June 12, 2018
Through this article we desire to talk about the fees of laundry and if laundry detergents definitely do the job. Washing laundry is a full-size use of water in the average home; accounting for 15% to 40% of the normal water consumption inside the normal household.
Ozone in laundry use is a direction breaking detergent-less, non-chemical product that makes laundry tons less time consuming, way greater low cost and eco-friendly than ordinary detergents. But, Why is it so a great deal better? There are a lot of elements that play into how a whole lot cash can be saved, the following are simply a few key factors: how many hundreds of laundry you do per week, how many kilos of laundry per wash, how many cycles your computer runs, what temperature the water is, etc. It is vital to study every one of these to understand how ozone in laundry use can assist a family.
The Environmental Protection Agency says the average household of four washes almost 480 masses of laundry a yr which is extra than a load a day. Two exceptional sources state the average gallon usage of water per load. According to Minol Water Services, washing a load of clothes makes use of about 30 gallons of water. The USGS states on the other hand that a washing machine that is newer (typically front loaders) can also use 25 gallons however an older model of washing machine can also use up to 40 gallons per load. So that equals over 12,000 gallons of water a year we use to simply wash our clothes.
The quantity of water per wash is calculated via how many pounds per cubic foot your clothing load is, which displaces the water. Most washing machines will notice in their owner’s guide a water factor. As proven in example 1, a chart from the Consortium for Energy Efficiency, the water issue for washing machines is claimed to be the variety of gallons wanted for every cubic foot of laundry where they calculate a lower water consumption as being greater efficient in water consumption.
The different to take into consideration is the modified energy factor (MEF) that washing machine producers provide you. This is what is regarded as Energy Star or Federal Standard being the two most common. The MEF shows how many cubic ft of laundry can be washed and dried with only one kWh of electricity. Typically, on MEF the higher the number the extra efficient the machine. So, what is your washing machine actually capable of?
After all this is considered, we worry about the actual heating value per gallon of water that goes into doing our laundry as this is one of heaviest influences as savings goes.
One component to recognize is that hot water is unable to getting hot adequate in a washing machine to kill germs, bacteria, or viruses. The other question is, are your garments disinfected after a wash cycle? Dr. Chuck Gerba at the University of Arizona research showing that after swabbing a hundred washing machines, there had been greater than 60 percent of the machines tested positive for coliform bacteria, an indicator of fecal contamination.
Another 20 percent of the machines contained staph. Dr. Gerba also verified the laundry micro organism is in particular from underwear, but additionally covered bacteria often found in dishcloths and sponges. Dr. Gerba regarded also at what happens to bacteria during washing and drying. He used three exceptional illness-causing micro organism for his tests: E. coli, Salmonella, and every other frequent bacterium that causes skin infections (Mycobacterium fortuitium).
Simulating standard home-laundry practices the use of warm water washes, the researchers discovered that after washing, bacterial contamination was discovered throughout the clothing and on the machine, itself. The bacteria left behind even showed up in subsequent wash loads.
Considerably all the more amazing, the warmth from the dryer did not execute every one of the microscopic organisms. The E. coli was wiped out, however the other two microscopic organisms, albeit decreased, were as yet present.
Similarly concerning, your hands and the highest point of the washer and dryer meet those germs as wet garments are exchanged from washer to dryer.
The other common question that is asked is your laundry detergent really working? A report by CBS news actually found the “dirty secret” of the laundry business, “We’re all guilty of over-dosing. If you’ve ever filled a washing machine with clothes you felt could use an extra boost of cleaning power, you may have added more than the recommended amount of detergent.” Because washing machines are becoming more energy- and water-efficient, too much laundry detergent will leave a film on your clothes.
The definition of a “detergent” is a chemical substance you use to break up and remove grease and grime. Water alone can’t clean clothes because it won’t attach to molecules of grease and dirt. Detergent is different. The surfactants it contains are made of molecules that have two different ends. One end is strongly attracted to water; the other is attracted to oily substances like grease. Since detergent is designed to attract dirt, wearing overdosed clothing can make them dirtier, faster, when you wear them, causing you to wash your clothes more often and ultimately costing you more money.
There is a mathematical equation to figure out what your washing machine is costing you on average. This is how you can calculate how much your laundry really costs you. Now this equation varies per washing machine and area you live in for cost but this gives a good average.
We found on average a washing machine uses 18 gallons of water per wash cycle and that on average there are only 2 cycles per load equaling out to 36 gallons of water per load of laundry that are done.
We know that an average your water inlet temperature is 77®F. The hottest water aloud in most homes is typically 120®F to prevent scalding accidents. So, if we did a rise between the two different temperatures it would be approximately 43® F (120®F-77®F=43®F) That we are increasing per load.
We also know that it takes approximately 8.34 BTU’s to heat 1®F per Gallon of water.
The Formula is as Follows: (1®F x 8.34 BTU’s x (120®F-77®F) = Amount of BTU’s per gallon of laundry.
This equates to 358.62 BTU’s per gallon to simply heat the water going into an average washing machine. We are attempting to heat 36 gallons of water per load of laundry. Multiply the two and you get a total of 12,910.32 BTU’s used per average load of laundry. The conversion back to Kilowatt Hours equates to 3.784 KWH per load of laundry. This varies of course with the type of washing machine you have as stated earlier.
An average KWH cost, which varies by location, we used the state of Maryland, is 13.7 cents.
(13.7ȼ x 3.784 KWH per load) = .51 cents per load of laundry just in heating cost
We also averaged a family of 4 completing 480 loads per year. (.51 cents per load x 480 loads) =
A total annual Savings in energy cost alone, an average of $244.80.
Also add in the cost of Laundry detergent. Tide Total Care Laundry Detergent – 50 oz. bottle says it does 32 loads per container: 480 Loads per year ÷ 32 loads per container = 15 containers of tide total care laundry detergent. Each 50 oz. bottle costs $19.99. Totaling $299.85 (not including tax) spent in laundry detergent alone per year. Then add in the cost of bleach and fabric softeners along with stain treatment sprays. The total for detergents, bleach and softener bought by an average family of 4 in a one-year period is approximately $440.00. That is a lot of money!
So, your laundry over a 1-year period for a family of 4 will cost you approximately $700.00 per year!
Alternatively, it is the benefits of ozone use in your laundry routine that will save you money. A California hotel conducted a study over a 2-month period in a facility with 104 rooms to compare traditional an EcoTex ozone laundering system. They found the annual costs of ozone vs. traditional laundry was less in the categories of electrical (30% savings), natural gas (81% savings), chemical (21% savings), water (26% savings), and labor (39% savings). A 2012 hotel study entitled ‘Ozone Laundry – 95 Room Hotel Payback Study” showed similar results and a savings of almost $780 per month. They found that the ozone laundry system saved over 47% of fuel costs for boiler and dryer operation, with a 74% savings for the boilers (hot water) alone. In addition, the system eliminated softener costs, reduced electrical costs for the washers and dryers by about 13%, and reduced linen replacement costs by 10%.
Furthermore, Ozone has been shown to effectively control, disinfect, and/or totally eradicate microorganisms normally found in soiled laundry in many studies. For example, one study found that several microorganisms such as E. coli and many types of viruses were eradicated within minutes by ozone cold water laundering. Even more impressive, the same was found for two superbugs (MRSA and C. difficile). These superbugs are often resistant to traditional hot water laundry processes. However, the disinfection is a time-dependent process. Ozone is effective in killing bacteria in 3 minutes and viruses in 6 minutes. So, in this aspect ozone laundry system out perform traditional systems. It is recommended that laundry wash cycles be 10-12 minutes to determine a concentration over time value that is the recommended method to report compliance with U.S. EPA disinfection requirements of drinking water.
Detergent less laundry system can save money and valuable time. A detergent less laundry system consumes around 25 watts of electricity – which is even less than the average light bulb consumes when running. For these systems, you do not need hot water, so you don’t need to pay to heat water in the first place, saving energy and money. You don’t need to sort clothes by darks and lights, whites and colors, any longer (due to the elimination of hot water). Clothes will feel softer and fluffier, since you won’t be leaving any soap behind in the fabric. The life of the fabric itself is extended, because detergents cause fiber shredding. The rinse cycle will work as a second wash cycle. Detergent-Less Laundry Systems ultimately, will improve the performance of your washing machine, and ends the need to purchase cleaners.
There are a lot of untold sides to this story. The question to ask yourself is how much is your laundry really costing you?
Oxidizer Pro INC.
If you are interested in hearing more about how our American Made Detergent-less laundry system works, we will be happy to answer all your questions. Our revolutionizing detergent-less laundry product is not only ecofriendly but also very safe and healthy. We look forward to speaking with you soon.
Ace Heaters. (n.d.). Retrieved from Water heating for Laundry: http://aceheaters.com/documentation/laundry/
Chad. (2017, July). Oxidation Technologies Expert. (J. Beem, Interviewer)
Christiansen, S. (2017, July). Ozotech, Designer. (J. Beem, Interviewer)
Cleaning, U. A.-E. (n.d.). http://www.ewg.org/guides/cleaners/content/cleaners_and_health#.WWkrsojyuUk. Retrieved 2017 July
Del Ozone Laundry Saves Hotel $9000. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.environmentalleader.com/2012/10/17/del-ozone-laundry-saves-hotel-9000-a-year
Home Water Works. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.home-water-works.org/indoor-use/clothes-washer
NCBI. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2094925/
NPR.org. (n.d.). Retrieved from Price of Electricity in your state.
Ohmine, S. (2010). Investigation of the mechanisms of ozone-mediated viral inactivation. Brigham Young University.
Rip Rice, M. D. (2009). Microbiological Benefits of Ozone in Laundering Systems. Ozone: Science & Engineering .
Sheila Baker, M. (n.d.). The Science. Retrieved July 2017, from www.Oxidizeit.com.
Drinking Water Treatment
The safety and quality of drinking water is a growing concern among the masses. This fact is seemingly confirmed by the popularity of bottled water. For something that is freely available, the success of the bottled water industry is indeed remarkable.
Having a drinking water treatment system at home is a good way to ensure that water coming out of your tap is safe and clean to use. You never know what sort of contaminants can be found in your water supply despite state and local standards. At least with a drinking water treatment system you can be certain about steps you have taken to ensure the safety of water in your home.
However, the quality of water produced by your treatment system depends entirely on the quality of the system itself. That is why it is important to choose your water treatment system carefully.
Below is a list of considerations when it comes to selecting a drinking water treatment system:
There are several different drinking water treatment methods and they are organized under two broad categories: point of use devices and point of entry systems.
A point of use device treats water at a specific point where it is used, usually the kitchen sink. The device limits protection to a single faucet usually. It is a cost-effective method since only a few hundred gallons of water are treated.
On the other hand, a point of entry system focuses on the entire water supply in the home. The device is installed usually at the source of your water supply itself so that all of the water that enters the home has already gone through the drinking water treatment process, ensuring that it is safe and clean to use.
Americans seem to carry bottled water everywhere they go these days. In fact, it has become the second most popular drink (behind soft drinks). But water lovers got a jolt recently when we heard that a new report had found that the benefits of drinking water may have been oversold. Apparently, the old suggestion to drink eight glasses a day was nothing more than a guideline, not based on scientific evidence.
An, R. The Official Journal of the British Dietetic Association, published online Feb. 22, 2016.;News release, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.;CDC: “Finding a Balance.”
MICHAEL SMITH: It sounds too
good to be true.
Just drinking more water
can help you lose weight.
But that’s what researchers
Drinking as little as 1%
means you’ll eat fewer calories.
You’ll also benefit from a drop
in saturated fat, sugar, sodium,
One extra cup of H2O in a day
will save you 68 calories.
And you don’t have to do this
every day to get the savings.
Drink three extra cups,
and you’ll cut
your calorie intake by 205.
To put it in perspective,
that’s as many calories
as you’d burn if you walked two
and a half miles.
Now, you can’t just lie around
on the couch all day
and chug a gallon of water
You still need to keep up
those healthy habits.
And no word on what
happens if you drink more
than three cups,
except for spending
a lot of time in the bathroom.
And this doesn’t mean you can
eat more, just that you’re more
likely to eat less.
But that walk to the water
cooler gets you a lot further
than you thought.
For WebMD, I’m Dr. Michael
But don’t put your water bottle or glass down just yet. While we may not need eight glasses, there are plenty of reasons to drink water. In fact, drinking water (either plain or in the form of other fluids or foods) is essential to your health.
“Think of water as a nutrient your body needs that is present in liquids, plain water, and foods. All of these are essential daily to replace the large amounts of water lost each day,” says Joan Koelemay, RD, dietitian for the Beverage Institute, an industry group.
Kaiser Permanente nephrologist Steven Guest, MD, agrees: “Fluid losses occur continuously, from skin evaporation, breathing, urine, and stool, and these losses must be replaced daily for good health,” he says.
When your water intake does not equal your output, you can become dehydrated. Fluid losses are accentuated in warmer climates, during strenuous exercise, in high altitudes, and in older adults, whose sense of thirst may not be as sharp.
Here are six reasons to make sure you’re drinking enough water or other fluids every day:
1. Drinking Water Helps Maintain the Balance of Body Fluids. Your body is composed of about 60% water. The functions of these bodily fluids include digestion, absorption, circulation, creation of saliva, transportation of nutrients, and maintenance of body temperature.
“Through the posterior pituitary gland, your brain communicates with your kidneys and tells it how much water to excrete as urine or hold onto for reserves,” says Guest, who is also an adjunct professor of medicine at Stanford University.
When you’re low on fluids, the brain triggers the body’s thirst mechanism. And unless you are taking medications that make you thirsty, Guest says, you should listen to those cues and get yourself a drink of water, juice, milk, coffee — anything but alcohol.
“Alcohol interferes with the brain and kidney communication and causes excess excretion of fluids which can then lead to dehydration,” he says.
2. Water Can Help Control Calories. For years, dieters have been drinking lots of water as a weight loss strategy. While water doesn’t have any magical effect on weight loss, substituting it for higher calorie beverages can certainly help.
“What works with weight loss is if you choose water or a non-caloric beverage over a caloric beverage and/or eat a diet higher in water-rich foods that are healthier, more filling, and help you trim calorie intake,” says Penn State researcher Barbara Rolls, PhD, author of The Volumetrics Weight Control Plan.
Food with high water content tends to look larger, its higher volume requires more chewing, and it is absorbed more slowly by the body, which helps you feel full. Water-rich foods include fruits, vegetables, broth-based soups, oatmeal, and beans.
3. Water Helps Energize Muscles. Cells that don’t maintain their balance of fluids and electrolytes shrivel, which can result in muscle fatigue. “When muscle cells don’t have adequate fluids, they don’t work as well and performance can suffer,” says Guest.
Drinking enough fluids is important when exercising. Follow the American College of Sports Medicine guidelines for fluid intake before and during physical activity. These guidelines recommend that people drink about 17 ounces of fluid about two hours before exercise. During exercise, they recommend that people start drinking fluids early, and drink them at regular intervals to replace fluids lost by sweating.
4. Water Helps Keep Skin Looking Good. Your skin contains plenty of water, and functions as a protective barrier to prevent excess fluid loss. But don’t expect over-hydration to erase wrinkles or fine lines, says Atlanta dermatologist Kenneth Ellner, MD.
“Dehydration makes your skin look more dry and wrinkled, which can be improved with proper hydration,” he says. “But once you are adequately hydrated, the kidneys take over and excrete excess fluids.”
You can also help “lock” moisture into your skin by using moisturizer, which creates a physical barrier to keep moisture in.
5. Water Helps Your Kidneys. Body fluids transport waste products in and out of cells. The main toxin in the body is blood urea nitrogen, a water-soluble waste that is able to pass through the kidneys to be excreted in the urine, explains Guest. “Your kidneys do an amazing job of cleansing and ridding your body of toxins as long as your intake of fluids is adequate,” he says.
When you’re getting enough fluids, urine flows freely, is light in color and free of odor. When your body is not getting enough fluids, urine concentration, color, and odor increases because the kidneys trap extra fluid for bodily functions.
If you chronically drink too little, you may be at higher risk for kidney stones, especially in warm climates, Guest warns.
6. Water Helps Maintain Normal Bowel Function. Adequate hydration keeps things flowing along your gastrointestinal tract and prevents constipation. When you don’t get enough fluid, the colon pulls water from stools to maintain hydration — and the result is constipation.
“Adequate fluid and fiber is the perfect combination, because the fluid pumps up the fiber and acts like a broom to keep your bowel functioning properly,” says Koelemay.
If you think you need to be drinking more, here are some tips to increase your fluid intake and reap the benefits of water:
If your home has hard water — water with a high mineral content — as many homes do, you are no doubt familiar with its downsides. Hello spotty glasses, soap that doesn’t lather, dry skin, dull hair, stains on porcelain and gunky-looking buildup around faucets and pipes.
Over the years, concerns have also been raised about hard water and its impact on a host of health issues including heart disease, fertility, Alzheimer’s disease, digestive issues and, most recently, eczema.
Ronny Priefer, PhD, professor of medicinal chemistry at Western New England University in Springfield, MA, says hard water and health is a murky area of study. “There is plenty of conflicting evidence in literature,” he says. “Some scientists say there are health benefits; others say hard water harms health, and then there’s a group that claims no effect.”
Water hardness is determined by mineral content. “Over sixty percent of the water that we consume is groundwater,” explains Priefer. “As water percolates through layers of rock, sand and soil, it gathers minerals. The higher the concentration of minerals, which include magnesium and calcium, the harder the water is.
One way hard water can benefit people, say experts, is by making up for the lack of calcium and magnesium they get from their diets. Not getting enough of these critical nutrients through foods is a problem for many Americans and can impact a person’s health. Inadequate intake of calcium, for instance, is linked with osteoporosis and high blood pressure. Magnesium deficiency, meanwhile, can trigger cardiac arrhythmias and Type 2 diabetes, among other health conditions.
In areas with naturally “soft” water supplies — such as the Colorado Mountains, where water comes from melting glacial ice and contains very little calcium or magnesium — people are often advised to add calcium and magnesium supplements to their diets, says Priefer. However, many people prefer soft water because it makes soap sudsier, gets clothes cleaner and is less corrosive. In areas with naturally hard water, homeowners sometimes add a filter to soften the water to remove magnesium and calcium.
But while drinking hard water might help increase our overall magnesium and calcium levels, to what extent does hard water improve or harm our health? In 2006, both the World Health Organization (WHO) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) gathered a large contingent of experts from around the world to share scientific and medical findings regarding the safety of the world’s water supply, which included the impact of hard water on health. Report findings from both WHO and NIH stated that hard water has no known adverse health effects. Their report also said that magnesium in drinking water seems to have protective qualities for the heart, but most other positive associations need more study.
The NIH also addressed the epidemiological observations showing a relationship between drinking hard water and the risk for cardiovascular disease, growth retardation, and reproductive failure due to exposure to mineral content. They responded to these findings by saying that “many factors — including the acidity of the water — influence the reabsorption of calcium and magnesium in the body.”
Similarly, the NIH addressed epidemiological studies linking areas where hard water is consumed with lowered rates of osteoporosis and reduced gastric cancer risk. Their response: “These disease patterns can be explained by social, climatological and environmental factors — rather than the hardness of the water.”
They had the same response after reviewing studies linking magnesium with a mild to moderate protection against esophageal and ovarian cancer.
And what about the alleged link between hard water and Alzheimer’s? In this case aluminum — another mineral found in hard water — is the substance being called into question. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, studies have failed to confirm a direct link between Alzheimer’s and everyday exposure to aluminum, which is also used to make beverage cans and is an ingredient in antacids and baking soda. For now, the risk to brain health appears to be due to exposure to extremely high amounts of aluminum.
“The NIH found in certain circumstances, such as a person who works in an occupation where there is massive exposure to aluminum — and then presents with symptoms similar to Alzheimer’s disease — the brain pathology looks similar to someone with Alzheimer’s disease,” says Priefer. “But there is no evidence that aluminum causes Alzheimer’s.” He adds: “The amount of aluminum — even in the hardest of water — is scant. Even over a lifetime, it would be nearly impossible to consume too much aluminum from drinking water. Large quantities would induce severe vomiting and other intestinal functions.”
Fertility concerns related to hard water were also unfounded, says Priefer, who says there’s no research to support claims that hard water reduces the quality or quantity of sperm.
“However, there is an interesting study from the UK which shows hard water exacerbates the symptoms of eczema in infants, and increases the frequency of the outbreaks,” adds Priefer.
If you are curious about the mineral content of your water, Priefer suggests contacting your local government. They might be able to provide this info or put you in touch with the municipal treatment facility. Or, you can test your home’s water supply yourself. “There are do-it-yourself kits readily available at Home Depot and Lowes,” says Priefer.
Ann Matturro Gault is a freelance writer and editor whose work has appeared in national magazines and many websites. She lives with her four kids, dog, cat and spouse in New Jersey.
Water purification, filtration and conditioning is confusing. For a life-giving substance that is supremely simple in actuality, water quickly becomes complicated when you try to push it through pipes and disperse it safely to millions of people. While it stands to reason that harmful toxins, parasites and chemicals need to be removed from water, what about “soft” and “hard” water? What do these terms mean and how might they relate to you? Should you invest in water softening or conditioning technology? Before you run off in frustration and set up camp by a pristine mountain stream in the middle of nowhere, realize that there are water solutions for everyone- it is just a matter of sorting through the vast amounts of information out there to figure out which one works best for you.
“Hard Water” is so named because it contains considerable amounts of dissolved mineral and metal ions. Because water is a universally powerful solvent, it easily picks up such impurities as it travels through soil and rock before being pumped up from a personal well or otherwise redirected into the municipal water supply. Derived mostly from sedimentary rocks, seepage and soil run-off, the primary elements found in hard water are calcium and magnesium, although barium, strontium, zinc, iron, aluminum, and sulfur are also minor contributors. Because calcium generally predominates this mix, the degree of “hardness” is most commonly measured in terms of milligrams of calcium carbonate per liter of water. Any water sample containing less than 60 mg/L is considered “soft,” whereas anything greater than that is “hard” (1).
Hard water is actually a relatively common phenomenon, with one U.S Geological survey revealing that it is experienced in more than 85% of the country. Although hard water is not considered dangerous, there are some issues that make it problematic for home owners and quite pesky to deal with from both an aesthetic and maintenance perspective.
Interferes with the effectiveness of soap and detergents
If you remember from the fuzzy days of basic chemistry classes, ions are atoms or groups of atoms that have an uneven amount of electrons, making them relatively reactive. The spunky metallic ions in hard water often bind with various components in soap, impeding its foaming action and rendering it largely ineffective at removing soil or bacteria. What’s more, this binding reaction forms a precipitate that remains long after you have completed your scrubbing and rinsed the soap bubbles away. This lovely byproduct is what we might call “gross gray scum.” Clothes laundered in it can be stiff and dishes spotty. Because you must use more soap and detergent to clean anything remotely well in hard water, there are also environmental concerns about the contamination brought on by such excessive use of harsh cleaning products (2).
Can be destructive to plumbing
Put simply, mineral deposits can begin to stick to the surfaces of pipes causing a build up known as scale. This generally occurs when hot water is heated and in small quantities this is harmless. However, over time this insoluble material, otherwise known as scale, can accumulate and coat pipes as well as the insides of appliances such that water flow is restricted and function declines. Thus repairs must be made more frequently and efforts to prevent clogging more closely monitored (3).
Requires more energy to heat water
Deposits also frequently develop in hot water heaters, creating a coating that impedes heat transfer to the water. This insulating effect can be problematic because the water is not heated as easily, and more energy is required to do the job. This inefficiency can add up, creating significant waste and causing a significant increase in energy bills. Scale can also develop on dishware, pots and pans- making heating things evenly on the stove more difficult (3).
Because of these issues, some people opt for systems that remove hard ions from their water, resulting in a more smooth and gentle water. Conventionally, this is done through mechanisms known as salt-based water softeners, which exchange hard calcium (Ca+) and magnesium (Mg+) ions with “soft” sodium ions. This is done by filtering water through a chamber that contains a bed of resin or plastic (polymer) beads, which have been saturated with sodium (Na+), or on occasion potassium (K+). As the water passes through, the Ca+ and Mg+ ions essentially stick to the beads, while Na+ or K+ ions are simultaneously released into the water. However, just as there are problems with hard water, there are also issues with these water softeners.
Eliminates health-preserving minerals
Having minerals in your water is not necessarily a bad thing. After all, people pay lots of money to sip effervescent Italian mineral waters from green glass bottles. Minerals not only grant water with certain characteristic tastes, but they also supply a notable amount of health benefits. Interestingly, certain studies have found that people receive anywhere from 5-20% of their daily calcium and magnesium intake from the water they drink (1). While this may seem like a nominal contribution, in an era of rampant magnesium deficiency and generalized mineral imbalance, completely eliminating this source may not be desirable.
Several large-scale studies have reported that hard-water has an inverse association with cardiovascular disease. While it seems promising that hard water may be helpful in reducing risk for heart disease (likely because of the magnesium content), no distinct causal relationship has been formed and other small studies have found varying results on the matter (1, 4). Although more research needs to be done, it follows basic logic that removing any natural sources of minerals in our often nutrient-bereft diets would be detrimental to health outcomes overall. The following paragraph from Nourishing Traditions, articulates this point perfectly:
“The evidence points to hard water, which is water rich in mineral ions, as being of great value in promoting overall health. Several studies have shown that the rate of coronary heart disease is lower in localities where hard water is available. Areas of the world noted for longevity of local inhabitants – notably the Caucasus, Hunzaland and Vilcabamba in South America – are all watered by richly mineralized runoff from grinding action of high mountain glaciers.”
Traditional water softening systems discharge a significant amount of sodium and corrosive salt brine into municipal sewer lines, making it far more difficult for sanitation departments to clean and recycle the water. In areas where there is a lot of agriculture requiring irrigation, this is particularly problematic. States like California and Texas, along with others, have even passed legislation banning these systems, with more than 25 communities in the state of California having already banned or greatly restricted the use of these water softeners. In addition, many traditional softeners use a backwashing filtration pattern, which can result in wasting thousands of gallons of water per year.
Undesirable Water Quality
It is up for debate as to whether or not the amount of sodium (or possibly potassium) released into conventionally softened water is hazardous to health. Some experts caution against it, while others reply that there is not a large enough quantity to cause any real issue. Oddly enough, most do agree that you should avoid watering your lawn and plants with softened water due to the harsh sodium content. Also, while people seem to generally enjoy the smooth feel of softened water for bathing, others find that it can be undesirably slimy and difficult to rinse- a quality that is difficult to control.
When it comes to the questions of water softeners, it is clear that treatment options come with their own pros and cons. Arguments can be made on either side, but what it truly comes down to is that the decision on how to filter, purify or otherwise treat water is largely personal. It is important to be an informed consumer and to weigh your various options as water systems are crucial to the health of your family and can also be a significant investment.
As always, it is first most beneficial to know precisely what is in your water so that you can move forward with the greatest degree of knowledge and deduce the most effective methods for your living situation. If you are on municipal water, there should be regular district reports that may disclose the degree of hardness and other facts about your water. Be aware that many communities do not report on water hardness, as it is not an EPA requirement. You can test your water independently using a water testing kit.
Based on this testing data you have to decide on what your personal goals are for your household water. Is your primary goal to have healthy water everywhere in your home, to decrease the burden on your plumbing, to remove toxins in drinking water? There is no right or wrong answer here- everyone has different objectives, budgets, family size, and living situations.
If among these goals you determine that you need to take some measures to soften your water, one solution is a water softener. However, other technologies exist, such as No-Scale Water Conditioners that can help to reduce the risk of build-up in plumbing without resorting to a sodium or potassium based ion exchange system (a water softener). Please note that a water conditioner does not soften your water. Both water softeners and conditioners can be used in concert with a Whole House Water Filtration System to supply clean, fresh, balanced water throughout your home. Conversely, if you already have an ion exchange water softener or think that installing one may be the right choice at this time, be sure to consider products such as Anderson’s Mineral Drops that can be added into the water to give you properly balanced and remineralized water.
If you have additional questions about water, visit our Water Resource Center or fill out our Online Water Assessment Tool and a member of our water research team will be happy to start a discussion about your personal needs.
The Triangular Wave
THE WATER STORY & HEART DISEASE
Source: HEALTHY WATER Martin Fox, Ph.D.
Kirstin Hendrickson is a writer, teacher, coach, athlete and author of the textbook “Chemistry In The World.” She’s been teaching and writing about health, wellness and nutrition for more than 10 years. She has a Bachelor of Science in zoology, a Bachelor of Science in psychology, a Master of Science in chemistry and a doctoral degree in bioorganic chemistry.
“Hard” and “soft” are adjectives used to describe the mineral content of water. Soft water either has a low mineral content or contains only minerals that dissolve well in water, while hard water contains minerals that don’t dissolve as well in water. In general, soft and hard water are equally healthy.
Many parts of the United States have hard water. If your municipal water supply depends upon a source of surface water, such as a river, or upon ground water — which includes well and aquifer water sources — you have hard water. Water is defined as hard if it contains minerals, including calcium and magnesium, that can form insoluble salts in pipes and on fixtures. While the minerals and their salts don’t affect the health of the water, they are a nuisance because of mineral buildup in household plumbing.
Some communities have naturally soft water. If you live in an area that depends upon rainwater catchment, you likely have soft water in your municipal system. Rainwater contains few dissolved minerals. While it has to be treated before it’s considered safe for a community to drink, treatment doesn’t involve altering the mineral content in any way. Unlike hard water, soft water doesn’t result in formation of salts on fixtures and in pipes. Naturally soft water is just as healthy as hard water.
If you have hard water and find it a nuisance, you have the option to chemically soften your water. Many chemical softening systems replace calcium and magnesium minerals in the water with sodium, another mineral. It’s logistically difficult to remove minerals from hard water — it’s much easier to replace them with other minerals. Since sodium is a mineral that doesn’t form pipe or fixture buildup, it’s a natural choice to replace calcium and magnesium in hard water.
If you’re on a sodium-restricted diet, you may wonder whether chemically softened water is less healthy than hard water or naturally soft water. While you need sodium to stay healthy, the average American not only gets plenty of sodium from food, they generally get too much. This can cause health problems. Still, the amount of sodium in chemically softened water is minute compared to the amount of sodium in food, explains Dr. Sheldon Sheps in an article at the Mayo Clinic website. You can generally drink chemically softened water without concern.
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Even though the general consensus seems to be that drinking soft water is relatively “safe,” it is not healthy for a number of reasons.
First, I want to explain that the type of water softener I am referring to here is a resin device that uses salt (primarily sodium chloride or potassium chloride) to remove the “hard” minerals such as magnesium and calcium from the source water through a process called ion exchange.
There are a number of other so-called water softeners on the market which use various technology such as Electromagnetic Technology (ET) or Radio Frequency (RF) or Template Assisted Crystallization (TAC) or Matrix Enabled Particularization (MEP) – just to name a few.
However, these technologies do not reduce the hardness of water to a level that is considered to be soft. According to the Water Quality Association (WQA), a water softener system must reduce the water to “less than one grain per gallon (gpg) of hardness ions” to be softened water.
Thus, anything other than salt-based softeners (at least that I have seen at the time of writing this) should be called “water conditioners” rather than water softeners.
The following benefits and drawbacks are for salt-based water softeners.
Since more than 80 percent of us in the United States have hard water, according to a U.S. Geological Survey, many homeowners and landlords look into installing water softeners to reduce scale.
Household Pipes and Appliances. The scale that can build up from hard water can clog and eventually damage household pipes and valves, the water heater, sink faucets, and a number of water-based household appliances. This then leads to the expense and bother of repairs or purchase of new pipes and appliances.
Water softeners can prevent much of the scale buildup and extend the life of water pipes and appliances.
Cleaning and Personal Care. The other key advantage of a salt-based water softener is that it gets rid of the soap scum residue that is left on the skin and hair when bathing in hard water.
It will also improve the quality of the water for house cleaning and reduce the amount of soap scum and hardness that collects on the tub and shower.
People will simply not drink enough water to stay hydrated if they don’t like the taste of the water – and softened water tastes bad! The harder the water is, the more undesirable the softened water tastes.
Too Much Sodium
Second, since salt is added to the hard water in exchange for the minerals, the sodium content of softened drinking water is way above normal. According to a Colorado State University (CSU) study, approximately 75 mg of sodium is added to each quart of water per 10 gpg (grains per gallon) hardness.
Even though proponents of softened water suggest that the level of sodium in soft water is “safe” to drink for most people, it is not healthy! And it is certainly not recommended for anyone on a salt-restricted diet for health reasons.
The intake of natural salts that are rich in trace minerals (such as Celtic sea salt and Himalayan crystal salt) are important for proper hydration and mineral balance in the body, but nobody needs any more refined salt in their diet—from food or water.
Third, softened water is more likely than hard water to dissolve toxic metals in household pipes. Just a few of the potentially harmful metals that could end up in your softened drinking water are lead and cadmium.
And last but not least, with a salt-based water softener, the minerals in water are removed through the process of ion exchange – that is, the mineral ions in the water are exchanged for sodium or potassium ions.
Drinking water that is devoid of minerals can create a mineral imbalance in the body. Specific health risks include heart disease, osteoporosis, and gastrointestinal issues.
Demineralizing the water also makes it very acidic, which is not conducive to a healthy pH balance in the body.
WHO Study: Health risks from drinking demineralized water
Further reading. . .
Salt-Based Water Softeners – Advantages and Disadvantages
Return from Drinking Soft Water to Best Drinking Water
Aquasana Whole House Water Filter and Softener System
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Answers from Sheldon G. Shepps, M.D.
Regular tap water contains very little sodium. The amount of sodium a water softener adds to tap water depends on the “hardness” of the water.
Hard water contains large amounts of calcium and magnesium. Some water-softening systems replace calcium and magnesium ions with sodium ions. The higher the concentration of calcium and magnesium, the more sodium needed to soften the water. Even so, the added sodium shouldn’t be an issue for most healthy adults.
Levels of sodium in drinking water are very low in most water systems. In an Environmental Protection Agency survey, the majority of water systems tested had less than 50 milligrams (mg) of sodium per liter. Based on this data, a fourth of a liter (about an 8-ounce glass) of water would contain less than 12.5 mg of sodium, which falls within the Food and Drug Administration’s definition of “very low sodium.”
However, if you’re on a very low-sodium diet and you’re concerned about the amount of sodium in softened water, you may want to consider a water-purification system that uses potassium chloride instead. Another option is to soften only the hot water and use un-softened cold water for drinking and cooking.
In any case, it’s important to keep in mind that the majority of sodium in an average person’s diet comes from table salt and processed foods. Thus, the best way to decrease sodium in your diet is by putting away the saltshaker and cutting back on processed foods.
April 08, 2016
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Since 1997, Maria Christensen has written about business, history, food, culture and travel for diverse publications, including the “Savannah Morning News” and “Art Voices Magazine.” She authored a guidebook to Seattle and works as the business team lead for a software company. Christensen studied communications at the University of Washington and history at Armstrong Atlantic State University.
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