-The taste of drinking water, damaging mineral buildup in pipes and appliances and the possibility of consuming potentially harmful substances are some of the top reasons people choose to purchase a reverse osmosis system or water softener. Which system to choose can be confusing and Sky Sepulveda, the Paso Robles plumber from Quality 1st Plumbing and Drains has some information to help clear up the questions.
- Reverse osmosis purifies water by reducing salt, minerals and any other impurities.
- Water softeners reduce hardness in water that is caused by an excess of certain kinds of minerals by replacing those minerals with sodium or potassium.
Since both processes remove minerals, both can be considered to create soft, or reduced-mineral water. Reverse osmosis has the added benefit of removing undesirable substances that may be unhealthy.
The advantage of reducing or removing minerals and impurities from water include improved taste in some cases, and less mineral build-up in pipes, plumbing, fixtures and appliances and cleaner-looking toilets, sinks, bathtubs and showers. Softer water can extend the life span of pipes, fixtures and appliances.
Making the decision to choose a reverse osmosis system or a water softener depends on whether the choice is for purified water or just soft water. The Paso Robles plumber can help by discussing goals with you and recommending the highest quality products for either a reverse osmosis system or water softener.
Understanding what’s in the water
Some of the mystery can be solved by understanding water, water sources and how minerals get into water.
Water naturally contains dissolved minerals and gases that give it flavor. The most common dissolved minerals are sodium, calcium, magnesium, potassium, chloride, bicarbonate, and sulfate. The percentage of certain dissolved minerals per volume of water is what causes water to be “hard.” The minerals and density of those minerals in water depend on the geology of the water source, which is why some regions have hard water. Water sources can be groundwater from aquifers, lakes, rivers, man-made reservoirs, and even captured rain water. Other terms that describe water are “bitter,” “salty,” and “sweet.” Bitter water tastes bitter from an excessive amount of magnesium. Salty water contains a lot of sodium. Calcium can give water a sweet taste.
Public water systems tend to filter and disinfect drinking water using chlorine or chloramine which gives the water an unpleasant taste. Public water can come from groundwater, lakes and rivers, reservoirs or can even be purchased from other sources and stored. Some public water agencies also recycle water through treatment plants, but this water is not processed for drinking water but used for watering landscaping or other non-potable uses.
Well water that comes from private groundwater sources is pumped from deep aquifers and rarely needs to be purified, but may need softening depending on the mineral content and taste.
Before deciding which process is the best choice for individual needs, it is helpful to know which minerals and other substances are in the water supply:
- Home water testing kits are relatively inexpensive
- Contact the county healthy department or public water agency and ask what is in the water or ask to have the water tested
- Farm bureaus will often test well water and well-drilling companies can also test well water
Is soft water healthy to drink?
Some health professionals advise against drinking too much de-mineralized water but a July 2019 article in Healthline, reviewed by J. Keith Fisher, M.D., reports there are no adverse health implications from drinking either hard or soft water. If mineral deficiency is a concern, discuss the matter with a doctor.
Making the decision
Once the decision is made for a reverse osmosis system or a water softener, contact the Paso Robles plumber for advice about the best quality product, for installation and maintenance.
Sky Sepulveda has been living on the central coast for 30 years, specializes in troubleshooting and problem solving, and never shies away from challenges. He holds many certifications in the plumbing industry and is fully licensed and insured. Sepulveda takes pride in building lasting relationships with clients by delivering excellent service at affordable rates and staying on the cutting edge of plumbing solutions.
Quality 1st Plumbing and Drains
Paso Robles, Ca 93446