We rely on a supply of clean and safe water for drinking, cooking, bathing, and cleaning. One of the most common problems is a supply of hard water, which contains an elevated concentration of dissolved mineral content including calcium, magnesium, and iron. For this reason, many people choose to install an ion exchange water softener to remove the hardness and make the water easier to use. In this article, we will take a closer look at the various pros and cons of soft and hard water.

Hard Water


Ingesting hard water does provide a slight dietary benefit because there is some dissolved calcium and magnesium in the water. These are both essential nutrients that we need to stay fit and healthy. But, these are only available in a format that is hard to absorb by the human body and there are better sources in our food. So, removing these hard minerals from the water is not a detriment if you’re eating healthily.


The most annoying characteristic of hard water is that it forms scale. This is calcium and magnesium solutes that have a reactive property when they are exposed to heat or oxygen. Scale is a hard chalky substance that corrodes plumbing pipes, fixtures, and water using appliances. This is especially bad for heating elements because the layer of scale increases heating times leading to higher energy bills and component failure.

Hard water minerals inhibit the formation of soap suds which degrades the cleaning experience. The minerals are left behind on skin and hair after the water evaporates clogging skin pores and damaging hair follicles. The hard water solutes create soap scum which is a growing medium for bacteria and it’s hard to clean.

Soft Water


Homes that have an ion-exchange water softener consume less energy due to a lack of scaling problems on heating elements. The lifespan of appliances is also increased and the frequency of repairs is reduced which is good news for your bank balance.

Soft water feels slippery on the skin because it doesn’t have any dissolved hard water minerals that inhibit the cleaning performance of soap. The natural oils on the skin are not degraded and this can feel strange for people new to softened water. After a short period of adjustment, people tend to love the feeling of genuinely “squeaky clean” skin.

Most water softening systems have a carbon filtration stage which can remove a wide variety of contaminants, including chlorine. This will improve the taste and odor of drinking water and remove the risk of harmful chlorine byproducts.


During the ion exchange process, a small volume of salt is added to the water. People that are sensitive to salt or are on a low-salt diet may want to consult their physician about consuming softened water. One way to solve this issue is to use a potassium-based water softening salt which is more benign than a sodium-based product.

If you’re thinking about a water softener installation for your home, contact your local water treatment specialist.

By EcoWater Systems.
EcoWater Systems of Nebraska is the largest water treatment company in the state and is a member of Water Quality Association.