I recently installed a water softener for my hot water requirements. I left the cold water alone except I added a carbon filtration system.
I read pros and cons of consuming soft water. I am curious what others are doing?
What are the pros of drinking soft water? I've only heard of the cons.
I think people normally just have a dedicated tap for drinking water (ie. non-softened) and everything else is softened (hot and cold).
There are recent discussions on this board about the sodium content of softened water and the consequences of consumption. Pay no attention unless quantitative data are presented.
"I think people normally just have a dedicated tap for drinking water (ie. non-softened) and everything else is softened (hot and cold)."
Actually, the opposite is true ...
Some new home construction plumbs for soft water in the home and raw water at outside hose bibs and few run a raw water line to the kitchen sink.
Almost all softener retro-installs soften the water at the service entrance. Running a raw water line to the kitchen sink or even the outside hose bibs in an existing home can be VERY expensive and/or very difficult to do and it is not done often.
Softening only the hot water is done by fly-by-night softener hucksters out for a quick buck so they can offer a quick and cheap install. The only improvement the homeowner gets for their money is longer water heater life. Hard water is still in every cold water line, at every faucet, in every fixture, and at every appliance. If you're going to pay for soft water then you ought to get it.
Most people who have water softeners are drinking, cooking, and ice cubing with softened water. As water hardness increases more sodium or potassium is ion exchanged into the hard water to soften it and that effects the taste. Based on individual palettes there is a point at which the taste of the softened water is unacceptable and those people usually opt for an under sink RO to provide cooking, drinking, and ice-cubing water in the kitchen.
There is nothing wrong or unhealthy about drinking soft water provided you don't have a health condition that limits sodium intake and you like the way the water tastes.
Wouldn't the opposite of what I said be softening just the drinking water and leaving everything else hard? I doubt anybody does that. :)
Okay, so you're saying sometimes it's done the way I stated it but usually everything is softened.
So there's no benefit of drinking soft water other than it's cheaper to plumb it (if you can stand the taste)?
It is rarely done the way you stated especially in older houses or homes on a slab.
What I posted was this... "There is nothing wrong or unhealthy about drinking soft water provided you don't have a health condition that limits sodium intake and you like the way the water tastes".
If ones chooses to install a softener to mitigate hard water or iron and prolong the service life of the plumbing, fixtures, appliances, and reap soft water's other benefits one can drink the water without concern other than mentioned above.
"...if you can stand the taste" is an objective decision made daily all over the world whether drinking water is softened or not. People can like or dislike the taste of what's in the water not the taste of water itself. Pure water doesn't taste. The taste of water is what is IN the water. If desired by the consumer of the water the way their water tastes can be mitigated by RO, filter, and distillation to name a few options.
"Pay no attention unless quantitative data are presented."
Unless you are on a sodium restricted diet, and then drink something else.
Some sodium restricted diets are VERY restricted, enough that softened water can be an issue.
For those on a sodium restricted diet KCl is a NO SODIUM softener regenerant alternative.
Or one can install an RO on sodium softened water and have NO SODIUM in the RO water to drink, cook with, and make ice cubes.
For those on a sodium restricted diet Potassium (KCI) is a big no no.
"For those on a sodium restricted diet Potassium (KCI) is a big no no" says you but not according to my doctor and all the documentation he gave me. What is your authority for that statement?
I understand there are circumstances where a sodium and potassium restricted diet is advised... just ask your doctor.
"Or one can install an RO on sodium softened water and have NO SODIUM in the RO water to drink, cook with, and make ice cubes."
In the interest of accuracy, an RO will removed nearly all ions in water, but not all. Divalent and higher ions (those with a charge of 2 or more) will be removed at a higher rate than monovalent. RO will remove most monovalent ions (such as sodium) at only 75%, compared to 98-99% for higher valent ions. This would not be an issue for most people, but if your doc recommends a very sodium restricted diet, and you soften very hard water, even an RO may not be adequate.
"For those on a sodium restricted diet Potassium (KCI) is a big no no."
It depends on what is driving the sodium restriction.
For dialysis patients, yes.
For sodium induced high blood pressure, not so much.
That is why Potassium Chloride is often used as a salt (sodium chloride) substitute.
I have two comments about this subject that come after re-reading the posts in this thread.
Only about 1 in 10 people in the United States do not exceed what they should probably be consuming in sodium. To me, that means that virtually no one should be drinking or cooking with softened water.
In vast parts of the country if you mention "slab home" or something similar, you might get a puzzled look. Yes, they are rare in some areas. Assuming that it will be costly to put an additional tap to the kitchen or change outdoor taps to another source is wrong.
"Only about 1 in 10 people in the United States do not exceed what they should probably be consuming in sodium. To me, that means that virtually no one should be drinking or cooking with softened water. "
How many of them have an issue with the excess sodium intake?
Public health authorities would have to conclude that most of them would be healthier as they age if they have less salt in their diet. It is impossible to predict who will develop troubles due to excess sodium so it is better for the herd from an economic standpoint and probable that the individuals would be better off if everyone would reduced sodium intake to reasonable levels.
Our sodium intake is way to high mainly due to consumption of prepared foods. Salt and corn syrup are cheap food additives.
Drug Interactions from Potassium Salt Substitutes
The University of Maryland Medical Center reports if you take NSAIDs, such as aspirin, ibuprofen or naproxyn sodium, you should check with your doctor before using potassium salt substitutes. People taking ACE inhibitors and beta-blockers for certain heart conditions may experience harmful side effects from potassium salt substitutes. Some diuretics, antibiotics, insulin and blood thinners may react with a potassium salt substitute by increasing the amount of potassium in your body. Check with your doctor before using potassium salt substitutes to prevent life threatening side effects, such as heart failure and sudden death.