Hard water is a problem in many areas, causing damage to the kitchen appliances of several consumers. It is understandable then that many homeowners use water softeners to prevent scale build-up and enjoy the benefits of softened water. However, consumers are not always sure about whether soft water is safe to drink.
Considering that in the process of softening water, calcium ions are replaced with sodium ions, those who, for medical reasons, are concerned about the level of sodium in their water are advised not to drink artificially softened water. The water softening process forms sodium bicarbonate, which should not be confused with sodium chloride (salt). As a result, softened water is not salty as many would think.
The amount of sodium that is needed to soften water depends on the level of hardness of your water supply. If the level of hardness of your water supply is above 10 grains per gallon, then 20 mg to 30 mg of sodium is added to every 240 millilitre of water. The consumption of other foods may add a lot more sodium to your diet than drinking softened water. For example, a glass of 240 ml of low-fat milk can contain about 120 mg of sodium. Thus, consuming softened water does not add alarming levels of sodium to your diet. However, people on a strict low-sodium diet should consult their physician to see whether they can consume softened water.
It is important to bear in mind that water softeners are designed mainly to protect your kitchen appliances and to provide water for washing. Likewise, water softeners will only treat hard water and prevent lime-scale forming, having no effect on other contaminants that may be present in your tap water. In order to achieve the best results in terms of filtered water quality, you have two options: you can use your water softening system in parallel with an under-sink carbon filter and have two separate taps (one for filtered drinking water and one for softened water), or install a water filter system like the Ecosoft 6-Stage Non-Pumped Reverse Osmosis System with Alkaline Filter to deal with all your drinking water problems. In this way, you can filter out contaminants such as fluoride, chlorine, lead and other heavy metals, bacteria, toxins, industrial chemicals, and tackle your water hardness issue as well.
Water filtration systems that combine the benefits of water softeners with that of filter mediums devised to remove organic contaminants produce the best results in terms of water safety, taste and odour.