How Does A Water Softener Work?
The water used every day in your home is not as clean as you might think. Despite its crystal-clear appearance, it can be full of large amounts of damaging particles that can affect your home's piping and appliances without knowledge. Therefore, water softeners are the best and most convenient solution that will ensure the efficiency and durability of your house filtration system.
To highlight the credibility of our statement, we prepared a detailed guide on how does a water softener work, going through key points about its main purpose, components, and essential advantages for users.
What Are Water Softeners Used For?
Hard water is a phenomenon that gives headaches to many homeowners. It is responsible for causing heavy mineral build-up all along the pipes of your house and shortening the lifespan of appliances you invested in.
The most common minerals that create water hardness are calcium and magnesium. Therefore, the transition from hard to softened water is made by removing these minerals through the ion exchange process of water softeners.
In brief, a water softener is an ionic exchange system that removes the mineral excess, metal particles, and contaminants from your water supply, acting as a magnetic sponge to pull them away. The result: soft water.
Why is Hard Water an Issue?
First of all, the main contrast between hard and soft water is reflected in their harsh mineral content. Hard water contains large amounts of dissolved calcium, magnesium, iron, and other particles that can cause problems to your home. In other words, water hardness is caused by huge amounts of these minerals from its consistency.
General guidelines for classification of water types are: 0 to 60 mg/L (milligrams per litre) as calcium carbonate is classified as soft; 61 to 120 mg/L as moderately hard; 121 to 180 mg/L as hard; and more than 180 mg/L as very hard.
In less scientific terms, hard water marks can be spot on glasses and silverware coming out of the dishwasher, the feeling of a film on hands after washing (caused by the soap reaction to calcium), mineral stains on clothes and much lower water pressure.
In the long run, hard water will affect the amount of soap and detergent used for cleaning, making them less effective; will affect the fabric of the clothes, making them unpleasantly stiff to the touch, and perhaps one of the critical issues is that minerals of hard water can build up in pipes, plumbing fixtures, and appliances, significantly shortening their lifespan.
Moreover, even if there is no evidence that it could affect health, hard water can damage your hair and skin in some ways.
The minerals it contains can cause dryness for your skin, making natural oils from sebaceous glands less effective, leading to faster ageing in the absence of proper nutrition.
As with the skin, hard water makes it difficult to rinse products off the hair, leaving the scalp dry and potentially irritated. Consequently, this will make you question the capabilities of the products you use for your hair and skin routine.
Water Softeners Components
To understand how water softeners treat the water hardness condition, you must first understand the role of each component.
A water softener contains three basic components: the main tank, where is found the resin that cleans the water and makes it soft, the second tank - where the salt brine is produced, and the control valve.
The Mineral Tank
Also known as the exchange tank, this component plays the most important role in water filtration. Here is happening the whole process of water purification by removing the minerals calcium and magnesium through the resin beads.
The Brine Tank
At the bottom of this tank, there is also some water that mixes with salt in order to produce salt brine used to regenerate the entire process.
When the system needs to regenerate is going to draw that heavy brine solution out of the tank and run it through the resin. Every couple of days, the salt brine is flushed into the first tank to clean away all the hardness ions, after which it gets rinsed and sent into the wastewater drain.
This way, the system recharges and washes itself depending on how often it’s set, how hard the water is and how much amount is used in your house. If you live in a big house with a large family, it is normal for the regeneration process to happen more often.
The Control Valve
As much as the water flows through the mineral tank, the resin beads make an exchange between sodium ions and hardness ions, wearing out over time. The control valve measures the amount of water that passes through the mineral tank back to your house and determines when to regenerate the system.
In the absence of this component, the measurements and regeneration time should be set by the user.
How Is Water Softened?
As we mentioned before, a water softener works on a principle called ion exchange. In the mineral tank, the resin beads with a negative charge are full of sodium ions. At the opposite pole, hardness minerals from the water have a positive charge.
As the hard water flows through this tank, the minerals it contains are attracted to the resin beads, which releases the sodium ions, removing all the hard minerals. The whole process is an exchange between the sodium from the resin beads and the calcium and magnesium minerals from hard water. After the mineral deposits cling to the resin, softened water exits the system and flows throughout the house.
During use over time, the beads will no longer be able to absorb efficiently the minerals from hard water, so the softener will have to be regenerated. Thus, the brine tank produces the brine solution which is flushed through the resin during regeneration. This salty water will wash the mineral deposits of the resin beads, giving back their maximum absorption capacity.
However, the regeneration could not be possible without the control valve. This one calculates the amount of water that has flowed through the softener. Depending on the predefined settings of the water softener, regeneration is repeated after a certain period.
Main Advantages of Using Water Softeners
If you want to avoid periodic replacement of pipes and water heaters, worn faucet ends, fading laundry, and endless soap marks caused by mineral build-ups, you should consider buying a water softener.
In financial terms, a water softener lowers the energy costs reducing the scale build-up in your water heater. Water softening can save as much as 30% in energy - a cost savings of $243 per month (more than $2,916 annually). Moreover, water softeners can save up to 35% on detergent costs and up to 25% on downtime for equipment maintenance repairs. This will also reduce amount of soap you need in order to create lather and will give a feeling of silker skin after washing.
Softened water will expand the lifetime of your house plumbing. Hard water causes build-up not only on showers, sinks, and tubes but also inside appliances and pipes. The first signs of damage caused by hard water can be seen through less efficiency, which over time leads to complete deterioration and the need for replacement. Therefore, a water softener will save you from worrying about investing in your plumbing system over again.
Furthermore, a water softener will give your clothes the look they had right before you bought them. Hardness visibly affects the fabric of your clothes and turns whites into faded shades of yellow. Without the hard minerals, your laundry will always be safe from deterioration.
Similarly, the products you use for your hair and skincare will be able to act at maximum capacity, without being hindered by the negative effects of hard water.
As shown above, all these advantages can be obtained using a basic water softener. But you could get more than that with an alternative.
Introducing the Water Descaler
If you want a no-salt alternative to a water softener, the best option is a water descaler. It greatly enhances the quality of water without any chemicals and it uses the principles of cathodic protection to remove existing limescale from pipes and prevent rust.
And, unlike a water softener, our descaler isn't limited by GPG or GPM or even total hardness for that matter. You won't be needing any salt or extra equipment regardless of hardness levels. And that's just the beginning. See the full list of our water descaler's benefits down below:
Additional Benefits of Yarna Water Descaler
If space and maintenance were problematic for you, the Yarna Descalers will relieve you of both. However, compared to a traditional water softener, this descaler comes with a lot of other benefits for homeowners.
Yarna descaler softens hard water with the use of the chemical reaction, induced by electricity. That means low maintenance and no need for salt refilling.
One thing that people often ignore when buying a water softener working on the ion-exchange principle is the negative effects that salt has on health. Besides the ease of installation and the small size that will take up little space, our Yarna water descaler can soften your water without using salt.
This system does not need salt brine to regenerate because it treats the water with electric impulses. Furthermore, because it is a salt-free water softener, this descaler will not pose any risk to people on salt-restricted diets and will also save you from regular costs for filling the system with salt.
Due to its ionic exchange process, a traditional water softener can exclude good minerals too. Yarna descaler would not eliminate wanted and necessary minerals like calcium and magnesium from your softened water.
Ultimately, if you decide on buying our CWD24 electronic water descaler you’ll get a full one-year money-back guarantee and a 10-year manufacturer warranty once you register the product on our website.
Water hardness is a phenomenon that can go unnoticed over time. Now, that you know how a water softener works, you certainly understood what impact can have hard water on your house's plumbing system, fixtures, and appliances, along with other side effects.
We hope that this information will help you choose the best water softener for you and your home!