Can You Drink Softened Water?
Many of our customers ask, Can You Drink Softened Water? When it comes to purchasing a water softener, there is a common misconception that you can't drink the soft water produced. In fact, it's actually perfectly safe to drink the water from a water softener.
What is Hard Water? Can You Drink Hard Water?
Hard water is water that has an excess of calcium and magnesium. These excess minerals are responsibile for limescale - which causes many negative effects and problems in the home. But nutritionally speaking, when it comes to drinking hard water - there is absolutely no problem. It is safe and healthy to drink hard water.
What is Soft Water? Can You Soft Water?
A water softener removes excess calcium and magnesium from hard water to make it soft. It does this using a brine solution and sodium. Soft water therefore, is water that contains slightly more sodium than hard. Soft water is within nutritional guidelines and is safe to drink. The two main exceptions are: if you are bottle feeding a small infant or are following a medically prescribed low sodium diet.
Is Soft Water Safe to Drink?
Some people believe that softened water is high in sodium. As mentioned above, this is because most non-electric water softeners work using a block salt system and sodium-based resin. In reality, the sodium levels are not in excess and this is a common myth.
Softened water is completely safe to drink and does not contain unhealthy levels of sodium. The average amount of sodium found in a 250ml glass of softened water contributes to 1% of your daily sodium intake (Recommended daily intake by the NHS 2015 is 2,400mg of sodium). In fact, there is more sodium in a slice of bread and in milk, than you’ll find in your water.
The decision to drink softened water should be based completely on whether or not you enjoy the taste of it. Many people prefer the taste of soft water to hard water as a water softener can remove bad tastes and smells caused by hard minerals.
Why is it Not Safe for Babies to Drink Soft Water?
Information provided by the WRAS and the NHS, recommends that the sodium limit should not be exceeded when preparing formula for babies. This is because their kidneys are not fully developed yet and so cannot process the increase in sodium. Their formula and food are made with the exact amount and correct sodium levels and any additional sodium can alter this balance, causing dehydration.
Additionally, it is also recommended that individuals who are on a prescribed low-sodium diet should not drink softened water due to the increased sodium levels.
How can I Install a Water Softener but Keep My Drinking Water Hard?
If you are bottle feeding a small infant, are following a medically prescribed low sodium diet or prefer the taste of hard water - there is a simple solution. When installing a water softener, you can request a plumber or technician isolates your main drinking water feed. This means you can isolate one single tap which you drink from, leaving this supply of water hard, while the rest of the home has soft water.
How Does a Water Softener Work?
A water softener removes excess calcium and magnesium from the mains supply. It does this through the process of reverse osmosis and ion exchange. As the hard minerals flow through the resin inside the softener system, they are attracted to the resin and swapped out for harmless and soft sodium ions. This ion exchange process is why many people believe their soft water may contain too much sodium to drink. The level of salt present in the soft water can vary and depends on where you are located in the UK and how hard your water is initially. Areas with harder water, generally have more sodium present in the soft water produced - because it needs more salt to remove higher amounts of hard minerals.
Why is it important to test water hardness before installing a water softener?
It is important to test the hardness of your water before installing a water softener. This is vital because if your water is extremely high on the hardness scale, the sodium levels in your softened wate could exceed 200mg/l sodium. Therefore, it is essential and by law, for plumbers or technicians installing your system, to provide you with a hard water supply. This means the softened water supply, used throughout your home, is separate to your drinking water.
If you don’t like the taste of your regular hard water and water from the hard supply, you can also remove any excess sodium with a separate drinking water system, which can offer premium filtered water on tap.
Soft water is safe to drink, but not everybody wants to or will enjoy drinking softened water. For that reason, you can always opt for an untreated feed to your kitchen or utility sink, so you can still enjoy the taste of hard water. Or if you have bad tasting water to start with, you can also purchase a drinking water system with your softener and get filtered water on demand.
We have a range of drinking water systems that use both carbon and reverse osmosis to purify water, if you would like to look a look, click here.
Here at North East & Yorkshire Water Softeners we are water treatment specialists who offer a range of services across the UK. If you are ever concerned about something, we urge you to get into contact with us as we are trained professionals and can provide you with information to help you. Click here to enquire online and we can call you back.