According to the U.S. Geological Survey, more than 85 percent of the United States geography has hard water. While many consumers use a water softener so they can enjoy the benefits of soft water, there is some confusion about whether softened water is safe to drink.
Some consumers are concerned that drinking softened water will increase the level of sodium in their diet. Despite the myth, softening your water will not result in salty-tasting water. Sodium bicarbonate, which is different from sodium chloride (table salt), is formed through the water softening process.
The amount of sodium added to water from the water softening process depends on the hardness of the water supply. When very hard water (greater than 10 grains of hardness per gallon) is softened, only 20 to 40 mg of sodium is added to every 8 ounces of water. For comparison, an 8-ounce glass of low-fat milk contains about 120 mg of sodium, a 12-ounce can of diet soda contains from 20 to 70 mg, and an 8-ounce glass of orange juice contains about 25 mg.
The majority of the sodium in consumers' diets—more than 90 percent—comes from sources such as processed foods and table salt. The recommended daily allowance for sodium consumption is 2,400 mg. Drinking two quarts of softened water would only add only about 240 mg of sodium to your diet. Individuals concerned about sodium in their diet should consult their physician about effective means of reducing overall sodium consumption, which will probably involve diet change. It is unlikely that a physician would discourage anyone from drinking softened water.
Of course, many of our water softener customers also use a drinking water system in their kitchens for the best combination of water conditioning methods.