pressure who must maintain a low-sodium diet, there are several options for these people. It is possible, for instance, to separate the tap water used for drinking and cooking from the system while still enjoying the softened water for cleaning, bathing, and laundry. Someone with sodium imbalances may also consider dietary changes—like reducing salty processed foods and table salt—to counter any health effects of the salt added during the water-softening process.
According to the World Health Organization, drinking water may be a contributor to calcium and magnesium intake. Recognizing these as essential elements needed by the body, some people question if removing them from the water supply can lead to a deficiency or generalized mineral imbalance. Adding these elements back into your diet, however, can be as simple as taking a multivitamin or calcium or magnesium supplements. Bottled mineral water and many healthy foods, including dairy, legumes, nuts, whole grains, and leafy greens, are also choice alternatives.
The bottom line is that water-softening systems are safe. Most people can drink hard or soft water with no side effects. Higher sodium levels may be of concern to some, but drinking bottled water and using soft water only for laundry, dish washing and bathing is a simple fix.
To find out if you need water conditioning salt and a water softener system, you should first determine whether the water in your home is hard or soft. As shown in a study by the United States Geological Survey (USGS), some states are known for having a higher mineral concentration in their water than others. The water in Indiana contains about 200 to 350 milligrams of hard minerals per liter of water, according to Citizen Energy Group. You can also have your water tested by our professionals at Advantage Water Conditioning, or check it yourself with a kit from the hardware store.