Tap water, or well water, is never entirely pure. All tap water contains a certain degree of impurities, minerals, and dissolved minerals. The most common are calcium and magnesium, while others include iron, fluoride, potassium, sodium, and more. Most naturally-occurring minerals like the ones just mentioned are not harmful in moderate to small doses (with the exception of allergies), so tap water is not something to be afraid of in terms of consumption.
However, these minerals and other dissolved solids can cause tap water to taste funny. This is generally caused by hard water, or water with high traces of mineral content. Most well water is hard water, but depending on the local water table, some areas are less hard than others. One way to combat bad tasting water: water conditioning! Continue reading to learn how a water softener can make tap water taste better.
Even though not all minerals are harmful in drinking water, it is always recommended to have your water tested when moving into a new place or relocating long-term. When it you find that your tap water is a bit funny-tasting, or even really bad-tasting, there are effective solutions to eliminate this issue. The most effective short-term and long-term solution for hard water problems is water conditioning. This means purchasing and installing a water softener.
Water softeners work by eliminating hard mineral content by means of ion exchange technology. Inside a water softener tank, there are resin (plastic) beads that hold a negative charge. When water is demanded (whether by faucet, spout, spigot, dishwasher, or washing machine), the tap water travels to the water softener, and passes through a filter that contains the negatively-charged resin beads. These beads attract all of the positively-charged hard minerals like calcium and magnesium that makes water taste bad.
Once the beads are saturated with such mineral content, the water softener regenerates by using positively-charged sodium ions (salt) to rid the beads of their hard minerals. The sodium ions absorb the hard minerals, leaving the beads with a negative charge once again. The salted regeneration water is then flushed out of the tank and down the drain.