Water is an essential part of our life. It is a multipurpose commodity without which we can not think of life on this globe. As you might be aware more than 70% of the planet earth is covered with water but only a nominal portion of this huge water reservoir is potable. The water supplied to our homes is potable that can be utilized for drinking, cooking and various other household requirements.
But sometimes you may have noticed that water supplied in your homes leaves stains on the utensils. In some areas, the drinking water may give a slightly, salty taste, whereas mostly water should be tasteless. In fact, the water supplied in homes may be of two types, the Hard Water and the Soft Water. It is, therefore, necessary that we should be aware of the difference between these two types of water. But before that, we need to know what actually makes a water hard or soft.
Here we are giving you some basic information on these two types of water with more emphasis on the difference between Hard and Soft water.
What Makes A Water Hard Or Soft?
When we say this water is hard, in fact, we refer to the level of minerals dissolved in it. Water has the ability to dissolve so many elements in it, including the minerals. Generally, minerals such as Magnesium and Calcium. The more the quantity of these minerals in a sample of water, harder it is. If a sample of water has the lesser quantity of dissolved minerals, it is rated as Soft Water. Again the lesser the quantity of minerals, the softer is the water.
Generally, hard water is the water obtained from the underground water. Depending on the type of soil and geological trait of the area, the water obtained may be more or less harder. The soft water is the water that we obtain from the rainfall. The softest water is the Distilled Water.
- The United States Geological Survey gives us the parameter to classify water in various categories as under.
- If the water contains less than 60 mg of dissolved minerals per liter, it is rated as Soft Water.
- When the proportion of dissolved minerals ranges between 61 to 120 mg per liter, it is termed as Moderately Hard Water.
- Hard water is considered one that contains 121 to 180 mg of dissolved minerals per liter.
- If the level of dissolved minerals in one liter of water exceeds 181 mg, this is very hard water.
Identification Of Hard & Soft Water
The simplest way of identifying hard and soft water at home is mixing soap in the water. The hard water would form less rather than the soft water. When you mix soap in soft water, you will observe the immediate formation of rich lather whereas in case of hard water, this lather formation will be very less or even it may result in just a white precipitate or what you can call soap scum.
Another glaring example of hard water is the formation scales on the utensils and on the taps and pipes which come across hard water. Due to a huge quantity of calcium in hard water, whitish spots on your utensils may appear very soon. A swimming pool filled with hard water would present a milky look due to the presence of calcium and magnesium in it.
Permanent & Temporary Hardness Of Water
Hardness in water may be of permanent nature or it may be a temporary characteristic. The temporary hardness of water can be removed very easily at home; just by boiling the water. Temporary hardness is caused by bicarbonate of Calcium or Magnesium. When you boil such water, the bicarbonate is converted into carbonates which settle at the bottom on cooling, thus leaving the soft water.
Permanent hardness is caused by Chlorides and/or sulfates of Calcium and Magnesium. Such hard water cannot be converted into soft water by boiling at home. However, on the industrial scale, such permanent hardness of water can also be removed.
Both the Hard and the Soft Waters are considered good for drinking from health point of view. However, the feeling of both while drinking is somewhat different. When you drink hard water, you may have a taste of minerals dissolved in it.
Though medically, it is the perfect drinking water, some people don’t like it due to a slight bitterness in it. On the other hand, soft water is considered equally good for health. It is relatively purer than the hard water but at the same time may have a slight taste of salt.
Impacts Of Hard Water
Although the hard water is considered as safe for human health yet it leaves some bad effects on us.
- Water supply pipes, taps, washroom accessories, bathtubs and kitchen utensils are badly affected by water, as it may cause the formation of scales on these items. If left unattended, the formation of scales may also result in blockage of water supply pipes.
- If you consistently wash your hair with hard water, you will shortly feel stickiness and dullness in your hair.
- Hard water may cause eczema.
- Minerals dissolved in hard water may result in dryness of skin and hair.
- Hard water may result in scalp.
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