Whether it’s residential or commercial plumbing, water is one of the core elements of the plumbing industry. Plumbing helps move water to where it needs to go - whether it’s clean drinking water through a tap, or waste water that moves to a sewer or water treatment plant.
However, there is more to learn about the water itself that can prove beneficial to those wanting to know more about plumbing and protecting your system. One such learning point is that there are two main types of water - hard water and soft water. While both have unique benefits, understanding how they affect your pipes can help ensure that your plumbing is working efficiently and headache-free.
In this blog post, we'll go through what exactly hard and soft water are, why they're good or bad for residential and commercial buildings in Perth, as well as which one will be best suited for you. Keep reading to get the low down on hard vs soft water!
What is Hard Water?
Hard water is ground or rainwater that has been contaminated with minerals such as limestone, iron, calcium and magnesium. This means hard water is more alkaline, meaning it’s higher in pH and can cause problems for your plumbing system.
Hard water in Perth can lead to scale build up inside pipes which over time may require a professional plumber to remove. Additionally, hard water can make cleaning difficult because the soap used won’t lather easily due to its mineral content.
There are many effects hard water can have - not just on pipes. These include:
Plumbing Pipe Blockages
Since hard water contains mineral deposits, a mineral buildup can occur within pipes containing such water. After enough time, this can cause a full pipe blockage - which can lead to even more complications for the entire plumbing systems, such as significantly-increased water pressure and pipe bursting.
Drying Out Skin and Hair
With the number of dissolved minerals present in hard water, it can remove the oils present on human skin and hair. With these oils removed, skin and hair can quickly become dry - which in turn leads to chapped, cracked and dry skin as well as dry and limp hair.
The other minerals present in hard water are not just causing potential build up or damage - water hardness can also affect visual staining on certain surfaces. Looking like a form of scale buildup, these spots caused by sediment particles can take more time and effort to properly clean.
Believe it or not, the minerals found in hard water can actually be helpful in contributing to people’s dietary needs. The calcium and magnesium often found in hard water is a subtle way to get a little more of these minerals into your diet.
What is Soft Water?
Soft water is made through a process known as ion exchange where hard particles like calcium and magnesium are exchanged with positively charged sodium ions. A water softener system using salt will often be used to achieve this while still keeping essential minerals in the water. This often gives soft water a slight sodium taste.
Soft water can have many different effects, including:
Improve Soap Effectiveness
With water softeners, softened water can actually make creating soap lather easier. This is due to the minerals found in hard water stopping as much lather from forming. Having a water softening system in your bathroom is a great option for improving cleanliness with more effective soap and body wash.
Extend the Life of Appliances
Many appliances - both in the home and at work - require water to function, and often these appliances take water from the plumbing system built into the building they operate in. Since soft water avoids creating significant build-up in pipes, this allows many appliances that are reliant on said pipes to continue operating for longer before needing repairs or replacement.
While soft water bypasses the main problem hard water has with pipes, soft water has its own problem in the form of corrosion. Soft water is able to dissolve metals such as cadmium and lead - metals that can be toxic if dissolved into the water that is then ingested.
Is Hard or Soft Water Better for Your Plumbing?
Hard water and soft water are both present in various properties around Perth, but which is better for your plumbing?
In general, looking at the above points shows that soft water is often a better choice for using in plumbing systems than hard water. The build-up caused by the minerals in hard water can block your pipes - which can quickly become a serious issue across a building. Soft water - without these minerals - doesn’t need to worry about this.
However, it is also important to consider that soft water isn’t perfect in the slightest. It can cause harmful corrosion on particular pipe metals, which could be very harmful. There are more benefits to soft water, but corrosion can be significant.
Overall, soft water is going to be the best choice for plumbing systems in residential and commercial properties - however, it’s always best to take your specific plumbing into account and get expert advice before proceeding.
Get Your Plumbing Solution Sorted with Tunnel Vision
If you are experiencing issues with your plumbing pipes, Tunnel Vision can help! Our team has years of knowledge and industry experience to get your drains, pipes, and more back to normal in no time.
Tunnel Vision has an experienced team of drain plumbers that can utilise various equipment to assist you with any blocked drains - as well as for inspections. Get in touch with us today at 1800 631 799 to find out more about our blocked drain and pipe relining services - we would be more than happy to answer any of your questions.