How Does a Water Softener System Work?

Your water supply often has many different types of compounds. Over the years, manufacturers have developed many systems to remove impurities. Softening water is one of the systems that can remove minerals in the water. In this article, we’ll look at parts of a water softener and how they work.

Hard Water and the Benefits of a Water Softener

Hard water contains considerable amounts of minerals such as magnesium, calcium, and sulfates. It usually comes from underground sources with gypsum or limestone deposits. In some locations like Greenwood, the levels of hardness are, on average, 342 PPM.

Water quality experts consider levels over 180 PPMs to be very hard. In Indiana, water comes from several sources such as rivers, lakes, springs, and wells. Most of these sources will have large amounts of mineral deposits.

Indeed, hard water can be beneficial to your health. According to the World Health Organization, it can serve as a supplementary source of calcium and magnesium. But the minerals can have adverse effects on your plumbing and home appliances.

One of the biggest problems with minerals in the water is that they encourage scale buildup. Calcium and magnesium compounds can deposit on the inside of your plumbing pipes or water heater. Water heating equipment can accumulate scale faster due to the energy supplied by the heat.

Additionally, water hardness makes it harder for soap to lather. As a result, you end up wasting a lot of soap, which leaves deposits of soap scum. You’ll need more water to clean and rinse dishes and clothes. Hard water may also leave watermarks on glasses and kitchen cutlery.

How Does a Water Softener Work?

Since hard water has many adverse effects on your plumbing and equipment, it’s necessary to soften the water. Water softening is the process that removes calcium and magnesium ions from the water. There are several methods used to remove hardness and soften the water.

One of the most common methods is the ion exchange resin process. The process involves using sodium to eliminate calcium and magnesium ions. The water goes through specially designed beads as they absorb the ions and release sodium into the water.

The amount of sodium your softener will release is negligible. However, there are resin beads that use potassium for people who have concerns about consuming sodium. But the potassium resin beads are more expensive to recharge compared to sodium salts.

Another water softening technique is reverse osmosis. The reverse-osmosis method pushes water through a semipermeable membrane at high pressures. Reverse osmosis equipment is portable and can provide water for people in remote locations with an unreliable water supply.

The advantage of the reverse-osmosis method is that it removes many different types of molecules. Not only does it remove mineral compounds, but also biological agents and chemicals that can be harmful to your health. It is one of the most popular technologies for softening water for residential and industrial applications.

Water Softening and Regeneration

For ion exchange methods, regeneration is a maintenance process that restores its capacity to soften water. The most common agents for recharging the resin are sodium chloride and sodium hydroxide. If you have a potassium-based system, you will need potassium hydroxide for regeneration.

Your water softening equipment will often have a brine tank with the salt you can use to regenerate the resin. You can refill the tank with pellets of sodium chloride or potassium hydroxide. Even though you have to recharge the resin beads, they can last up to 20 years.

For reverse-osmosis systems, maintaining the pressure of the tank is critical. Most water softening units have a pressure of about 8 PSI (Pounds per Square Inch). Without the pressure, the water going through to your home will have considerable quantities of minerals. If you detect faults in your equipment, talk to our certified team at Peterman Heating, Cooling & Plumbing.

What Do Water Softeners Remove?

The ion exchange water-softening method primarily removes calcium and magnesium ions. But it can also remove ferrous iron from the water supply. Iron can leave stains on your clothes and bathtub. However, this method can only remove iron if it is in relatively small quantities. Otherwise, the iron will have time to oxidize and become insoluble.

For insoluble molecules, bacteria, and chemicals, the reverse-osmosis method is often more effective. There are many different types of membranes used in reverse-osmosis systems. Some can filter calcium carbonate, iron oxide, and particles of contaminants.

A reverse-osmosis system may also include additional features to ensure the filtration process is thorough. The equipment may incorporate activated carbon filters to capture chemicals that may have escaped during the first filtration stage. Adding UV lamps eliminates any microbes that could still be in the water.

The type of filtration system you choose will largely depend on the impurities in the water. Our certified team of professionals can conduct a water quality test to ascertain the compounds you need to filter. Peterman Heating, Cooling & Plumbing can provide dependable water softening solutions in Greenwood.

The Main Components of a Water Softener

An ion exchange system will have a mineral tank that houses the resin beads that capture minerals. From the tank, the water then flows to fixtures inside your home.

As the resin beads become depleted, a control valve will activate the regeneration mechanism. The valve is continuously measuring the amount of water that the system is filtering. Using a programmed device, it will detect when a certain amount of water enters the mineral tank. That way, the control valve can gauge when the filter needs regeneration.

If the control valve detects a depletion of the resin beads, it will notify the brine tank. The tank contains salts that will recharge the resin. If the salt runs out of the tank, the water will not be sufficiently soft as it gets into your home’s plumbing.

Reverse systems use air pressure to deliver the energy needed to push the water through the membrane. It often has a tank with an air and water chamber. Some reverse osmosis equipment can use pneumatic systems that do not require electrical energy.

A reverse osmosis system will also have a pump that increases the pressure it requires to push out the impurities. Maintenance of your equipment can prevent pump and tank faults in your system.

Do You Need a Water Softener?

If your water is soft or has moderate hardness levels, you don’t have to use a water softener. But in Indiana, there are many places with hard water. High mineral content will damage your dishwasher, water heater, and it could encourage corrosion in your plumbing.

If soap takes long to foam, or your equipment frequently fails because of scale, you should consider installing a softener. Softening water can make chores easier to do, and it can reduce your water consumption. You can save the money spent on utility bills and frequent repairs.

Peterman Heating, Cooling & Plumbing is a leading provider of water quality solutions in Greenwood. Our certified plumbers can assess your home’s plumbing and will provide recommendations for filtration and water softening. Our Top-Rated Home Advisor team can troubleshoot and install water heaters of different models and brands. Talk to our acclaimed crew and discover our exceptional customer experience in Greenwood.

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