Household bacteria can be a serious issue affecting your health. In fact, the very steps we take to eliminate harmful bacteria may be spreading it. Everyone washes their fresh fruits and vegetables, but the water in your pipes may contain even more bacteria, especially if you have hard water.
The problem isn’t only in the kitchen. When you take a hot shower, the steam you are inhaling can also contain the same microbial contamination that is in the rest of your plumbing, exposing you to pathogenic bacteria such as Legionella, which can cause Legionnaire’s disease.
The piping used in home plumbing, whether it is copper or PVC, has very smooth interior surfaces which don’t permit bacteria to settle and grow. However, hard water, which contains high levels of calcium and magnesium, results in scale formation on the interior surfaces of those pipes which provides a perfect home for bacteria.
Researchers at the School of Sustainable Engineering at Arizona State University found that bacteria may grow at the same rate in pipes filled with both hard and soft scale. This is important new information as some forms of water conditioners produce this soft scale.
The only solution to this problem is to remove the scaling in the pipes entirely, which only a traditional salt-based water softener can do. This type of water softener works by running the incoming hard water through a resin filter that traps the calcium and magnesium in the water, as well as any iron, manganese or radium ions, and replaces them with sodium ions.
Bacterial growth in plumbing is well documented and can cause serious hygienic problems in water systems, especially in hospital buildings and hotels. Factors like water flow and plumbing materials influence the growth rate of bacteria, but once it’s in your pipes, it’s distributed throughout your home each time you turn on the faucet.
The fact is that salt not only helps remove and prevent the hard water scaling in home plumbing, it is also a natural antibiotic. Throughout history, people have used salt as a vital food preservative to keep bacteria from growing on cured meats and cheeses. New research form the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine shows that salt acts as an antibiotic in the body as well. In the case of a skin infection, the body naturally moves more salt to that spot to fight the infection. The extra salt also helps the body’s defensive systems more effectively fight infection.
If you have hard water, there are significant benefits to having a traditional salt-based water softener in your home. Use a home water testing kit to test for water hardness yourself, or have a water treatment professional do the testing. For more information on water softening and salt health please visit www.saltinstitute.org.