Hard water, soft water, water hardness… surely these are terms that you have heard more than once and maybe if we ask you: What is water hardness? don’t know how to give an answer to it.
From a hydrochemical point of view, hardness is nothing more than the amount of dissolved calcium and magnesium salts contained in water. Said in a more technical way; it is defined as the concentration of polyvalent cation mineral compounds in a given quantity of water.
Hard water contains the largest amount of lime, while soft water is concentrated in a smaller proportion. This fact derives mainly from the geological nature of the soil and the geographical area from which the water comes.
The hardest waters can cause problems since the lime of the water affects our home and can cause problems.
Table of Contents
Hard water vs soft water
Hard water creates many problems in household appliances that shorten their lifetime compared to areas where soft water is used (it is a very common problem in dishwashers and washing machines).
Taste of modified water: A hard water, with a lot of presence of calcium and magnesium salts, will taste worse than lighter water. Why does water taste bad in some places? the answer, therefore, we have it in the hardness of the water that is capable of modifying the flavor of the same.
Obstruction and oxidation of pipes: lime remain embedded in the pipes, causing problems with oxidation.
Types of water
Depending on the amount of mineral concentration in the water, these divisions can be established:
Soft waters: Concentration of less than 150 mg / l of calcium carbonate (0 – 15º F)
Semi-soft waters: Concentration of between 150 – 200 mg / l of calcium carbonate, (15 – 20º F)
Hard water: Concentration between 200 and 400 mg / l of calcium carbonate, (20 – 40ºF)
Very hard water: Concentration between 400 and 550 mg / l of calcium carbonate, (40 – 55ºF)
Extremely hard water: Concentration greater than 550 mg / l of calcium carbonate, (more than 55ºF)
If something characterizes hard water, it is that it is usually located in coastal areas and that is because they are supplied with more mineralized water and that contains a greater amount of sediment, unlike mountain sites where the water carries fewer components and it has less mineralization.
1. It contains a high level of minerals like magnesium and calcium.
2. They are usually underground in calcareous soils.
3. They leave more residue in drains and pipes, like lime.
1. Minimal amounts of salts are dissolved.
2. They are waters from wells or that come from surface waters.
3. It is not suitable for human consumption.
In addition to these two different types of water, we can also find medium water. This type of water is one that is located in the intermediate levels between what is considered hard and soft. The quantity of minerals that it possesses is in an intermediate point between both types.
How lime affects water
We may not be aware of everything that can lead to water containing a lot of lime. If we think that it does not affect any aspect of our company, we are wrong. The problem is that the effects it has are not very identifiable but very harmful. Some of them are the following:
1. Obstruction and oxidation of the pipes.
2. White marks and traces in sinks, bathtubs, taps, etc.
3. The taste of water is different.
4. It can damage machines and functional elements of our company.
To help you better understand this, we have prepared this information to explain exactly what is meant by hard water and soft water, what it involves in dishwashing, and what can be done to avoid the negative effects.
How to get rid of hard water?
All water that falls as rain is naturally soft, implying that the only ion (an electrically charged atom) is sodium. As this water makes its way through the soil into the channels that sometimes lead to our taps, it turns into hard water. This is because it is collecting a large number of dissolved minerals such as chalk, lime, magnesium, and calcium. These minerals are preferable in many ways because many of them are essential to our health, making hard water better water to drink – and it may even taste better. To decrease the effect of hardness we use water softeners which helps a lot to make your water useable.
Is hard water bad for you?
When hard water goes through the dishwasher, minerals from the water accumulate in heating elements, especially lime. This makes cleaning dishes in the dishwasher much more difficult, but also makes dishes look worse as minerals dissolve and re-adhere to dishes and glasses, causing unsightly stains with an opaque effect.
There are some salts that can be toxic, negatively affecting the development of the plant. The most common salts that produce toxicity even in small doses are chlorine, sodium, and boron.
Even in the case of sodium, apart from being toxic to the plant, if it exceeds calcium by 3 times, the structure of the soil is altered, losing the characteristics of the soil, producing changes in the pH of the substrate or nutrient blockages. This is usually common with low-quality coconut substrates.