Like all other products water softeners are also a subject of intense debate between technologists about the effectiveness of salts used in them. The points discussed in these debates ranges from health concerns of the general population to plain simple economics of operation of the water softening unit.
Technologists that are more concerned of the health benefits or those that are worried about the health of the end users generally propagate the use of potassium chloride in the water softener instead of sodium chloride. However, those who are concerned about the costs point out that potassium chloride will significantly increase the cost of operation which will make water softeners unviable for use in the domestic settings.
There is no doubt that the per capita consumption of sodium amongst North Americans is one of the highest found anywhere in the world and hence there are people who intermittently raise their concerns about the use of sodium chloride in water softeners. While it is true that any thing taken in excess affects the smooth functioning of your body and in fact may even be detrimental to your health. However in some parts of America the water available is very hard and hence sodium chloride used in water softener is also quantitatively higher. To tide over this vexing issue some people advocate the use of potassium chloride in stead of sodium chloride.
The biggest advantage of using potassium based water softeners is that sodium use can be totally avoided. On the other hand most people are deficient in potassium and thus the use of potassium chloride in water softeners can reverse a few side effects of this potassium deficiency. Potassium backers also point to the fact that the water released in the environment after being treated with potassium is much more eco friendly. Plants and other flora need this important mineral in large quantities whereas excess sodium damages plant life. Some health conditions like hypertension, high blood pressure etc are also worsened with increase intake of sodium.
Researchers point out that there is no difference in the ion exchange process and hard minerals like calcium and magnesium are also attracted to the potassium thus softening the water.
As with sodium based water softeners potassium based water softeners also enable the use of less detergents and clothes and other utensils shine equally brighter. However, you as an individual will have to take the final call on this as potassium is comparatively expensive than sodium. But if protecting the family’s health and preserving the environment is your chief concern then potassium salts based water softeners is the perfect softener for you.