As you may already be aware, there are two different types of water that can enter the home: “hard water” and “soft water.” As such, there are significant differences between “soft water” and “hard water,” and at least one type will be running through the faucets in your home. Whilst there are some benefits to both, it is preferable to have soft water in your pipes, as hard water provides more problems than solutions. Hard water has moved through areas of high mineral content, picking up some of these minerals (like magnesium and sodium) as it flows over these surfaces, before making it’s way to the home. Soft water, simply put, is already filtered and cleaned by municipal water companies with water softeners like chlorine.
The health impacts of hard water are actually very minimal, with the World Health Organization (WHO) stating that there are no known adverse effects of drinking it. In fact, some sources go so far as to state that there are a few health benefits instead, as drinking hard water can also mean that you intake a few necessary vitamins and minerals, such as calcium and magnesium. That said, the issue with hard water tends to be with the problems that it causes on harder surfaces such as pipes, furniture (as in bathtubs and sinks), and appliances (like washing machines and dishwashers.) In addition, hard water does not react well with cleaning products like soap and washing up liquid, rendering it very difficult to clean as you try to maintain your utensils and crockery.
Boiling water is probably the easiest and cheapest way to turn the hard water from the faucet into soft water for cleaning. However, it is probably the least effective in the long term. The effects of boiling water mean that the minerals, such as calcium, are evaporated off and therefore removes the content which gives hard water its definition. The calcium that has already been dissolved into the liquid is bonded to the water on a molecular level and so it cannot be removed, hence the effect of boiling hard water into soft is only a temporary one.
Boiling hard water will render it safe for consumption, but not necessarily good for cleaning. As the water cools, it will harden again and the cleaning products that you use will be less effective once more. On a related note, boiling water is still good for cleaning, particularly for baby bottles and products. There are even appliances that can be used that will help you sanitize a baby’s bottle with your tap water. It might be worth budgeting for something that will do this for you, instead of manually boiling and cleaning yourself. After all, how much time you’ll have to do this manually every day is one of the many things to consider before starting a family.
2. White Vinegar
Another cheap and effective water softener can be found in distilled white vinegar. Unlike boiling the hard water to soften it, the effects of adding a small amount of vinegar to the body it should take a permanent effect. However, also unlike boiling, this is not to render the water more drinkable, since the taste of vinegar even in small quantities is overpowering. Instead, adding white vinegar is for cleaning purposes only.
3. Water Softening System
The most effective solution to ensuring that you soften hard water is by tackling it before it comes from the taps. As hard water contains mineral ions that clog your pipes and appliances, treating it after it has flowed from the faucet is avoiding the larger issue. Without water treatment, there is a higher likelihood of scale buildup in the pipes of the home which, as well as being unpleasant to drink, decreases the lifespan of your appliances by a significant amount.
Whilst there are water treatment solutions that can be placed on the faucet via magnetic attachment, the best way to take care of the problem is to install a water conditioning system at the source of the flow in the home. It may not be the cheapest option in the short term, but as the soft water is cleaner and there’ll be less mineral buildup, this solution should be much cheaper in the long run as it eliminates the need to replace any appliances or their parts.