Water softeners used to remove harmful minerals from hard water. In some areas, water is hard, like nearly undrinkable. Apart from drinking, hard water also creates other problems like scale build-up in supply pipes, stained dishes, and spotty laundry.
Water softeners work through a simple method called “Ion Exchange.” It has two tanks, mineral and brine tank. When hard water comes into the mineral tank, it flows on resin beads containing sodium ions. Here in the resin beads, sodium ion acts as a negative charge, and hard water minerals behave like a positive charge. As we all know, opposite charges attract each other, so sodium pulls hard water minerals towards itself. In this way, resin beads got those minerals and release sodium ions into the water.
A typical water softener made up of the following components.
This is one of the essential components of the water softener. Hard Water first enters into the mineral tank from a supply line, where the ION exchange method takes place (As we discussed above). After completion of that process, water leaves the tank and goes to your outgoing supply pipes.
Brine Tank is a small salt tank fitted adjacent to the mineral tank. This tank is used for the regeneration cycle. When salt starts running out then, we add salt into the brine tank, which then flushed through the resin present in the mineral tank. To keep the water softened, we must take care of the salt level in the brine tank.
The control valve is used to measure the water flow in the mineral tank. This valve has a meter that keeps track of water flow, and when resin beads become too burdened with hard water minerals, valve issues a signal for another regeneration cycle. Mostly control valves have a digital meter that allows you to control the regeneration cycle according to different factors.
Soft Water for Drinking?
The amount of sodium we add to hard water during the Ion exchange process is directly proportional to the hardness level of water. For example, if we have a medium hardness level (80-90 ppm), then water softeners will use approx 37 to 40 milligrams of sodium, which is negligible.
On the other hand, if you are living in an area with extremely hard water (>400 ppm), then you have to use a lot of sodium for softening the water. In that case, excessive use of sodium can create additional problems for people having kidney or blood pressure concerns. Usually, soft water is safe for drinking and you can use it without any worry.