Water is the substance of life. It has no taste or smell and it’s transparent. It is also critical to human survival. It is the base of our drinks if we choose to consume them outside of its pure element and it keeps our homes running smoothly.
Found in multiple rooms of a home, water is part of our everyday lives without us having to think much about it.
Regional Water Differences
Across the United States, the water has varying degrees of hardness per gallon. As you go across the United States, the water hardness changes due to the number of minerals it contains measured in grains per gallon, the type of water you have in your home is dictated by where you live. There is no good or bad when it comes to the different types of water, but the type of water your home is receiving means having the right type of plumbing and filtrations systems in place to protect the pipes, faucets, and storage systems.
What is Hard Water?
The number of minerals the water has determined how hard your home’s water is. These minerals include sulfates, magnesium carbonates, calcium, and bicarbonates. These are minerals that can be good for the human body but are killers in the home or business. The degree of hardness the water has taken its toll on the equipment. Removed by boiling, this does not work all the time and water softening is required.
What is Soft Water?
Soft water has few minerals. It generally occurs in areas where there is a lot of freshwater and rainfall. This means the water has had little time to sit in the ground absorbing added minerals. Across the United States, much of the water is harder than in other areas of the world. This is because much of the United States has sea beds of limestone that dates back to ancient times.
How Will Hard Water Damage Equipment?
Hard water produces soap scum when mixed with common household soaps. This deposit then coats the inside of the plumbing in the home. This build-up restricts the water flowing throughout the house. This restriction causes corrosion of the metals which lead to plumbing failures. Boilers end up with a build-up that impairs their ability to heat water effectively. If the boiler is metal it can lead to overheating. With pressurized systems, this overheating can end the life of a boiler early.
What is Water Softening?
Water softener systems can go in garages, utility closets, and basements. Whole-house systems can be any size the house needs for full functioning water softening systems. They have similar designs no matter what their size. Most water softening systems have slender, tall tanks that have a brine tank filter. The tank is connected to the home water supply and the brine tube will connect to the softener tank. There will be a separate tube for discharge to remove the water softener remains to drain or a dry well. Resin beads are inside the water softening tank that is removable once worn out. The resin beads carry a negative charge which removes the positively charged ions (the mineral deposits) from the water. Ounce removed, softened water is directed into the house.
Most modern tanks are preprogrammed to alter users when the tank needs to be flushed clean or regenerated with fresh beads. This occurs when the beads can’t separate the minerals from the water anymore. Once this happens, the systems run through settings to start regeneration. This occurs about every 12,000 gallons of water filtered. The pre-programmed regeneration starts adding saltwater from the brine tank to the softener tank. This rinses the minerals collected by the beads and removes them down the drain system. Typically, a normal house will need to add a 50-pound bag of pellets to their brine tank every month to keep it functioning correctly.
The water produced will contain a trace amount of salt from the softening procedure. This is not enough to cause problems for most people. To eliminate this, use potassium chloride pellets in place of salt pellets. These are more expensive than salt pellets. Reverse-osmosis removes the salt from the water, but this requires an additional system installed in the kitchen. This will make the water suitable for drinking and cooking. There are regional restrictions for the type of pumps added to homes. Local reservoirs and water-treatment plants do not want this water either so check with your local water district before installing a water softening system.
What to Look for in a Softening System
There are different things to consider when looking to buy and install a water softening system. There are a couple of different models to consider. Talk with your local water department before selecting your filter. They often have specific regulations for the type of system your home is allowed to install.
- Salt-Based Water Softener System
The salt-based system process the water through ion exchange. This uses salt to remove the minerals in the water while returning fresh clean water for in-home use.
- Salt-Free Water Softeners System
This type of system uses potassium-chloride as the main cleansing element. It reduces the amount of salt in the drinking water, but this type of descaler only prevents the buildup of minerals. It does not reduce the hard water minerals.
- Dual-Tank Water Softener
The home’s water softener disconnects from the home’s water system once it starts to recharge. Programmed to happen during the night when it is least inconvenient, this can be problematic when the water is really hard. A dual-tank water-softening system comes with two different resin tanks. This creates a backup tank the home can use while the other is charging. This keeps a fresh supply of water available for use in the home. The added tank will take up more room in the home and require more electricity to run.
Features to Look For
When you are looking to replace or add a water softener to your home, you need to do your research to know how long each one cycles and how often you will be required to add new salt or potassium-chloride to the tank. You should also be familiar with how often the tank will be cycling and how they are controlled.
- Timer Controls
The most modern system has electronic timers that come programmed to run the system for recharging the water softening system. Calculated by the home’s water consumption this can cause the home to run out of softened water if too much consumption occurs in the home. This can occur if people are visiting and more water is consumed or extra loads of laundry are done. This can also be a problem if less water is used in a month and the system runs when it is not necessary. The system will need watching even during the normal home routines.
- DIR Controls
DIR means Demand-Initiated Regeneration. This requires a special sensor in the tank which reads the levels of resin and activates when the system requires charging. They are activated electronically or you will be able to read a meter that will have an alert. This type of system saves on salt or potassium-chloride and extends the life of the softener system as it will not be running as frequently.
Installing a water softening system in the family home requires professional equipment and people that know how to do it right. It takes research to find the best people for the job. The right people will be cost-effective and give you the right size water softening system your home needs. Companies such as watersoftenergurus.com knows water and can help you fit your home with a tank that works for you.