Tap water contains minerals such as calcium, lime, and magnesium. If these minerals are high in water, it becomes hard and unhealthy to drink.
Water softeners extract contaminants that affect water hardness -one of the most challenging water quality issues that homeowners encounter. Hard water can damage appliances, leave soap scums in the bathroom and kitchen, and dry out hair and skin.
In the United States, more than 85% of people use hard water for cooking, cleaning, and bathing. Water softeners play a vital role. A water softener can prevent replacing prematurely damaged water heaters, chipped faucets, and the occasional removal of soap residue.
Buying a water softener for home use can save time, energy, and money and protect your home and appliances.
What is a Water Softener?
A water softener is an in-house filtration device that eliminates magnesium salts and calcium from the ion exchange liquid. Hard water has caused severe damage to modern homes.
Scale builds up and clogs pipes, which, in turn, reduces water pressure. The scale significantly shortens the life of household appliances such as dishwashers, coffee makers, and ice machines. Hard water can damage hot water equipment.
If there is no water softener, the clothes appear dull after wash and require additional detergent chemicals. Hard water also causes streaks and stains on dishes after washing in the dishwasher. A layer of scum will form on the shower curtain, and soap and shampoo will not foam.
A hard water bath will make your skin itchy and dry, while your hair will be lifeless and dull. The amount of time, energy, and money it takes to eliminate the harmful side effects of hard water are dizzying.
Filtered water can be very safe and also healthy for you. Want to know how? See the benefits of filtered water and how it is an easy way to achieve clean living.
How do Water Softeners Work?
As hard water reaches the mineral tank, it runs across a bed of pellets of spherical resin. These beads, made primarily of polystyrene, contain sodium ions. Resin balls are anionic, which means they are negatively charged.
The minerals calcium and magnesium are positively charged, which converts them to cations. Because of the opposite polarity’s attraction, the mineral’s surface charge is drawn by the resin balls’ positive charge. When hard water flows into the resin, the balls capture and extract mineral ions from the water.
When the pearls trap mineral ions, sodium ions are released. The resin column removes all the hard water from the mineral water tank while the softened water flows into your home.
Choosing the perfect water filtration system is not so easy as it sounds. Here is some experts’ advice to choose the right water filtration system for your home.
Components of a Water Softener
Three elements make up the water softener: the control valve, the mineral reservoir, and the brine container. These three elements work together to extract minerals from hard water during the regeneration, track water flows, and disinfect the device regularly.
The mineral tank is a container where rough water is softened. Through the water tank, the water line pours rough water. The water flows, removing the hardened magnesium and calcium ions from the resin pellets. The water flows from the soft water tank, flows through the pipe, and flows to the appliances.
The Control Valve
The control valve tests the quantity of water that comes through the household from the mineral tank. The valve is fitted with a sensor to monitor the volume of water streaming into the mineral tank. When hard water passes from the mineral deposit, the resin balls swap sodium ions for the ions’ hardness.
This weakens the resin’s potential to soften the water adequately. The control valve will immediately trigger a regeneration period until the balls’ mineral level is too high to begin extracting magnesium and calcium ions. This optimum capability is pre-programmed into the control valve’s on-board processor.
The control valve depends on many considerations, like the house’s size, the number of residents, and the water quality. The control valve is an on-demand controller that can make your water softener extremely efficient.
The Brine Tank
The brine tank helps regenerate the water softening system. The salt tank is filled with a high concentration salt (or potassium) solution to restore the resin balls’ positive charge.
When the control valve registers a decrease in the resin’s softening capacity, the heavy saline solution is taken from the storage tank and washed through the resin in the mineral tank.
If the salt in the salt tank runs out, the water flowing through the machine will no longer soften.
Is Soft Water Safe to Drink?
Soft water is safe to drink. During the ion exchange process, the resin beads release sodium into the water as they trap the minerals that cause the hardness. However, the sodium content of softened water is not harmful.
It is much lower than people usually imagine. Suppose you have medium hardness water, like 5 grains per gallon (about 86 ppm). In that case, you can only add 37 mg of sodium per liter of water. This is less than 2 percent of the daily average salt consumption.
A slice of white bread contains approximately 170 mg of sodium, and a slice of pizza contains about 640 mg. Therefore, in relative terms, the amount of sodium added to the water softener is negligible.
The level of sodium applied to the water softener sequentially depends on the decreasing volume of mineral hardness. The softener releases two milligrams of sodium for each milligram of water hardness.
If you live in an environment with extremely hard water levels, this becomes a problem. If the degree of water hardness is greater than 400 ppm, you must use a reverse osmosis device to process the water to drink and cook.
The stream is forced into a semi-permeable filter by the reverse osmosis system, replacing nearly all the insoluble impurities and salt in the water.
If your doctor advises reducing sodium consumption due to issues with your blood pressure or kidneys, you may consider adding a reverse osmosis device to soften your water.
For some people, soft water may seem unnecessary. In the eyes of others, it seems like a luxury.
However, if you are one of the 85% of homeowners who spend countless hours descaling their toilets and showers, or if you need to replace your water heater or dishwasher in record time, then you should consider a water softening system to improve the quality of water your family accesses.