Water with high mineral content is generally referred as hard water. Such water mainly contains a large amount of calcium and magnesium ions, while soft water is characterized by a low concentration of these minerals. Hard water can also contain bicarbonates and sulphates.
Hard water does not have any major detrimental effect on our health, but it does decrease the efficiency of some household appliances. It can clog and fur up water pipes ,water heaters and boiler heat exchangers quite frequently. The minerals in hard water can also react with soaps and detergent to form a sticky scum, which makes leaves streaking and residue on shower screens.
How do Water Softeners Work?
The three main components of water softener, are a vessel with resin, a brine tank and a control valve. Water softeners contain a resin, which are known as zeolites. The zeolites contain sodium ions, which they exchange with the calcium and magnesium ions when water passes through them.
The zeolites are actually negatively charged, while the calcium and magnesium ions are positively charged. So the negatively charged zeolites easily attract the positively charged ions and soften the hard water.
Over a period of time, these beads are required to be regenerated, when the sodium ions are completely exhausted and replaced by the calcium and magnesium ions. Regeneration is a simple procedure, where the resin is soaked in sodium ions.
The second component of a water softener is a brine tank and it contains salt either tablets or granules. This brine solution contains sodium and it is drawn into the resin tank, when the zeolites require regeneration, the water with excess calcium and magnesium is then flushed out of the tank.
The entire process of regeneration is regulated by the valve head. It determines the timing of regeneration either by a meter or older style time clock. When the resin has exhausted the sodium ions completely, the control valve reverses the flow of water, to drain out the accumulated debris. It draws the brine solution to regenerate the plastic beads, by coating them with salt or sodium, so that the process of water softening can be resumed once again.
The use of sodium or brine solution can lead to some health related issues, especially for individuals that are on a low sodium diet. A hard water drinking tap will eliminate any such problem
We would be happy to offer any advice with your water softener requirements.
PHUP® – ‘Aggressive waters’
Some waters can attack metals, especially Copper and Lead. This results in elevated levels of these metals in the water and failure of pipework and hot water cylinders. PHUP units are used to correct the aggressive nature of the water and thus eliminating the problem.