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Water Softener

Water Softening Process

What is "Hard Water"?

The presence of calcium (Ca) or magnesium (Mg) in water results in that water being termed "hard". Magnesium and calcium are positively charged ions. Because of their presence, other positively charged ions will dissolve less easily in hard water than in water that does not contain calcium and magnesium. These mineral ions in the water react with heat, metallic plumbing, and chemical agents such as detergents to reduce the cleaning effectiveness of laundry, dish washing, and bathing.

When water is hard, it can clog pipes and soap will dissolve in it less easily. It also causes a higher risk of lime scale deposits in household water systems. Due to this lime scale build-up, pipes are blocked and the efficiency of hot boilers and tanks is reduced. This increases the cost of domestic water heating by about 15% to 20% percent!

Water hardness often is expressed as grains of hardness per gallon of water (gpg) or milligrams of hardness per liter of water (mg/L). Table below, adapted from the Water Quality Association (WQA), shows hardness classifications. Hardness ions are typically combined with sulfate, chloride, carbonate, or bicarbonate ions. For consistency, concentrations are generally converted to the equivalent concentration as calcium carbonate (CaCO3) and expressed in terms of hardness as calcium carbonate.

US water hardness map
US water hardness map ©U.S. Geological Survey

Water Classificationmg/l or ppmgrains/gal
Soft0 - 17.10 - 1
Slightly hard17.1 - 601 - 3.5
Moderately hard60 - 1203.5 - 7.0
Hard120 - 1807.0 - 10.5
Very Hard180 & over10.5 & over

What is "Water Softening"?

Water softeners are water systems that remove positively charged ions, mainly calcium (Ca2+) and magnesium (Mg2+), from water. 2 major types exist: salt and salt free water softeners. Salt water softeners substitute hadness ions with salt. Salt free water softeners use specially designed media to either remove calcium from water, or to convert it to something other than salt, such as nano calcium.

Some water softeners require a backwash, and can come with a manual, semi-automatic and automatic backwashing mechanism to discharge brine and/or hardness.

How to Purchase a Water Softener?

There are simple guidelines to follow when choosing a water softener for your home:
  • Use proven technology
  • Buy a recognized brand from a respectable dealer, or a supplier that you trust
  • Make sure you can tell that the unit is working properly
  • Check to see if equipment has been certified by a third-party testing organization, such as the Water Quality Association (WQA)
  • Make sure you understand all hidden costs for installation and maintenance
  • Have your water tested before and after installing equipment
  • Choose the right water softener equipment - make sure you don't overbuy!

Hard water waste can cost hundreds of dollars per year, as it affects laundry operations, water heater operation, household cleaning and the life expectancy of plumbing. When it all adds up - hard water is something that can be done without. The solution is as simple as buying water softener.

Click here to Purchase Water Softener Systems »


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