Imagine you wake up one day and couldn’t drink coffee, do your laundry, cook food, or even shower. This could happen because of the unavailability or unsuitability of water. Water is the most essential element for all living matter on the planet.
Did you know that 60% of the human body is water?
If that isn’t enough to convince you of the gigantic role water plays in our lives, then the fact that the planet you live on is 71% water should suffice.
What’s Wrong With Our Water?
Around 85% of the United States doesn’t have access to standard quality water. And no matter how relaxed you are while reading this article, you could be part of this 85%.
Have you ever noticed the limescale buildup on your kitchenware? Or the scaly marks on your favorite china? All of these are clear signs that you aren’t a part of the small lucky percentage of people who have access to naturally occurring soft water.
If that’s you, you need to read on…
What Does Hard Water Mean?
The main characteristic that differentiates hard water from soft water is the presence or absence of minerals.
In most cases, the water that is obtained or sourced from natural bodies like rivers and lakes is soft. Water hardness appears when water that is originally soft comes in contact with subterranean minerals.
A major example of a water-hardening mineral source is limestone, which is mainly composed of calcium and magnesium. Its presence and abundance are acknowledged all over the United States.
As the water comes into contact with limestone, its two minerals (calcium and magnesium) leach off into the water becoming a source of hardness. In most cases, “the more contact time, the harder the water.” This phenomenon explains the different levels of hardness observed in different areas.
Levels Of Water Hardness
As discussed above, hard water levels are different in different areas.
Water passes through many underground routes, which means that it is easier for it to absorb minerals along the way.
Here is a classification of the hardness of water based on the concentration of minerals present in it.
- Soft Water: Water with 0 to 60 mg/L (milligrams per liter) of calcium carbonate is characterized as soft
- Moderate Hard Water: Water having 61 to 120 mg/L of mineral content is known as moderately hard
- Hard Water: Water with 121 to 180 mg/L of mineral is considered Hard Water
- Very Hard Water: Water having a mineral concentration higher than 180 mg/L is considered Very Hard Water
The Ultimate Solution:
So what is the solution to prevent major property damage and long-term plumbing issues in your building caused by the notorious hardness of water?
Well, a simple and convenient solution is water softening.
A water softener is basically a machine. The market has a wide variety of water softeners to choose from. Other than their distinguishing qualities, the basic mechanism of a water softener is simple and is explained below.
Parts Of A Water Softener:
The best water softener or an off-the-shelf model from your local hardware store, any water softener consists of the following parts:
- water softener tank
- brine tank
- fill tube
- discharge hose
- control valve
Working Of A Water Softener:
The water softener tank is narrow and has a modest height. It is connected to the water supply source of the building. The fill tube has a small diameter, and its purpose is to provide a connection between the water softener tank and the water brine tank.
The discharge hose is connected to the softening tank. From this tank, it provides the fluid with a direction to either a dry well or a drainpipe. The softener tank contains resin masses. These are tightly packed and sealed inside the softener tank.
The brine tank has a covering that is removable. The tank can be filled with salt pellets, or another option is potassium chloride pallets.
- Water enters the water softener tank.
- It moves through the resin bead mass present in the tank.
- The minerals carry a positive charge on them, which is attracted by the opposite negative charge of the resin beads. This occurs by ion exchange phenomenon.
- The resin has now attracted the minerals, and they are no longer dissolved in the water.
- The water which has now been softened can move away.
- Once the maximum capacity of the resin beads has been achieved, and no more minerals can be attracted by it, it’s time for flushing.
- The water softeners come with an attached computer system.
- This automatically calculates the amount of water that has already been flushed.
- The quantity of water that can be cleared of minerals in one cycle is fed into the system.
- Once this limit is reached, the computer automatically shifts the system into a refreshing and flush mode.
- The salt-infused water moves from the brine tank in the direction of the softener tank.
- This is enabled by the fill tube.
- The salty water enables the cleaning of the loaded resin beds.
- The flushing occurs as the minerals, and other agents are removed, and the water is then drained through the discharge hose.
- Now the process of cleaning and flushing the resin bed has been completed.
- In the next step, the system will revert to its original function of softening the incoming hard water.
- The fate of the potassium chloride and salt pellets is that they get dissolved in the brine tank.
- This will eventually require a replacement of the pellets once a certain amount of time has passed.
- The resin bed is permanently sealed and does not require replacement.
- The frequency of pellet replacement is directly proportional to the quantity of water being softened.
Types Of Water Softeners
Salt-based softeners: These machines remove calcium and magnesium from the water supply with the help of a negatively charged resin bed.
Salt-free water softeners: These treatment system works by crystallizing the calcium and magnesium found in hard water.
Hard water is a harmful entity that causes irritation to the skin, damages household items, and causes plumbing as well as pipeline issues. Hence make the wise decision of investing in a water softener for long-term safety.