What are the benefits of lime water

Hardly any region in Germany can boast “soft water”; in even fewer areas it is really "lime-free". So it's no wonder that many households choose a water softener - or at least think about it. But does decalcified water really have so many advantages?

When is water soft?

Water consists of the elements hydrogen and oxygen, which form the chemical compound H2O (dihydrogen monoxide). In addition, however, water also contains the alkaline earths

  • barium
  • beryllium
  • Calcium
  • magnesium
  • Stontium

Their proportion determines whether the water is "hard" - that is, contains lime - or whether it is considered to be "soft water" with only a small proportion of lime. If the value is less than 1.5 millimoles of calcium carbonate per liter, the water is soft. This corresponds to the official measurement of 8.4 degrees of German hardness.

Some major German cities meet this lime content almost in an exemplary manner; others exceed it many times over. It is highest in the Berlin metropolitan area. Here the average value is 19.5 degrees of German hardness - which means that the capital's water contains about twice as much lime as is permissible for "soft water".

Descaling water made easy

With the help of a water softening system, water can be "softened" relatively easily. The principle behind it is as simple as it is ingenious: The liquid passes through a special plastic resin that acts as an ion exchanger. It absorbs so much calcium and magnesium that it is saturated. It then automatically directs sodium ions into the water, thus ensuring that it contains significantly less lime than before.

With high-quality water softening systems, the desired degree of hardness can be set at will. Ideally, it is 8.3 or 8.4 degrees of German hardness - and thus corresponds exactly to the value that defines "soft water".

Soft water is good for that

Why this is so important is demonstrated by the numerous advantages that decalcified water has:

  • Descaling reduces deposits in water pipes and boilers as well as in all water-carrying household appliances. This saves energy costs, reduces maintenance costs and extends the service life of the systems and machines.
  • Soft water allows cleaning agents, dishwashing detergents and detergents or soaps, shampoos and bath additives to foam better. Consumption, costs and environmental pollution are correspondingly lower.
  • Soft water leaves less pronounced limescale stains on leaves, flowers and the soil. It is therefore ideal for watering balcony, garden or indoor plants.
  • Decalcified water contains fewer salts than the "hard" version. As a result, it better preserves the moisture content of skin and hair and ensures noticeably more smoothness and softness after washing.

Descaling becomes critical here

So far so good. But the benefits of soft water can quickly turn into the opposite and have a number of undesirable side effects. That includes first and foremost

  • the reduced solubility of phosphates and silicates.

It means that surfaces corrode more easily - which can damage pipes or concrete and glass surfaces, for example. Furthermore, soft water ensures that soap or products containing soap do not dissolve - a disadvantage that is particularly noticeable when washing hands or washing dishes.

For these reasons, it is important to keep the balance between limescale and descaling or between hard and soft water. The maximum content of calcium carbonate is a good guideline for this. It ensures that the advantages and disadvantages of descaling are balanced - and softened water can be used without restrictions.