Perhaps the most important natural resource that exists is water. We use water to hydrate ourselves, our pets, our plants, and the Earth.
We use water so much and so habitually, that sometimes we forget how important it is to our existence. When it comes to how we get water for these tasks, most of us don’t know how are appliances function in doing so.
We use water morning, noon, and night to shower, brush our teeth, wash our dishes, our laundry, and our hands, but water doesn’t come in that pure form directly from the groundwater supply.
We need water softeners to convert “hard” water, which is full of debris and hard minerals, to “soft” water, which is safe, clean, and usable. A water softener is essential to our domestic existence, and it’s important to know how they work.
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Why Hard Water is Essential to Get Rid of ?
A water softeners’ purpose is incredibly important for the safety and cleanliness of the water being used in your household. Hard water is mixed with bulky minerals that can cause a host of technical problems in your plumbing system.
They can also affect how your appliances function with calcium and magnesium deposits blocking regular water flow. This can cause heavy buildup and breakage, especially in pipes.
Water hardness is based on a scale of grains per gallon (GPG) or milligrams per liter (mg/l). Water up to 1 GPG is measured as soft, while water measured from 60 to 120 GPG is considered hard.
Some water, however, is incapable of being completely softened, which is something to keep in mind. Water softeners can’t perform duties outside of chemistry’s natural boundaries. Just because the water isn’t completely softened doesn’t mean it isn’t still safe.
Hard water can also affect the overall cleanliness of any objects you are washing or cleaning. They won’t be completely capable of leaving things clean, mostly because the soap or shampoo you use will inevitably combine with these hard minerals and leave residue or harden clothes or hair.
This will leave clothes and hair looking and feeling unclean. Soap will also leave a film on your dishes and shower if the water used is not properly softened. A water softeners’ job is to rid the water of calcium and magnesium so as to prevent these problems, which is quite easily done with a process called the ion exchange.
How Water Softeners Get Rid of Harmful Minerals
A water softener is an essential appliance that you may not know you have, or how it prevents you from ingesting unexpected mineral deposits, damaging your pipe system, or preventing clean surfaces, hair, and clothes.
In order for the water softener to work properly, it is connected to a home’s main water source, allowing it to filter out the parts of the water that are harmful or damaging.
In order to do this, minerals are exchanged with another element that will do less harm, in water’s case, sodium, which is perfectly safe to drink, in a process called an ion exchange. For those well versed in chemistry, water softeners need a negatively charged material within them to be able to make this exchange because both magnesium and calcium carry positive charges.
At the center of the water softener’s tank, there is a sector that facilitates this exchange through water flow. Polystyrene beads or resin, which carry a negative charge, are placed in the tank so that the hard minerals will be attracted to them.
Because calcium and magnesium carry positive charges, the water is able to soften the minerals by grasping onto the beads as they flow through the tank instead of to the water itself.
There are three phases that occur after the water makes the ion exchange, and the sodium flows into the softened water. The first phase, called the backwash phase, reverses the water flow to remove dirt from the tank. A material we definitely don’t want in our water supply.
In the second phase, called the recharge phase, the sodium is carried from the separate brine tank to the mineral tank. The calcium and magnesium are expelled in the third phase, making way for clean water to come through. The brine tank is then emptied and refilled.
Mechanics of the Softening Phase
Because these phases are complex, particular, and take surveillance on the part of the softener, several parts of the mechanism work together to accomplish the hard to soft effect. There are various types of water softeners that use different types of systems to regenerate water effectively.
The regenerating system can function in one of two ways. The more common version that you’ll see is the automatic regeneration system, which keeps regeneration going as needed. Another type of regenerating system is not as advanced technically and runs regeneration on an electric timer. Because of this, there are times in which the water is being charged and unable to be dispensed.
Another vital control housed in a particular kind of water softener is a computer that measures the amount of water used. The water regenerates when the negatively charged beads are depleted, triggering a new regeneration phase.
In contrast to an automatic regeneration system, this computer-controlled water softener keeps some softened water reserved in a separate tank so as not to run out. This is a good method if you don’t want to wait for recharging.
The last type of water softening functioning system involves a precise measure of water usage via a mechanical water meter. This is actually the most energy efficient option as it only recharges the mineral tank when necessary.
There are also no electrical parts required for this type of water softener to work. Because there are two mineral tanks, there is also always softened water available as well.
In Conclusion :
Water softeners are a vital resource in your household. Knowing how one works will not only help you with your chemistry knowledge but will also help you better understand and more able to measure your water’s overall cleanliness.