Softening is a process where Calcium and Magnesium ions are exchanged for Sodium ions. Calcium and Magnesium ions associated with Alkalinity contribute for scale formation. These ions are also called as Total hardness. The strong acid Cation exchange resin in Sodium form is used for softening the water. When the resin is exhausted, it is regenerated with brine solution (Sodium Chloride) 10 % or 15% brine solution is normally used for the regeneration. If the brine solution is passed from the bottom of the resin and service flow is from the top, then it is called as Up flow softener. If the service and regeneration flows are from top to bottom, then it is called as down flow softeners. The softeners are run up to the Hardness slip of 5 ppm as CaCO3 in the treated water, which is called as Industrial Zero hardness.
HOW DOES A WATER SOFTENER WORK ?
The idea behind a water softener is simple. The calcium and magnesium ions in the water are replaced with sodium ions. Since sodium does not precipitate out in pipes or react badly with soap, both of the problems of hard water are eliminated. To do the ion replacement, the water in the house runs through a bed of ion exchange resin. The resins are covered with sodium ions. As the water flows past the sodium ions, they swap places with the calcium and magnesium ions. Eventually, the resin contains nothing but calcium and magnesium and no sodium, and at this point they stop softening the water. It is then time to regenerate the ion exchange resin. Regeneration involves soaking the resin in a stream of sodium ions. Salt is sodium chloride, so the water softener mixes up a very strong brine solution and flushes it through the resin bed. The strong brine displaces all of the calcium and magnesium that has built up in the resin and replaces it again with sodium. The remaining brine plus all of the calcium and magnesium is flushed out through a drainpipe
Advantages of Soft Water :
- Having soft water saves you money. When your water is soft, you use much less soap and fewer cleaning products. You can save money on washing powder, Fabric conditioner, Hand cream, Bath salts and oils, Hair shampoo, Hair conditioner, Soap, Washing up liquid, Dishwashing liquid, cleaning materials, and Dishwashing powder.
- Your plumbing will last longer. Hard water can cause a build up of scale from mineral deposits. Over time, pipes can clog, water flow can diminish, and water pressure can be reduced. This doesn't happen with soft water. Soft water is low in mineral content and therefore doesn't leave deposits in the pipes.
- Your hot water heater will last longer. Scale and lime build-up created by minerals will not take place if your water is soft. This adds life to your hot water heater. Also, if you don't have deposits in your hot water heater, it will cost approximately 20% less to heat the water that your family does use. At the end of a year, these savings can really add up.
- Most water-using appliances will last longer. Whether it's your coffee pot, your humidifier, or your hot tub, soft water inhibits a build-up of minerals and adds life to these products.
Additional Benefits of Soft Water :
- Probably the first things you'll notice is that you have to purchase a lot less soap. Whether it's dish detergent, shampoo, or laundry soap, you'll use less of it. The reason is because soft water has greater washing power. You can use less and get superior results. Normally, you will find that you can use 1/2 to 2/3 less soap with the same or even better results.
- Your clothes last longer and remain brighter longer if they are washed in soft water. The reason is that normal water leaves mineral particles in the weave of most fabrics. This causes them to look dull and dingy. Also, your washing machine will last longer, too, because it won't be subject to a build-up of minerals and deposits.
- Rings and stains won't darken your bathroom fixtures.
- Glasses and dishes won't streak.
- Scrubbing floors and tile will be easier and faster because you won't have the film and soap scum that hard water creates.
- Your skin is softer when you bathe with soft water. You will leave your bath or shower feeling refreshed with your skin feeling truly clean. Also, rough, dry skin will naturally diminish.
- If you color your hair, it will keep its radiance longer if it is washed in softened water.
- The removal of existing scale from your hot water tank and associated pipe work (save on repairs and maintenance).
- Sinks, taps, toilets, shower screens and bathrooms will keep scale free (no more ugly white stains to wash off).
- Showerheads will never have to be unpicked again.
- Soft water is a natural conditioner for fabrics, hair and skin and can help dry skin conditions such as eczema.