There is more to the water that comes to your home than just plain H2O. The quality of your water can differ depending on where you live and whether you get the water from a private well or municipality. Calcium and magnesium are common minerals found in water. These are the minerals that give your water a certain “hardness” to it. Usually, minerals get into your water because of metals like iron and rocks like limestone dissolving in groundwater. The remnants of these components will travel with the water into your home.
In fact, private wells and municipality water sources are both contaminated with hardness minerals. These solids can result in scaly buildups on the plumbing fixtures and the heating elements of the appliances in your home. Soap scums on the body are also as a result of hard minerals in the water. That is where a water softener comes in handy. A water softener helps remove all these hard minerals from the water. A softener makes it easier to clean your body and laundry, as well as prolong the lifespan of appliances that use water. This article provides information on how a water softener works to improve the quality of water in your home.
There are a lot of good reasons to soften the water in your home. In fact, hard water issues can cause havoc on your skin, hair, appliances, and plumbing fixtures in the house. Hard water makes it difficult to keep your house clean and affects your personal hygiene over time. If you are going to buy a water softener to install in your home, you might want to know what goes on inside the softener. So, how does a water softener get the minerals out of the water that comes to your home? That is where the science of residential water treatment comes in handy.
A water softener uses a process known as ion exchange to remove hard minerals like magnesium, calcium, manganese, and iron while replacing these minerals with sodium ions. An ion is an atom that carries a positive or negative charge. In fact, there is an imbalance between the electrons and protons in an ion. While a cation has a positive charge, an anion has a negative charge. Sodium, calcium, magnesium, and iron are all cations that are positively charged. But sodium has a much weaker charge – which is ideal for the exchange.
Most of the water softeners on the market use a media such as zeolite or ion-exchange resin beads. Zeolite is an inorganic mineral consisting of tiny crystals. Each of the zeolite or resin bead crystal is negatively charged. Hence, it has space to hold onto a positive ion. The media of the softener holds onto the weaker sodium ions. As the hard water in your home travels through the tank of the water softener, the stronger calcium or magnesium ions are pulled onto the media just like a magnet. Since these minerals possess stronger positively charged ions than sodium, they displace the sodium ions and take their place. The hard minerals of the water will get trapped inside the tank of the water softener. Hence, the water becomes soft without any more scaly buildups. Soft water is not salt water since it contains a very little sodium because of the ion exchange process.
You might be wondering what happens to the hard minerals trapped inside the tank of the water softener. When the media beads are full of magnesium, calcium, iron, and manganese ions, how could the softener treat more water in the future? The second part of the softening process comes in handy here. This process is called regeneration. This is how a softener will clean and recharge itself to continue providing clean water to your home.
Every water softener has a second storage tank. You have to add water softener salt and water to this storage tank. It creates a salt solution known as brine. Hence, the second storage tank is known as a brine tank. The softener takes the brine solution into its main tank during the regeneration process. In fact, the ion exchange process happens once again. But this time it is in reverse. The media is bathed in the brine solution. The hard minerals that are trapped in the resin beads or zeolite are released. The media is replaced with sodium ions in the process. The softener is disinfected and cleaned during the regeneration process. The water that contains the hard minerals gets flushed out of the system finally. The regeneration process usually happens in the middle of the night when you don’t need to use water. This is the entire process of water softening. It is how a water softener will work to improve the quality of water in your home. That is why you need to invest in a high-quality water softener on the market to keep your loved ones healthy over time. Find out more here.
Most people think that a water softener is a luxury. Some others may think that they need a softener only if they have a private well. Both these assumptions are not correct. In fact, even people living in the city have hard water coming through their taps. Although municipalities are expected to treat the water before they send it to your home, they don’t remove hard minerals since they are not harmful to your health. Your home requires a water softener to get rid of hard water issues. Your skin and hair are affected due to hard water problems. On the other hand, appliances and plumbing fixtures in your home need a softener to prolong the lifespan of them. Dishwashers and washing machines can end up with a shorter lifespan due to hard water problems. That is why you need to invest in a high-quality water softener for your home.