Are Salt Water Softeners Bad for the Environment?

Have you ever come across the term – hard water? Chances are even if you have not, you have at least at some point in your life faced its effects. With the dullness on your clothes and utensils and the building up of a white layer, the effects of hard water are not unknown.

It can even often lead to your floor tiles looking bad and your hair thinning and skin cells damaged. This is why most people use water softeners. They believe it saves them a lot of money in actually treating the water or changing the source and continuing to use it.

In a time where most of us are very cautious about the products we buy, and how they affect the environment, it is also crucial to know how these water softeners work and if they harm the environment.

Saltwater softeners are becoming a popular choice in most households. In this article, we would first try to understand how salt water softeners work and then would understand how they impact our environment and if they are bad for it, how can we find reasonable alternatives to it.

What Are Salt Water Softeners?

Saltwater softeners work based on a process known as ion exchange. Most of the minerals that constitute hard water exchange their ions with sodium which is found in salt water softeners.

The saltwater present in a tank gives out a certain quantity of salt water and sodium ions as the water goes through it. The water as a result becomes soft and is easier on your clothes, utensils, and skin.

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The saltwater softeners often lead to the building up of a dusty substance and layer in your water pipes as well, which can affect their flow after every few months. You might have to incur the cost of hiring a plumber and getting the pipers cleaned or changed.

Impact of Salt Water Softeners

One of the biggest disadvantages of using salt water softeners is that they end up adding a lot of salt to the surroundings affecting the water negatively.

You can easily contribute to majorly increasing the carbon footprint in the environment with the use of salt water softeners, which is not something you might want to do if you are looking to become environmentally friendly.

The salt mixed up with soil and plants can often weaken the plants and go as far as affecting their growth and leading to dry leaves and premature falling flowers.

As you may use the soft water for everyday usage, it can also affect the drainage pipes and the treatment tanks installed underground, making the work of your local municipality difficult.

Using salt water softeners continually and for a longer period might also lead to causing water shortages in some areas. As more and more people use this technique it can further make this problem even more serious.

Leaving sodium chloride in the environment is not a favourable outcome as if not in your home and clothes, it can start building up in the surrounding sand in the other local water bodies in your area.

It would naturally start damaging the plants around the water and also affect the lives of the animals inside the water.

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Most people argue that since soft water is being utilized in important regular activities, it is not being wasted and that the impact it creates on other things can be ignored.

But it must be remembered that in a world where we are constantly striving to find better alternatives to practices that harm the environment, we all must see it as our duty to ensure that we don’t affect the environment negatively.

If you have a significant garden or lawn area in your home, you should be ready to face the effect of a salt water softener as it can quickly affect the lushness, of your plants as well as the grass.

Ultimately, you end up spending way more money to resolve a problem that was perhaps not even that big or could have been solved with other methods.

Alternatives

You can put in place a conditioning system with which although you cannot remove the hard minerals from your normal water, it would lessen their effect and impact so that your clothes, utensils, and skin do not have to suffer.

You might be surprised to know that even the governments of some countries and areas are becoming increasingly aware of the negative impact of water softeners, which is why it is either banned in many places or are regulated strictly.

The best way to know if you need a water softener is to see if you are being affected a lot by the hard water.

In case you feel so, you can first look at other alternatives like working on the pH level of the water with the help of your water specialist or expert or looking for devices that neutralize the pH level of water and save it from being too harsh for you.

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It has been found that in most cases, doing this much is often enough and there is no need to use salt water softeners then.

Even then, if you use salt water softeners, you must be aware that it can lead to excessive softening of water, which would then make you devoid of the healthy minerals of water which you would otherwise get.

Conclusion  

Hence, in this article, you understood the concept of hard water and soft water. When using a small tank, with the help of salt, the minerals of hard water are replaced with sodium ions, and the water becomes soft and is not harsh on your skin, clothes, and utensils.

However, we saw that using salt water softeners may not be the best thing for the environment and the plants or water in your surroundings. It can have you spend more than you expected.

Thus, it is better to look at other alternatives, which are easy on the environment and can help solve the problem of hard water as well.