Are water softeners safe?

Last updated on: April 1, 2024.

According to WHO, drinking water may contribute calcium and magnesium to our body’s intake. As these are considered essential to the body, we need to know what exactly happens when hard water is softened.

Learn what experts say about water softeners, their advantages and side effects in this article.

The truth about water softeners

are water softeners safe

Water softeners help remove magnesium, calcium, and other minerals from the water. One of the processes of water softening is through ion exchange.

During this exchange process, sodium ions are exchanged with mineral ions, resulting in the removal of almost all traces of minerals in the water. 

Advantages of water softening:

While it is a personal choice to have a water softener installed in your home, it is still good to know the advantages and disadvantages. 

1. Efficient appliances: 

Appliances that use water range from the coffee maker to the washing machine. Softened water prevents scaling, clogged pipes, and inefficient working of the appliances. Limescale and sediment buildup can cause blockages and corrosion, leading to costly repairs or replacement of parts. Hard water can reduce the lifespan of household systems and appliances. 

2. Easy cleaning: 

Soft water makes it easier to clean as they don’t leave behind white spots on kitchenware and glassware or soap scum on shower doors. It also doesn’t leave our clothes looking dull after a few washes.

3. Healthier hair and skin:  

Over time, hard water can make your skin and hair dry. On the other hand, softened water removes all mineral deposits that stick to our bodies after washing. Softened water also makes lathering easier and washing off the soap quicker.  

Disadvantages of water softening:

1. Water doesn’t get purified:

Softening the water does not remove organic chemicals, pathogens, or gas. 

2. Increases Sodium:

People on low sodium diets may find it worrisome to know that ion exchange increases the sodium levels in the water. 

What is a safe level of sodium in drinking water?

According to studies, most water softeners add only around 50 milligrams of sodium per litre of water, which is a low sodium level. Suppose the water in your home is very hard; you would still only be taking in around 240 milligrams of sodium per day, i.e., if you consume two litres of water each day. 

According to EPA, sodium concentrations in drinking water should not exceed 30 to 60 mg/L. However, it is recommended that people with low sodium diets should not intake more than 20 milligrams per litre per day, and those with a more restricted sodium diet can intake less than 270 milligrams per litre per day. 

Does a water softener help with dry skin?

Water softeners help by removing minerals and other harmful substances from the skin and hair. The soap lathers well in softened water without having to increase the amount of soap. It also washes away completely in soft water, leaving no sign of stickiness.

It doesn’t remove natural oils from the skin. Loss of moisture can cause dryness and itchiness, leaving skin flaky. Water softeners enable smoother and softer skin.

Where does a water softener need to be installed?

Ideally, water softeners must be near the source of water or a drain. Usually, they are installed near a water heater to keep the unit in a centralized location. But, space constraints in homes may be a factor to consider where water softeners can be installed. 

Which is the most efficient water softener?

After review various water softeners, we find that the Aquasure Harmony Series 48,000 Grains Water Softener with High-Efficiency Digital is the most efficient for the following reasons:

➩ It decreases hardness in the water and eliminates scale and spot buildup in homes.
➩ It is capable of treating 48,000 grains of hardness by removing hard minerals such as iron and magnesium. ➩ These minerals clog the pores of our skin and cause irritation and flare-ups of acne. 
➩ Aquasure Harmony Series 48,000 Grains Water Softener comes with Aquatrol Advanced Digital On-Demand Meter Control Head, in and out bypass, 1″ NPT Male Adapter.
➩ Other features include time delay, metered and manual double backwash for optimum regeneration, cleaning, and performance.
➩ It is constructed of a high-strength corrosion-resistant fiberglass-lined polyethylene tank, durable bypass valve, and prefilled premium-grade resin. 
➩ It also has a 5-year manufacturer’s warranty.

Our Review:

What we liked the most:

⮞ The metered regeneration feature reduces water and salt usage.
⮞ The backlit digital interface makes it easy to read
⮞ The bypass valve enables easy maintenance without having to turn off the water
⮞ It has a high-capacity salt tank and reduces the frequency of refills. 
⮞ The unit comes with straightforward instructions for DIY installation

Scope of Improvement:

⮞ The Aquasure Harmony Series 48,000 Grains Water Softener has a large salt tank that can get too heavy to move.

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. Are water softeners safe for pets?

Water softeners are considered safe for pets. The only issue lies with the softened water being a tad too salty to be liked by pets. You may need to consult the veterinarian as to which type of water is best given to your pets.

2. Are water softeners safe for septic systems?

Efficient water softening systems do not pose any problems to septic systems. The addition of sodium to septic systems because of soft water may actually benefit. Also, the volume of waste from a water softener added to the septic tank is low enough not to cause any hydraulic load problems.

3. Can you water plants with softened water?

It is not recommended that you use soft water to water your plants. That is because soft water has a higher amount of sodium that can be harmful to plants. You may need to combine it with rainwater to dilute the sodium levels and prevent salt buildup in the soil. 

4. Does a water softener remove calcium?

Yes. Water softeners remove calcium, among other minerals. Water softeners’ ion exchange process removes calcium, magnesium, and iron from the water. The resin beads in the unit capture these minerals and replace them with sodium or potassium.

5. How to add calcium and magnesium to drinking water?

You can add calcium and magnesium back into the drinking water by raising the pH levels and using a pH-balancing, calcite, or remineralizing filter. You can also add drops of trace minerals, mineral-rich sea salt or infuse the water with ionic minerals.  

6. Are water softeners safe for aquarium?

What is helpful in body care and appliances may not be favourable to fish. Filter bacteria work well in alkaline and hard water conditions. If the water is soft and acidic, the filter may not work, increasing the need for alternative filtration methods. Moreover, softened water brings more pH instability that most fish can’t tolerate. It will require frequent pH level testing and the use of chemical filters. 

7. What are the essential minerals in drinking water?

Microminerals and trace minerals are both critical for our body, in larger and smaller quantities, respectively. The essential minerals in drinking water include calcium, magnesium, sodium, phosphorus, chloride, potassium, and sulfur. You only need small amounts of trace minerals. They contain iron, manganese, copper, iodine, zinc, cobalt, fluoride, and selenium.

Conclusion [Are Water Softeners Safe?]

Water softeners are considered perfectly safe. In fact, they help by removing the hardness caused by iron and minerals such as calcium and magnesium. While they may add sodium to the water in the process of softening, they remain safe for consumption.

About The Author

Our Web Producer

Judith— a passionate water treatment specialist — is a waste water management enthusiast, clean drinking water advocate, and someone with deep personal experience and knowledge about various water equipments. Her work was mentioned in countless notable water associations. Previously she was an editor at Water Alliance.