FAQ'S About Water Softener?
What Is A Water Softener? A water softener is a unit that is used to soften water, by removing the minerals that cause the water to be hard. The Drinking Water Dictionary defines a water softener as "a pressurized water treatment device in which hard water is passed through a bed of cation exchange media for the purpose of exchanging calcium and magnesium ions for sodium or potassium ions, thus producing softened water that is more desirable for laundering, bathing, and dishwashing. A water softener is a whole house solution for hard water; it is not a water filter.
What is hard water? When water is referred to as 'hard' this simply means, that it contains more minerals than ordinary water. These are especially the minerals calcium and magnesium. 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. The best way to soften water is to use a water softener unit and connect it directly to the water supply.
What makes water "hard"? Groundwater dissolves rocks and minerals releasing calcium and magnesium ions that cause water to be hard. These dissolved ions give hard water its characteristics.
Are there any risks to hard water? For many uses, hard water does not cause any problems. Hard water is not damaging to your health either. There are a number of negative effects to hard water, for instance: soap does not mix with hard water very well, when hard water is heated the hardness minerals can plug the pipes and hardness minerals often interfere with industrial processes. That is why hard water is often softened.
Can one measure water hardness inline? Yes, although the measurement system is mainly applied in industrial water softeners.
Which industries attach value to hardness of water? In many industrial applications, such as the drinking water preparation, in breweries and in sodas, but also for cooling- and boiler feed water the hardness of the water is very important.
Why is water softening applied? Water softening is an important process, because the hardness of water in households and industries is reduced during this process. When water is hard, it can clog pipes and soap will dissolve in it less easily. 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. Water softening means expanding the life span of household machine, such as laundry machines, and 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 impurities will softeners remove? Water softeners will remove nearly all the calcium and magnesium from the raw water during the softening process. Softeners will also remove up to 10 PPM of iron and manganese. Water supplies with high levels of iron and manganese (greater than 10 PPM may need pretreatment to prolong the lifespan of a water softener.
Health risks associated with softened water During the softening process sodium is released from the exchange media into the output water. For every grain of hardness removed from water, 8 mg/1 (PPM) of sodium is added. People on restricted sodium intake diets should account for increased levels of sodium in softened water. Your family physician should be consulted. Sodium intake from softened water can be avoided by leaving one kitchen tap unsoftened for drinking and cooking.
Advantages of water softeners Softeners offer:
1) cleaner, softer feeling clothes.
2) longer life of appliances including washing machine, dishwasher, and water heater.
3) less use of household cleaning products, such as detergents, as well as personal cleanliness products, like shampoo.
4) reduction of water spotting.
Disadvantages of water softeners
1) Softened water is not recommended for watering house plants, lawns and gardens due to its sodium content.
2) water used in recharging a water softener may over load or reduce the effectiveness of small septic or sewer systems.
3) there may be health risks from sodium intake
4) softened water is not recommended for steam irons or evaporative coolers. The best choice for such appliances is distilled water or water from a reverse osmosis unit.
Items to consider when purchasing a softener 1. Test your water to determine the hardness and other impurities that may need to be removed.
2. Determine how much softened water your household needs per day, per year.
3. What type and size of softener will fit your situation?
4. How easy is the softener to clean and/or repair & Will the dealer provide service?
5. Choose a reputable dealer get guarantees in writing and read them thoroughly.
6. Beware of manufacturer's advertising that is too good to be true.
How often should one add salt to a softener? Salt is usually added to the reservoir during regeneration of the softener. The more often a softener is regenerated, the more often salt needs to be added. Usually water softeners are checked once a month. To guarantee a satisfactory production of soft water, the salt level should be kept at least half-full at all times.
Can salt from softening installations enter drinking water? Salt does not have the opportunity to enter drinking water through softening installations. The only purpose of salt in a water softener is to regenerate the resin beads that take the hardness out of water.
Is softened water any help for dry skin conditions? There are cases to be noted, in which people with dry skin conditions have benefited from water softening, because soft water is kinder to the hair and skin.
When does a softener resin need replacement? When the water does not become soft enough, one should first consider problems with the salt that is used, or mechanical malfunctions of softener components. Through experience we know that most softener resins and ion exchange resins last about twenty to twenty-five years and many need little maintenance, besides filling them with salt occasionally.
Does a softener brine tank need cleaning? Usually it is not necessary to clean out a brine tank, unless the salt product being used is high in water-insoluble matter, or there is a serious malfunction of some sort. If there is a build-up of insoluble matter in the resin, the reservoir should be cleaned out to prevent softener malfunction.
Can waste from a water softener be discharged directly in the garden? As brine alters the osmotic pressure that plants rely upon to regulate water needs, direct discharge of either sodium or potassium chloride brine should be avoided.