The water softening process has to do with using a water softener to remove excess calcium and magnesium ions from your water that causes it to be hard. You can dissolve your soap in water to know if your water is hard or not. Since soap doesn’t easily dissolve in hard water. Here’s everything about water softening.
- The Mineral Tank
The mineral tank is one of the three components of a water softener. Water flows into the mineral tank and goes through a bed of resin beads charged with sodium ions.
- Resin Beads
Resin beads are spherical and usually made from polystyrene. They are anions meaning that they have a negative charge. Magnesium and calcium on the other hand are positively charged. The beads hold on to the minerals since opposite charges attract. They remove the excess minerals and release sodium ions. Resin beads are durable enough to effectively soften water for more than twenty years.
- The Control Valve
The control valve is the second component of a water softening system. It measures the amount of water that passes through the mineral tank. Inside the valve is a meter that helps you do the measurement. As hard water flows into the mineral tank, the capacity of the resin reduces.
- The Brine Tank
This is the third and last component of the water softening system. It helps your water softening system in regeneration. It is a smaller tank that is placed near the mineral tank. The brine tank contains the highly concentrated salt solution used to restore the positive charge of the resin beads. The salt is manually added as pellets and they dissolve in the water at the bottom of the tank.
- Regeneration Cycle
As the resin beads release sodium ions in exchange for calcium and magnesium ions, it’s capacity reduces. Before the resin beads become filled too full with mineral content, the control valve begins a regeneration cycle. The resin beads are flooded with a highly salty solution that washes the minerals and drains them out of the system. They are now recharged and good to soften water again.
- Co-Current Regeneration Cycle
This is a downflow cycle where the salt solution enters the mineral tank in the same direction as the service flow. The solution flows down the depth of the resin beads and the ion exchange process repeats itself. When this method of regeneration occurs, the highest charged beads will be at the top of the tank.
- Counter-Current Regeneration Cycle
This regeneration method allows water to enter through the bottom of the mineral tank where the water usually leaves. This is an up-flow cycle where the solution flows up the resin bed. It starts from the bottom where the highest charged resin beads are. This method uses less water and salt compared to the co-current regeneration cycle. It is also referred to as the most efficient regeneration method.
In conclusion, soft water is safe to drink. During the softening process, the resin beads release sodium into the water but the amount of sodium is not unhealthy. It is about 2% of the suggested daily intake. Water softeners last for about 15 years and can last longer if properly maintained.