So, you just got tired of the frustration and problems caused by hard water and need a water softener unit…but how does it work? Hard water can result in problems with your hair and skin, wreak havoc on your plumbing system, and make it harder to clean your dishes, clothes, and house. The solution to these problems is getting rid of the hardness minerals in the water. If you are planning to install a water softener unit in your home, you might want to understand how it works and what happens inside it.
Standard water softener systems work on the principle of ion exchange. These units softens hard water by a process that involves the substitution of sodium chloride (salt) for magnesium, calcium, and iron. Ions are molecules or atoms that either have a negative or positive charge as a result of imbalanced electrons and protons. Sodium (Na+) has a weaker charge compared to Magnesium (Mg+2), Calcium (Ca+2), and Iron (Fe+3). This makes it possible for the ion exchange process to take place.
Water softener units have a mineral tank and a brine tank. Hard water is usually supplied to the mineral tank which is filled with negatively charged beads arranged in columns (also known as resin beds). The mineral ions in the hard water get attracted to these beads replacing sodium ions. The water then passes and by the time it’s at the bottom of the mineral (resin) tank, it is already softened. The softened water is then pumped up through a riser tube and an outlet manifold to a cold water pipe for distribution to the house.
The brine tank is mainly used for placing a charge of sat molecules in the mineral tank. Note that soft water is not salt water since it only contains small amounts of sodium as a result of the ion exchange process.
The water softener unit cleans the hard water and recharges itself to keep working. Recharging can either be controlled manually or run automatically. The process involves running the unit through cycles of backwashing, recharging, and rinsing the beads. The brine tank is filled with water to dissolve the salt before the salty backwash water is pumped out through the mineral tank. This water washes out the precipitated magnesium and calcium on the bead surface allowing salt molecules to stick on the zeolite resin beads. This process usually takes place at night when your family is asleep and no one needs to use any water.
Are you looking for a water softener unit that is right for you? Contact us at BioTech Water Researchers to learn more.