Q: I’ve heard a lot of different information on water softeners and I’m concerned about the safety of drinking softened water. Is softened water safe to drink, or dangerous?
A: You know, we get this question a lot. No, it is not dangerous to drink water that has been softened. People ask this question for a number of reasons, and I’m going to attempt to address those concerns here.
1. Those folks who are worried about the system components and media leaching bad chemicals into your drinking water. – There is no concern for this here. As long as you are purchasing your water treatment equipment from a reputable company, all of the components of the system should be safe for human consumption. Water softeners are used all over the country and don’t pose any general health risk.
2. Those who are worried about drinking the water softener salt. – Most people know that there is salt involved in water softening, and are concerned that they are drinking “salt water” if they are drinking conditioned water. This is not true. Salt in the softener is used to clean the media and is then drained into your septic system. Salt is never injected directly into your water.
3. An illness has a family puzzled and they’re concerned the water is making them sick – If you are concerned about the safety of your water, by all means have it tested. It won’t be the softener that is making you sick, but the softener may be contaminated by bacteria from another source and THAT can make you sick. The best place to start if you are worried about your water making you sick is looking at testing options.
4. People on a sodium restricted diet – yes, water softening does exchange hard mineral ions for sodium ions. When running the numbers, the sodium added to your water is less than the amount of sodium in a breakfast cereal, which is to say, quite negligible. However, if you are watching your sodium intake carefully for medical reasons, or just don’t want to think about the sodium content of your water, I’d suggest putting in a reverse osmosis drinking water unit. A system like that will remove 95% of everything in your water, including really bad stuff like arsenic and nitrates. I actually recommend a drinking water system for every home. Its simple, effective, makes great tasting water, and is very affordable. You can’t go wrong.