Drain Doctor dispels some of the most common myths about hard water. Read about hard water myths and facts before deciding if a water softener is the right choice for your home.

Hard water, as opposed to soft water, is a quality in which water has high levels of minerals such as calcium and magnesium. Generally, the tap water in Britain is considered to be ‘very hard’, with some exceptions in areas that have lower levels of limestone and chalk deposits—such as in Manchester and Birmingham. In London, for example, the water is largely sourced from the River Thames and Lea, which draw from limestone and chalk aquifers. Hard water has produced several myths, causing some consumers to worry about the quality of their water. This article is dedicated to dispelling some of the most common myths about hard water, to help you decide whether a water softener is the right choice for your home.

MYTH #1: Hard water is unhealthy to drink

FACT: Hard water actually provides some health benefits

Several studies, including research conducted by the World Health Organization, have shown that drinking water with high mineral content can improve bone health and reduce the chances of heart disease. For individuals who have a calcium or magnesium deficiency, drinking hard water can be especially beneficial as it reduced the amount of these minerals that the individual needs to consume in their daily diet. In addition, most people prefer the taste of hard water over soft water.

MYTH #2: Hard water will clog your pipes

FACT: Hard water does not clog copper pipes but it can clog galvanized pipes. 

Most homes and buildings utilize copper pipes which are not affected by hard water. Older homes, however, may feature galvanized steel pipes which can be clogged by mineral build-up from hard water, as calcium and magnesium will stick to the steel. This should not be an issue for most homes as modern architecture feature copper pipes. 

MYTH #3: Hard water will damage your clothes and faucets

FACT: Hard water does not damage your clothes, but it does produce scum around faucet taps if not cleaned regularly.

Hard water is often blamed for damage clothing when the true culprit is chlorine. However, hard water can produce undesired scum around the brims of faucets and drains as well as on glass shower doors and other fixtures. This scum is mostly a nuisance and it can be removed through regular cleaning.

MYTH #4: Water softeners are good for the environment

FACT: Water softeners remove essential nutrients from water and can cause high levels of salt in our wastewater system; however, they can also increase household water efficiency in some cases.

Water softeners can have adverse effects on aquatic life and crop growth due to the increased levels of salt that they add to wastewater systems. On the other hand, some argue that water softeners increase household efficiency, as less water is needed to create soap lathers while cleaning clothes or dishes. Temporary hard water can also produce limescale build-up in water heaters or kettles, causing them to require more energy usage.