How A Water Softener Works - What Is A Hard Water?
Over the years, there has been a significant increase in how much people request for the best water softeners in the market. This is not surprising because there has been a popular shift in ideology from hard water to soft water. Also, more people are getting the best water softeners to convert hard water into a soft one.
In this post, we will take the time to explain what hard water is and how a water softener works with it.
What do I need to know about hard water?
Hard water is a kind of water that contains dissolved compounds of magnesium, calcium, and, in certain cases, other trivalent and divalent metallic components. The quality is also regarded as water hardness. It should be understood that the term was initially applied to only waters that were quite hard when used for washing because of their soap-wasting characteristic of hard water.
How is this hardness measured and determined?
Water hardness is typically measured in grains per gallon (GPG). It can also be measured and determined in milligrams per liter (mg/L). When water is up to 1 GPG or 17.1 mg/L, it will be categorized as soft. On the other hand, water from 3.5 - 7.0 GPG (i.e. 60 to 120 ppm) is typically seen as moderately hard.
In general, how effective a water softener usually depends on the hardness level of the incoming water. As a result of this, whenever water is more than 100 GPG, it may become impossible for it to be softened completely.
Is hard water bad for your health?
Contrary to what a lot of people may think, hard water does not constitute any form of health hazard. As a matter of fact, the National Research Council (National Academy of Sciences) has stated that hard drinking water tends to contribute a little towards the overall magnesium and calcium human dietary needs.
What's the role of a water softener?
The role of the typical water softener is to get rid of magnesium and calcium ions that are present inside hard water and to replace them with sodium ions. While magnesium and calcium ions tend to affect the performance of household detergents and soaps, sodium doesn't.
As such, the process of softening the water enables soaps and detergents to erase diets and oils from wears and dishes in a more effective way. Similarly, it lets the soap be more slippery on the skin when you are washing. A lot of water softener manufacturers will even typically advise that you cut down on the number of detergents or soap you use to wash once you install a water softener.
How exactly does a water softener work?
The water softener unit is situated inside the household plumbing. It is always near where water enters the house for it to soften only water used for washing and drinking and not for irrigation. A water softener unit consists of plenty of cubic feet of plastic resin that is porous and covered with molecules that draw and bind to positive ions that are dissolved in the water.
Usually, sodium positive ions coat the resin; however, once the water starts flowing over the resin as it makes way to the washer or resin, the naturally occurring magnesium and calcium positive ions existing in hard water will stick to the charge on the resin.
Once this happens, sodium ions are released into the water to strike a balance of electrical charge on the resin. The vast majority of the sodium ions will be gradually released into the household water so the resin gets saturated with magnesium and calcium ions.
The water softener unit has to renew the resin every few days by rinsing it with a concentrated water solution. This usually happens in the middle of the night and the high concentration of sodium ions inside the saltwater solution displaces the magnesium and calcium ions in the resin, making the resin covered with sodium ions again. Now, the salty rinse water alongside the magnesium and calcium ions will be flushed down the drain after which the system will resume normal operation.
With the information provided above, you know understand the meaning of hard water and the mechanism behind the functions of a water softener.