Hard water refers to water that is extremely high in mineral content. These minerals mainly consists of calcium and magnesium, though other minerals such as bicarbonate and sulfates are also common. If you believe that your water may have hardness in it, the most effective way to make sure weather or not your water is hard, is to do the lather/frost test. Substance like soaps and toothpastes lathers easily on soft water, but not in hard water, so if you try to lather some soap or tooth paste under the water you would be able to tell weather or not it’s hard.
The World Health Organization has concluded that “there does not appear to be any convincing evidence that water hardness causes adverse health effects in humans.” Though there have been a few studies that show a weak connection between water hardness and cardiovascular disease, but according to the World Health Organization none of those evidences are conclusive enough to deem water hardness a serious threat. How ever, since soaps does not lather on it, it can not be used for any washing or cleaning purposes and a lot of people would probably like to play it safe and not take any risks with their health. Another very common reason is that hard water can damage your plumbing quite quickly unlike normal water. For these reasons a lot of people would probably like to eliminate the hardness from their water.
The most effective way to eliminate the hardness from the water is to use one of the many available water softener systems. A water softener works on the principle of cation or ion exchange, where the calcium and magnesium ions from the hard water are exchanged for sodium and potassium ions, thus effectively reducing the hardness minerals to a tolerable level. This system uses water softener resin beads made out of ion exchange resins that are recharged with sodium chloride (softener salt). The water passes through and around the beads with the hardness minerals being absorbed and displacing the sodium ions. When the beads no longer have any sodium left, it can no longer soften water and needs to be recharged. This is done by flushing, often back-flushing the system with salt water. Potassium Chloride can also be used for the recharging; it will replace the hardness ions with potassium, resulting in a salt free water softener system. You can find many water softener brands so it’s important to consult some water softener reviews and consider whether you anticipate to use salt or potassium. You can also find other hard water solutions that use other methods such as a magnetic water softener which uses magnets to separate the hard water minerals to create soft water. They are also sometimes named electronic water softener.
Though the World Health Organization deems hard water to be safe, it may still be desirable for people to reduce the hardness from their water especially if you want to preserve your plumbing, and the above method is the best way to do that.