Water Softeners And How They Work
Hard water is a water quality problem that affects the majority of homes and businesses in the U.S. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, over 85% of homeowners have some degree of water hardness. It results from high concentrations of minerals, primarily calcium carbonate, manganese, and magnesium, in groundwater. Water softeners are a filtration process that reduces the mineral content to soften the working water and eliminate hard water problems in your home or business.
The Problem with Hard Water
Although consuming hard water is not harmful to your health, it can be very destructive to water pipes, plumbing fixtures, hot water appliances like the water heater, washing machine, and dishwasher requiring frequent repairs premature replacements. Hard water causes the limescale deposits that damage the water heater and other appliances shortening their useful lifespan by as much as 50%. It also causes unsightly white, reddish-brown, and black stains on sinks, tubs, toilets, and faucets that require frequent cleaning to remove. The same stains that appear on your plumbing fixtures may also appear on laundry. Hard water is also responsible for those spotty dishes, silverware, and glassware.
Available Water Softener Systems – How They Work
There are different types of water softener systems and technologies, but ion exchange and reverse osmosis are the most popular.
Ion exchange is the most popular and effective water softener. It is a whole house water filtration system that works by replacing the hard mineral ions like calcium and manganese with soft sodium ions. It is typically connected to the point-of-entry for the main water supply in the home or business. A water softener system includes two tanks: a filtration tank containing the resin media and a brine tank containing the salt. The working water first flows through the filtration tank containing the resin media. The negatively charged hard water minerals stick like a magnet to the positively charged resins and are replaced with soft sodium ions. The hard minerals are removed from the water, and soft water flows through every faucet. The system will automatically drain the impurities, as well as clean and regenerate the resin media to provide a virtually unlimited supply
of soft water.
Reverse Osmosis is a sodium-free ultrafiltration system that removes up to 99% of impurities in the water, including heavy metals, minerals, chemicals, bacteria, and viruses. It works by using the existing water pressure in the home or business to filter water through a semi-permeable membrane. The membrane contains tiny micron spores that are only large enough to allow water molecules to pass through, effectively removing any impurities. With up to 99% of contaminants removed, clean and pure water is available at the tap. Reverse osmosis systems are typically installed at the point-of-use like under-the-sink in the kitchen, or anywhere purified drinking water is needed. A reverse osmosis drinking water system is often used in conjunction with a water softener system for a whole home water filtration and purification solution.