Tap Water in Germany
If you are thinking about the quality of the tap water then let us tell you that the quality of the tap water is so good. It is very controlled in Germany because of the strict German rules for tap water instead of bottled water. Do not worry if you are considering the tap water as your drinking water. You can drink it without any fear regarding your stomach, skin, and hair problems.
You will find a lot of people who do not prefer to drink tap water but many people in Germany avoid bottled water. If you discuss the reasons of preferring tap water to bottled water or bottled water to tap water, you will come up with a number of factors as given below;
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Can We Drink Tab Water (Leitungswasser) in Germany?
Most of the Germans do not like to offer piped water to someone as it does not feel good.
Perception of Wealth
You will find a class of Germans who try to show their wealth by using bottled water instead of tap water.
German restaurants offer bottled water instead of piped water. They offer their drinks to customers and earn handsome profits. If you're moving to Germany from a country where you always get water for free while dining in the restaurant, you will be shocked to see the bill where your water will have some charges. It might be rude if you ask for the tap water in a restaurant in Germany.
It is the one of the reasons people prefer to drink tap water to bottled water or bottled water to tap water. Some people do not like tap water because of the taste of the chalk in the tap water but others might like it, so it totally depends on the taste of a person choosing a water to drink.
Hot Water in Germany
If you are visiting a restaurant with your friends or family, any of you, your friends, or your family members may need the hot water before, while, or after the meal. When you or your friends ask for a cup of hot water, your German waiter will make an apology as German restaurants can't generate a bill in their billing system against hot water. You will not find the hot water on your menu card as well and you will be unable to place an order for the hot water. However, you may place an order for a cup of tea. If you don't want tea and need hot water only, we came up with an idea through which you can enjoy your hot water even in Germany. While you are placing an order for a cup of hot water, place an order for a cup of tea and ask the waiter to not put the tea bag in the cup. In this way, you can enjoy your cup of hot water.
How to Define Hard Water ?
Water that has a high quantity of minerals and similar content like calcium, iron, and potassium is known as hard water.
Hardness of The Water
Hardness depends on the level of chalk in the water in your area. Not all German areas have the similar chalk level. Few areas have a lot of chalk and the chalk level is a scale that determines the hardness of the water. Water hardness is measured in dH, which is the abbreviation of degree of hardness. This scale starts from zero degree of hardness to 21 degree of hardness. Zero degree of hardness means softness and 21 degree of hardness is the maximum level of hardness. You can ask a water supplier in your area about the exact level of hardness of the water. Overall, the quality of the water is constantly monitored and controlled.
Hardness of the water depends on the other factors too. When the water flows through the soil and ground layers to the wells and taps, minerals and other elements add up and get mixed in the water. Other elements include calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, sodium, and chloride. These elements define the hardness of the water. Taste of the water also changes as the hardness of the water increases. If there are high levels of minerals, hardness will be higher too. These elements are somehow necessary for your health and should be part of the human diet. Iron provides energy to the body cells and calcium gives strength to the bones and teeth.
Different Levels of Hardness of The Water
There are three different grades of hardness of the water as listed below;
- Soft water
- Medium water
- Hard water
Let's know a bit about these grades of water hardness.
If the water is below 8.4 degrees of hardness, then it is soft water. Medium grade water hardness falls between 8.4 degree of hardness and 14 degrees of hardness. Hard water is above 14 degrees of hardness. The level of hardness and degrees of hardness vary from region to region.
Advantages of Soft Water
There are a lot of advantages associated with the soft water as mentioned below.
- Soft water gives greater protection to the resources, household appliances, and environment.
- Soft water maintains the value of your land and real estate.
- You can enjoy a different and good taste for your tea and coffee if you use soft water in their preparation.
- Soft water saves your time and money while cleaning your house and washing clothes.
- Your skin will have no rash, itching, or dryness after using soft water.
Disadvantages of Hard Water
Using hard water may cause various problems as given below;
- Hard water may cause dry skin and hair issues when you take shower. Hard water may cause itching and dryness to your skin. Hard water contains a lot of minerals so the existence of minerals in water decreases the moisture of your skin.
- Housekeeping is also difficult with the use of hard water. They affect your electrical appliances you use in your kitchen. Appliances may include your coffee machine, dish washer, washing machine, water boiler, and other appliances. You may feel that your house is not clean after a few hours of cleaning it with hard water. This is because of the level of chalk included in the hard water. The floor, taps, shower, sink, tiles, everywhere there is dirt no matter how much and how many times I clean them.
- High levels of calcium may clog the water pipes and you will face certain issues regarding water pressure and flow. Calcium impacts the human body too by blocking the skin pores. When your skin pores are clogged, your skin will be irritable.
- You will find lime scale in your toilets and the scale also settles on your bathtubs, taps, dishes, sinks, shower enclosures, and wash basins.
- If your skin is sensitive, you may feel it irritating to have skin rash, dry, broken, or bleeded hands especially in winters. This can be serious and might need medical assistance as it is so painful. You should use a hand lotion after every wash to avoid dryness and cracks on your hands. These problems may depend on the type of skin you have.
- Washing clothes is a bit challenging because you need to use more soap or detergent if you have hard water. This may have a negative impact on your clothes.
- Hard water contains a lot of minerals and other elements that make it difficult to use soap or detergent. Hardness does not allow the soap to lather.
What To Use Instead of Tap Water?
If you are new to Germany and want to avoid tap water just like many Germans who don't prefer tap water, you can use various alternatives. Instead of these alternatives, you can open your tap for a few seconds before you get the water. Many Germans do this in the morning so the water runs out from the pipes that stayed for long. If you still don't want to drink tap water, you can use any of the alternatives given below;
Sparkling water is one of the alternatives of tap water. Most of the Germans like sparkling water so they do not prefer tap water or still water. Few find the taste of sparkling water so good to quench their thirst. You can buy sparkling water from stores and can make your own sparkling water too. If you want to make your own sparkling water, you can buy a water carbonator and make your water at home. It will save you the cost of buying bottled water. Remember that the quality of the tap water is better and controlled as compared to the quality of the bottled water. Another benefit of making your sparkling water at home is the adjustment of carbonation according to your taste. You can use both tap water or filtered water in the machine to make your sparkling water.
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There are few areas in Germany where there is a high level of chalk. You may like the taste of soft water, but others might like the hard water. You can use water filters to drink the tap water. Water filters are available to change the taste of the water and make it soft for those who love to drink soft water instead of hard water. There are a lot of water filters that have a timer to see the suitable time to change the water filter.
If you have a coffee machine, then having a water filter is a very good option to make your coffee because filtered water is good for coffee machines. Filtered water will not have a lot of chalk so the maintenance of your coffee machine will be easy. You must keep in mind that the filters typically extract the chalk, dirt, and minerals like iron and magnesium from the water during the filtration process.
You can use filtered water for taking baths. Shower filters are also available in the market that are filtering devices to place between the head of the shower and water inlet.
Disinfected water is another option to drink instead of hard water. If you are living in a region where disinfection is necessary, you must prefer disinfected water to avoid any medical issues. Disinfection is done with the help of chloride in specific regions. The process of disinfecting the water enhances the quality of the water.
As we mentioned earlier, Germany has strict rules to control the tap water as compared to the bottled water. If you check the label of a bottled water, you will see a date when the water was controlled last time. However, tap water is often controlled from time to time. If you are concerned about the level of carbonation, you can see the label on the bottle. There are three levels; mild, middle, or strong. Bottles are also made with glass or plastic. Avoid using plastic bottles and prefer to use glass bottles.
If you are a tea lover, you would most probably love to drink tea prepared with soft water. You can convert your hard water into soft water by boiling it for almost two to three times. Let it cool at room temperature after boiling it and you will see all deposits at the bottom of the pot in which you boiled the water. These deposits are not unhealthy for you as these are the important elements your body needs. It is highly recommended to use boiled water in your steam irons that is more suitable due to its changed pH value.
Here are a few important instructions you must keep in mind for your benefit and comfort.
- Remember that the chalk is not harmful to your health because of the presence of magnesium and calcium in it. Our body needs a specific level of minerals that includes magnesium and calcium.
- If you hear that the hard water will cause hair problems, consider it as a rumour. Hair loss or other hair issues may be caused because of many other reasons like stress, hormonal changes, and radiation therapy. Other reasons might include too hot showers during winter. If you have sensitive hair and a dry scalp, and water does not suit you, then you can use a shower filter in your bathroom. When you visit the market to buy a shower filter, you will find cheap shower filters too. A few shower filters have a function of pressure that saves water, electricity consumption, and money.
- If you hear that the hard water will form a stone in your body that will need surgery in the future, consider it a rumour. There is no scientific evidence that hard water causes stones in human organs.
- Use the most economical citric acid or vinegar to clean your water boiler instead of buying expensive agents. There is no harmful chemical in the vinegar so it is a good option for cleaning your water boilers. Lemon, vinegar, and citric acids can also be used in coffee machines to decalcify them.
- To reduce the damage to hard water to your washing machine and the clothes, you must buy a water softener from the market to use in your washing machine. You can use a water softener to decrease the smell and dirt from the clothes and the washing machine.
- You can buy a special salt from German supermarkets to use for your dishwashers. These special salts soften the water and prevent residues and deposits on the pots, dishes, and dishwasher.
- There are a lot of shampoos available in the market to deal with the hardness of the water. These special shampoos neutralize the hard water and decrease the damage to your hair, skin, hands, and other body organs.
- In case of damaged skin, rough patches, itching on the skin, and rash on the hands, you must use gloves while using hard water. Prefer to buy a pair of reusable kitchen gloves rather than buying disposable gloves.
- We all use heating systems to warm ourselves during winter. These heating systems dry the air more and hurt the skin badly. You must use a wet cloth on the heating system to enhance the moisture in the air.
- If you still are not comfortable, and you are worried about the limescale and potential contaminants in the tap water, use the above-mentioned alternatives instead of tap water.
So, this is it! You know everything about tap water in Germany and related alternatives. Remember that tap water is healthier as it contains minerals and it is not processed so there is no reason that you should avoid tap water and buy bottled water. If you use tap water, you will save both money, time, and the environment.