Understanding Water Softener :
 
What is Hard Water ?

When water is referred to as 'hard', this simply means that, it contains more minerals than ordinary water, especially calcium and magnesium. The degree of hardness of the water increases as more calcium and magnesium dissolves.

Magnesium and calcium are positively charged ions. Because of their presence, other positively charged ions will dissolve less easily in hard water than in water that does not contain calcium and magnesium. This is the cause of the fact that soap doesn't really dissolve in hard water
What is Water Softening?
When water contains a significant amount of calcium and magnesium, it is called hard water. Hard water is known to clog pipes and to complicate soap and detergent dissolving in water.

Water softening is a technique that serves the removal of the ions that cause the water to be hard, in most cases calcium and magnesium ions. Iron ions may also be removed during softening.

Why is Water Softening Applied?

Hard water causes a higher risk of lime scale deposits in household water systems. Due to this lime scale build-up, pipes are blocked and the efficiency of hot boilers and tanks is reduced. This increases the cost of Domestic water heating by about fifteen to twenty percent. Another negative effect of lime scale is that it has damaging effects on household machineries.

Water softener expands the life span of household machines like laundry machines, as well as the life span of pipelines. It also contributes to the improved working and longer lifespan of solar heating systems, air conditioning units and many other water-based applications.

What does a Water Softener do ?
Water softeners are specific ion exchangers that are designed to remove ions, which are positively charged. Softeners mainly remove calcium (Ca2+) and magnesium (Mg2+) ions. Calcium and magnesium are often referred to as 'hardness minerals'. Softeners are sometimes even applied to remove iron. The softening devices are able to remove up to five milligrams per litre (5 mg/L) of dissolved iron. Softeners can operate automatic, semi-automatic, or manual. Each type is rated on the amount of hardness. it can remove before regeneration is necessary. A water softener collects hardness minerals within its conditioning tank and from time to time regeneration it flushes them away to drain.
Ion exchangers are often used for water softening. When an ion exchanger is applied for water softening, it will replace the calcium and magnesium ions in the water with other ions, for instance sodium or potassium. The exchanger ions are added to the ion exchanger reservoir as sodium and potassium salts (NaCl and KCl).
 
How long does a Water Softener last ?
 

A good water softener will last many years. Softeners that were supplied in the 1980's may still work, and many need little maintenance, besides filling them with salt occasionally.

 
How does a Water Softener Work ?
 
>> The body of a water softener is a tank filled with resin beads. These beads are covered with sodium ions. As hard water passes through, the resin beads act like a magnet, attracting the calcium and magnesium ions (hardness) in exchange for the sodium ions.
>> Eventually the resin beads become saturated with mineral ions and have to be “re-charged.” This process is called regeneration, and is conducted by the control valve on the top of the tank. The control valve is the brain of the system.
>> During regeneration, a strong brine solution is flushed through the resin tank, bathing the resin beads in a stream of sodium ions which replace the accumulated calcium and magnesium ions (hardness).
>> The brine solution, carrying the displaced calcium and magnesium ions, is then flushed down the drain by freshwater. The regenerated resin beads can be used again and again.

FYI: Hard water measures from 1 gpg (grains per gallon) to well in excess of 100 gpg. The Environmental Protection Agency recommends using water not exceeding 7 gpg.

 
 

 

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