Hard water or soft water: which is better?

Over the years, there have been many discussions regarding hard water and soft water. To be perfectly honest, I really did not think that having either hard water or soft water would be any kind of an issue at all. After all, the chemicals in hard water are not harmful to our health, so what is the big deal?

What is the difference between hard water and soft water?

When I recently read some articles about how many homes are sold in this country that have not had their water tested for hardness OR bacteria, I was amazed and to be honest, I was alarmed! After all, as much as we would like to think that our drinking water is safe to drink, who knows for certain what invisible surprises lurk at the microscopic level?

A few years ago, I met a very pleasant woman named Ruth that told me that she has a summer camp in Belgrade Maine, on Great Pond, and that they used to get their drinking water straight from the pond! Until she got sick from a very unpleasant little parasite called giardia. Now they buy bottled water to drink and cook, but they still draw water from the pond to bathe and clean!

One of the things that disturbed me about that story was remembering that it wasn’t very long before that when I was considering purchasing a house that got its drinking water from a nearby stream! Without any type of purifying filtration system! Once I learned about that water source, I put that house on the “rejection list” pretty quickly!

Anyway, my recent post about finding good quality child care centers, along with my recent exposure to articles about water quality, started to get me thinking about how perhaps I should have suggested the following: when a family is looking for a child care center, they should take a look at what kind of water filtration/treatment system that they have, such as a commercial water softener.

Having your own tap water tested for bacteria, hardness, or parasites, is not as difficult as one might imagine. Many states have extension services that have websites that can answer questions about what types of issues might be expected in different parts of the country, and make suggestions about what to be tested for.

One example of this would be the state of Maine, which apparently has too much arsenic, (yes, ARESENIC!!)  and too much flouride, naturally occurring in their well water. Both of these minerals can be extremely hazardous to your health, and can be extremely expensive to remove. And as for whether the water is hard, or soft, well, hard water shortens the life of your clothes, your pipes, and your appliances. Investing in a water softener makes good economic sense.

Having your tap water tested every couple of years, whether on a public, or private, water system, is just a smart idea. If you live in a rural area and have well water, perhaps remembering to have your well water tested every time you have the septic tank pumped would be a good way to make sure that everything is running smoothly, and would be a good way to help keep your household healthy.

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