How Does a Water Softener Work?
There are few mechanical systems as mystifying as a water softener. After all, isn’t all water soft? Fair point. But water softeners were created to combat a surprisingly common problem: hard water.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, about 85 percent of American households have hard water, including homes with city water and well water. But what exactly is hard water and, if your home has this issue, how does a water softener work and how can you make it work best for you?
How a Water Softener WorksA water softener removes calcium and magnesium from water through a process called ion exchange. When the hard water enters into the mineral tank, it flows through a bed of spherical resin beads. These plastic beads, usually made from polystyrene, are charged with a sodium ion. The resin beads are anions, meaning they have a negative charge. The calcium and magnesium minerals have a positive charge, making them cations. Since opposite charges attract, the negative charge of the minerals is attracted to the positive charge of the resin beads. As the hard water passes through the resin, the beads grab ahold of the mineral ions and remove them from the water. When the bead seizes the mineral ion, the sodium ion is released. The column of resin strips all the hardness out of the water as it passes through the mineral tank, and softened water flows out into your home.
What are the components of a water softener?
A water softener is made up of three components: a control valve, a mineral tank, and a brine tank. These three work in conjunction to remove the minerals from hard water, monitor the flow of water, and periodically clean the system through a regeneration process.
1. The mineral tank
The mineral tank is the chamber where the hard water is softened. The water supply line feeds the hard water into the tank. The water seeps through the bed of resin beads, depositing the water-hardening calcium and magnesium ions. The water exits the tank soft and flows through your pipes and out to your household appliances.
2. The control valve
The control valve measures the amount of water passing through the mineral tank and into your house. The valve houses a meter that tracks the volume of water entering the mineral tank. As hard water flows through the mineral tank, the resin beads exchange their sodium ions for hardness ions. Over time, this depletes the capacity of the resin to continue to effectively soften water. Before the beads become too burdened with mineral content to continue removing calcium and magnesium ions, the control valve automatically initiates a regeneration cycle. This maximum capacity is pre-programmed into the control valve’s onboard computer and is based on a range of factors, like the size of your house, the number of occupants, and the hardness of your water. Control valves are demand-initiated controllers, which allow water softening units to be extremely efficient.
3. The brine tank
The brine tank aids the water softening system in regeneration. It is a shorter tank that sits adjacent to the mineral tank. The brine tank holds a highly concentrated solution of salt (or sometimes potassium) to restore the resin beads’ positive charge. Salt is manually added to the brine tank in the form of pellets or blocks. These dissolve in the water at the bottom of the tank. When the control valve registers the softening capacity of the resin is diminishing, the heavy brine solution is drawn out of the tank and flushed through the resin in the mineral tank. If the brine tank runs out of salt, the water passing through the unit will no longer be softened.
- Corrosion resistant resin and brine tank construction.
- Timer-based automatic regeneration (Optional)
- High quality softener resin provides stability and uniform size for top performance and long life.
- Simple inline configuration for ease of installation and maintenance.
- Range of softener systems to suit Institutional, commercial and industrial applications.
- Available in simplex and duplex configurations for intermittent or continuous use.
- Softeners are available in MS, MSRL, FRP, operating in Manual / Auto mode
- Easy to install and operate.
- Produces clear, soft and non – scale forming water.
- Low operating costs.
- Incorporates high-capacity polystyrene bead type cation exchange resin which is remarkably stable and has a long life.
- Total Hardness removal.
- Textile Industries
- Pharma Industries.
- Chemical Industries
- Paper Industries
- Tannery Industries
- Dye & Dye Intermediaries
- Edible Oil Refineries
- Electroplating Industries
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