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  • Drinking Softened Water
  • mjsmke
    Member

    We installed a water softener last October and it has been excellent for cleaning purposes and helps with dry skin too. I keep reading conflicting advice on whether it is advisable to drink a lot of softened water, especially in very hard water areas where the softening process adds more sodium to the water.

    During a typical week I’d be in work 5 days and drinking hard water there during the day and a little soft water at home. Been working from home since the end of March so only drinking softened water and recently noticed I’ve been getting dehydration symptoms (headaches, fatigue, persistent thirst, bloating etc) despite drinking lots of water. It could be too much salt in food or just that I’m riding more and sweating more but hard to know the exact cause.

    Anyone have or know of problems drinking only softened water?

    I could put a tap in before the softener to provide hard water, but due to the layout of the house and position of mains water pipes the softener is under a desk in a room where there is no space for a sink.

    Premier Icon IHN
    Subscriber

    It could be too much salt in food or just that I’m riding more and sweating more but hard to know the exact cause.

    More probably, in the water you’re drinking. Water softeners are just big tubs of salt, you shouldn’t drink softened water.

    Premier Icon fossy
    Subscriber

    Dunno, lived in a soft water area all my life and it makes better tea. Not died yet.

    Jakester
    Member

    We’re just having one installed now, and we were told that you should leave at least one cold water tap ‘unsoftened’ for drinking purposes – I presume the thinking behind that is for health reasons etc.

    A quick Google suggests anything with a sodium level of less than 200mg/l is fine, based on statutory recommended limits.

    Premier Icon IHN
    Subscriber

    Soft water is different to softened water.

    ‘Soft’ water has little calcium in it
    ‘Hard’ water has a lot of calcium in it (which makes tea taste horrible and furs up appliances)
    ‘Softened’ water was ‘hard’ water, but the calcium has been removed using salt.

    Drinking softened water is generally A Bad Thing, because of the salt. Your ‘drinking’ taps shouldn’t be hooked up to the softener.

    mjsmke
    Member

    The only option here was to install the softener next to the mains pipe in a downstairs bedroom (now an office so a desk instead of a bed). I could tee off the pipe before the softener but it would just be a tap under a desk with no sink. The other half prefers drinking softened water so it would only be me using it.

    neilnevill
    Member

    I’ve always had kitchen cold water tap coming from feed before the softener. Everything else is softened but no you shouldn’t drink much softened water. It’s better then gets ago (better softeners) but it still has a slight odd taste to it as well, which I’m not keen on.

    Premier Icon Atomizer
    Subscriber

    Yes you really should have one tap bypassing the softener. Usually the kitchen cold tap.
    If you live in a very hard water area like I do (Lincolnshire) then the softened water really does have a lot of salt added. Not good for drinking.

    Premier Icon jamesoz
    Subscriber

    As said above you should have one un-treated tap for drinking water.
    When I installed mine I ran an extra pipe so the kitchen tap, outside tap and toilet aren’t on the softener.
    Just incase anyone wants to drink from the bog :).
    I also fitted a filter tap to the kitchen sink at the same time as it came with the kit.

    Premier Icon Watty
    Subscriber

    Inventafact:

    Water softeners are just big tubs of salt, you shouldn’t drink softened water.

    Quote:
    The only way to soften water is an ion-exchange water softener. Which is why you find them in every dishwasher, palace, hospital, large hotel – and many, many homes.

    Each softener has one or more tanks full of ion-exchange resin beads. Whenever water is used, hard water is drawn through the softener and softened.

    Eventually the calcium must be washed off the resin beads using brine (salt solution). This is best done using counter-current regeneration, so as to remove debris and prevent veining. The resin is then rinsed with fresh water.

    Water softeners are fully automatic and low maintenance – just add salt every few weeks. How often and when a water softener washes the resin beads with salt, depends on the type of softener and the amount of water being used.
    And:
    However, there has been no official verdict to state that drinking softened water is a problem and softened water is considered safe to drink. … Softened water doesn’t contain unhealthy amounts of sodium, in an average hard water area a 250ml glass of softened water would contribute to 1% of your daily sodium intake.

    Premier Icon CountZero
    Subscriber

    Dunno, lived in a soft water area all my life and it makes better tea. Not died yet.

    ‘Soft water’, and ‘softened water’ are two different things, aren’t they? Soft water just means it doesn’t have large amounts of calcium carbonate/limestone dissolved in it, softened water is created artificially. However, whether this makes any real difference to the quality of the water when consumed I have no idea.
    I’ve spent my whole life drinking hard water, but it’s really noticeable when going somewhere where the water is soft, although not so much in flavour, more when washing your hands, etc.

    Premier Icon Matt24k
    Subscriber

    The cold water tap in the kitchen should be direct from the mains before the softener.
    You can test your supplies to see which taps are softened with test kit or just look at the pipe runs in the kitchen.

    Premier Icon Murray
    Subscriber

    I’ve got a water softener as the water here is either abstracted from chalk streams or from the chalk aquifer.

    I fitted a water filter tap in the kitchen for drinking – Brita P1000 ion exchange cartridge (replaces calcium ions with hydrogen ions) that I change every 3 months and a separate tap. Best of both worlds – softer water in drinks and cooking but without sodium, cleaning and bathing water softened and detergent use dramatically reduced.

    Premier Icon IHN
    Subscriber

    I fitted a water filter tap in the kitchen for drinking – Brita P1000 ion exchange cartridge (replaces calcium ions with hydrogen ions) that I change every 3 months and a separate tap. Best of both worlds – softer water in drinks and cooking but without sodium

    We’ve got one of these for filling the kettle/coffee machine, works well (also fitted the bigger Brita P3000 cartridge). For drinking though we just use the ‘normal’ water out of the ‘normal’ tap

    Premier Icon Murray
    Subscriber

    Thanks IHN, I didn’t realise the P3000 exists – better value!

    neilnevill
    Member

    Indeed I’ve the same Brita filter for the kitchen ta. Unsoftened water to feed that, it feeds the drinking water tap, unsoftened also to the normal cold water kitchen tap (filing saucepans main use) and softened water to the hot tap and rest of the house.

    Do the p3000 filters fit the same fitting as the p1000? It looks the same. Do they work out cheaper?

    I get about 6 months out a p1000 and change it when I notice the kettle starting to scale up. Last time I got filters I got some on eBay iirc from an be American seller, about half price buying a pack of 3.

    Premier Icon b33k34
    Subscriber

    Lots of people saying that the main kitchen tap should be left off the softener. I did that and regret it as it means the sink still scales up.

    I do have a separate unsoftened feed that goes through a different filter softener onto the chilled supply from the fridge for drinking.

    I’ve read *since* installing it and conclusion is that there is absolutely no problem in drinking softened water unless you have a very specific sensitivity or high risk factors for sodium consumption. The increase in sodium from softened water is irrelevant everyone else.

    tonyf1
    Member

    The level of sodium ions in the softened water is minuscule as the process flushed almost all the salt from the resin beads during regeneration.

    People on a low sodium diet due to heart or blood pressure issues are advised not to drink softened water but for the rest no issue and certainly no salty taste to the water. Our house uses a water softener to all outlets except the cold in the kitchen . No one has dropped dead yet.

    neilnevill
    Member

    Yeah but it still tastes a little odd.

    A scaled kitchen sink would annoy, I guess Thames water isn’t super rock hard so not a problem I notice.

    The level of sodium ions in the softened water is minuscule as the process flushed almost all the salt from the resin beads during regeneration.

    The regeneration is the process of adding sodium back to the ion exchange resin.
    As mentioned above, it may not be harmful to everyone drinking it, but water from an ion exchange softener would certainly contain levels of sodium above the UK drinking water PCV limit of 200mg Na /l.

    It also tastes salty.

    Premier Icon spooky_b329
    Subscriber

    I was watching a boadbuilding video and their water filters etc they had something that added the minerals back into the water for drinking. I don’t think was due to the filters as such, it was because a boats water maker/desalinator removes lots of other stuff, not just the sea salt.

    If I had a water softener I think I’d keep the kitchen cold tap softened, but get a drinking tap (you can get three way taps) for cold drinking water.

    hugo
    Member

    I live where it’s all desalinated water.

    People have water softeners for the shower and washing machine (otherwise it turns clothes to cardboard and hair frizzy) but we put our plain tap water for drinking just through a Brita style fridge jug filter.

    Tastes far better. Don’t drink the softened stuff!

    I always though fridge water filters were a bit of a fad but they genuinely work for drinking water.

    tonyf1
    Member

    It also tastes salty.

    Our softened water doesn’t. Does your softened water taste salty?

    Premier Icon b33k34
    Subscriber

    Yeah but it still tastes a little odd.

    As well as the unfiltered kitchen tap we’ve got a double sink in our ensuite. One tap softened, one not.

    I’ve just tasted both and there is a slight difference but definitely not in any way salty and I’d be hard pressed to say which was which in a blind test. What does make a difference is the water being cold so the stuff out of the fridge is always nicer…

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