Many people are familiar with the various pros and cons of hard water and soft water. However, many of those interested in installing a water softener or water conditioner in their home may still be curious about the differences in the two types of water. One subtle difference between hard water and soft water is its taste. In order to understand how the taste of water can change, it’s important to look at what a water softener or water conditioner does to hard water.
How Does a Water Softener Change Your Water?
Pure water is naturally soft. However, when water travels the sometimes great distances to reach home taps, it picks up materials on the way. The materials picked up in water include a variety of minerals, such as calcium and magnesium. While these minerals are also necessary for human health, the traces found in water are inorganic, and cannot be used by the body like the minerals in food can. Still, these small amounts can significantly damage household appliances.
Because of this, many homeowners install water softeners or water conditioners to combat the effects of hard water. The two installations work in slightly different ways. Traditional water softeners use salt for a process called “ion exchange.” During this process, magnesium and calcium ions are essentially exchanged for sodium ions, making the water soft. Salt-free water conditioners don’t remove the hard water minerals, but instead change their form so that they can no longer bind to surfaces.
The Taste of Hard Water vs Soft Water
Knowing how water softeners and water conditioners change water from hard to soft, the next question is often how the homeowner’s water experience is going to change. It is commonly known that soft water feels slicker than hard water, and that soft water dissolves soaps and detergents more quickly, resulting in more suds with less product. However, sometimes the taste of water can change as well.
For some people, the difference in the taste of softened water as compared to hard water is barely noticeable, but still present. The reason for the difference in taste is due to the minerals in the water. The minerals in hard water react to the tongue’s taste buds, giving hard water its taste. These minerals are not present in soft water, and so the reaction doesn’t take place, resulting in the slightly different taste people experience. Many people report finding soft water to taste more “refreshing.”
The Taste of Beverages that Use Water
Because the taste of soft water is slightly different from the taste of hard water, the flavor of any beverages made with that water will be slightly different as well. Such beverages could include homemade lemonade, tea, and fruit flavored drinks. In general, beverages made with soft water tend to have a stronger, clearer flavor, since the taste is not altered by the presence of minerals, such as those found in hard water.
If you would like more information about the beneficial effects of a water softener or a water conditioner, or would like information about installing one in your home, contact Clear Water of San Marcos, located in San Marcos, TX.