The most common water problem can clog of your pipes, cause malfunctions of your washing machine. It also makes you use larger portions of washing powder and soap.
What we're talking about here is hard water.
So what is hard water to begin with? Hard water is caused by dissolved mineral traces of primarily calcium and magnesium in the water.
The level of hardness can vary greatly from location to location. If for example you live in an area where the groundwater is taken from wells where the water have been moving through deposits of limestone you will have very high levels of hardness in your water. If your water on the other hand comes from lakes with low ph levels then you will have a low hardness level in your water and you will have little water problems.
It is relative easy to measure the water hardness with a test sample. It is important to do this as the buildup of clogged piped can happen even if you are not aware of it.
Water softener equipments are an often used solution to lower hardness of the water as it will limit or completely eliminate any damage.
The most common form of water softener for home users is based on ion exchange.
It works on the following principle. The calcium and magnesium ions are replaced by sodium ions. This ion exchange is made in a resin bed.
The construction of the water softener is made in three parts. Resin Tank - This contains the resin bed.
Resin Bed - This is made up of tiny bead-like material often made of styrene and divinylbenzene. The beads attract and hold positively charged ions such as sodium, but will exchange them whenever the bead encounters another positively-charged ion such as calcium or magnesium.
Brine Tank - This tank contains a dissolved solution which is necessary in order to regenerate the resin. This regeneration is for the reversing of the ion exchange, which otherwise would become depleted. The calcium and magnesium ions are removed off from the resin beads and replaced with positively charged sodium ions. The regeneration happens when the resin beads are washed by a strong salt water solution. The calcium and magnesium ions are forced by the salt to be released, and are then discharged as waste in the backwashing cycle. The beads are now once again ready to be used to lower the hardness of your water.
Modern water softeners are fully automated. Some of them are regenerated at a preset clock. Other systems use electric sensors and are regenerated when the beads are becoming less effective.
Because the calcium and magnesium are replaced by sodium some consumers are concerned by the additional intake of salt in the drinking water. However this additional salt intake from drinking the tapped water is so small that the adverse affect is minimal compared from salt intake gained from ordinary diet.
Copyright 2006 Per Strandberg
Learn more details about Water softener operation here. at www.water-softener-and-purification.com/water-softener-operation.html [http://www.water-softener-and-purification.com/water-softener-operation.html] Per Strandberg manage and runs a website with tips and information on water hardness treatment at www.water-softener-and-purification.com [http://www.water-softener-and-purification.com].