When rain falls the water is soft, by the time water reaches the taps its characteristics change. In Brentwood the water becomes harder. From raindrop to tap, the water passes through several different processes. First, there are the natural processes that take the water to the rivers and reservoirs, such as the nearby Hanningfield Reservoir. Then there are the manmade processes which prepare the water for drinking: filtering out contaminates such as particulates and bacteria. The processes that prepare the water make sure it is safe for drinking, but do not change the level of hardness; this is left up to the individual users.
Hard water has a higher level of calcium and magnesium compared to soft water. Hard water is defined as water where the calcium content is between 80 – 120 milligrams per litre (mg/l). Where the levels are greater than 120 mg/l the water is defined as very hard. According to Essex and Suffolk Water, the suppliers of water to Brentwood, the concentration of calcium in the water of the town is between 93 – 130 mg/l. This means the water is either hard or very hard. With hard water leaving residues in household appliances, and shortening their useful life, it is unsurprising many people, and companies, have installed water softeners in Brentwood.
Installing a water softener may help to extend the life of household equipment by reducing the harmful residues. Benefits of soft water also include increased lathering of soap and deterrents. Clothing and hair can also feel softer when washed in soft water. However, when installing a water softener, Essex and Suffolk Water advice is that at least one tap is left to provide water that remains untreated. The recommendation is made because water softeners change the hardness by replacing the calcium and magnesium in the water with sodium. With a tap providing untreated water for drinking and cooking, individuals who need a low sodium diet can be accommodated. Advice on what type of instillation is best can be obtained from local water softener installers in Brentwood.