Water Softening System
Water softener reduces the calcium or magnesium ion concentration in hard water. These “hardness ions” cause two major kinds of problems. The metal ions react with soaps and calcium sensitive detergents, hindering their ability to lather properly and forming an unsightly precipitate. Presence of “hardness ions” also inhibits the cleaning effect of detergent formulations.
Water hardness is responsible for many maintenance and process problems in commercial applications.
Puritech Automatic and Manual Commercial Water Softeners provide soft water to meet the demanding specifications of all types of businesses and institutions with simple and reliable equipment.
The difference between softened water versus hard water is a significant one that you can see immediately. Water softeners are one of the best home water treatment systems. Your skin will no longer have a film on it after you shower or bathe. Soaps or detergents will go further and produce more lather. Over time, you will see less soap scum on shower tiles and less staining around water faucets
Puritech filtration equipment features an excellent design with high-quality components to offer high performance. Puritech systems are designed for the longest life span with minimum energy consumption. Experience greater savings with lower maintenance and operation costs when you install Puritech filtration equipment.
A water softener removes minerals that create water hardness, one of the most common water quality problems a homeowner encounters. Hard water destroys appliances, leaves filmy soap scum across bathrooms and kitchens, and dries out hair and skin. With over 85% of the United States relying on hard water for their cooking, cleaning, and bathing, water softeners serve a vital purpose. A water softener saves you from replacing prematurely ruined water heaters, scaly faucet heads, and hours and hours of cleaning up soapy residue. Investing in a water softener saves you time, energy, and money, and protects your home and your property.
Complete Water Softeners
What is a water softener?
A water softener is a whole-house filtration system that removes hardness-causing calcium and magnesium minerals from your water through a process called ion exchange. A water softener addresses one of the most prevalent and devastating water problems: hard water. Hard water wreaks havoc on the modern home. Scale builds up in your pipes, clogging them and decreasing water pressure. Scale dramatically shortens the lifespan of appliances like dishwashers, coffee makers, and ice machines. Hard water destroys hot water appliances. The higher the temperature of the water, the more calcium and magnesium will solidify and harden into solid deposits inside your hot water heater. If you live in hard water territory, it can sound like your water heater is popping popcorn. This is because the scale has attached itself to the heating element. As the temperature of the heater rises and the tank expands, the calcified rock deposits crusted on the heating elements start cracking and stretching. Hard water-induced scale is the culprit of that popcorn popping sound.
Without a water softener, laundry demands extra detergent to prevent it from looking dingy. Dishes will come out of your dishwasher streaked and stained. Filmy scum builds up on your shower curtains and your soap and shampoo will not lather. Bathing in hard water leaves your skin itchy and dry and your hair lifeless and sticky. The sheer amount of time, energy, and money required to clean up the detrimental side effects of hard water are dizzying. A whole house water softener is the solution to the scourge of water hardness.
How Does a Water Softener System Work?
Water softeners work through a process called ion exchange which eliminates calcium and magnesium from the water. When the hard water enters into the mineral tank, it flows through a bed of spherical resin beads. These plastic beads, usually made from polystyrene, are charged with a sodium ion. The resin beads are anions, meaning they have a negative charge. The calcium and magnesium minerals have a positive charge, making them cations. Since opposite charges attract, the negative charge of the minerals is attracted to the positive charge of the resin beads. As the hard water passes through the resin, the beads grab ahold of the mineral ions and remove them from the water. When the bead seizes the mineral ion, the sodium ion is released. The column of resin strips all the hardness out of the water as it passes through the mineral tank, and softened water flows out into your home.
What are the components of a water softener?
A water softener is made up of three components: a control valve, a mineral tank, and a brine tank. These three work in conjunction to remove the minerals from hard water, monitor the flow of water, and periodically clean the system through a regeneration process.
The Mineral Tank
The mineral tank is the chamber where the hard water is softened. The water supply line feeds the hard water into the tank. The water seeps through the bed of resin beads, depositing the water-hardening calcium and magnesium ions. The water exits the tank soft and flows through your pipes and out to your household appliances.
The Control Valve
The control valve measures the amount of water passing through the mineral tank and into your house. The valve houses a meter that tracks the volume of water entering the mineral tank. As hard water flows through the mineral tank, the resin beads exchange their sodium ions for hardness ions. Over time, this depletes the capacity of the resin to continue to effectively soften water. Before the beads become too burdened with mineral content to continue removing calcium and magnesium ions, the control valve automatically initiates a regeneration cycle. This maximum capacity is pre-programmed into the control valve’s onboard computer and is based on a range of factors, like the size of your house, the number of occupants, and the hardness of your water. Control valves are demand-initiated controllers, which allow water softening units to be extremely efficient.
The Brine Tank
The brine tank aids the water softening system in regeneration. It is a shorter tank that sits adjacent to the mineral tank. The brine tank holds a highly concentrated solution of salt (or sometimes potassium) to restore the resin beads’ positive charge. Salt is manually added to the brine tank in the form of pellets or blocks. These dissolve in the water at the bottom of the tank. When the control valve registers the softening capacity of the resin is diminishing, the heavy brine solution is drawn out of the tank and flushed through the resin in the mineral tank. If the brine tank runs out of salt, the water passing through the unit will no longer be softened.
Automatic Softener Valve Setup
Do I need a water softener?
If you’re living with decreased pressure from scale-ridden pipes, dry hair, stiff laundry, and endless appliance repair bills, you need a water softener. Hard water is not a problem that will go away on its own and the costs incurred by hard water will only continue to escalate. With a water softener, appliances will inevitably fail sooner than their expected lifespan. If scale continues to accumulate in your pipes, your flow rate will continue to restrict and you risk losing water pressure throughout the house. Hard water ravages water heaters, and without a softener, your utility bills will continue to barrel skyward. If your water supply is hard, the perpetual cycle of repairs and replacements will continue until your house is safeguarded by a water softener.
Is soft water safe to drink?
Soft water is safe to drink. During the ion exchange process, the resin beads do release sodium into the water when grabbing ahold of the hardness minerals. But the amount of sodium in softened water isn’t unhealthy, and actually is far less than what is widely imagined. If you have moderately hard water, for example five grains per gallon (about 86ppm), that’s only adding 37 milligrams of sodium per quart of water. That’s less than 2% of the suggested daily sodium intake. A slice of white bread has around 170 milligrams of sodium, and a slice of pizza has about 640 milligrams. So, comparatively, the amount of sodium added by water softeners is negligible.
The amount of sodium added by a water softener is linearly related to the number of hardness minerals being reduced. For every milligram of hardness in the water, the softener releases two milligrams of sodium. This only becomes problematic if you live in an area with extremely hard water. If your water has a hardness level of over 400 ppm, you will want to install a reverse osmosis system to treat the water that you drink and cook with. The reverse osmosis system pushes water through a semipermeable membrane capable of eliminating almost all dissolved solids and salts from the water. If your doctor has recommended you reduce your sodium intake due to blood pressure or kidney problems, it is also advisable to install a reverse osmosis system after your softener.
What do water softeners remove?
Water softeners primarily remove calcium and magnesium ions from hard water. Calcium (Ca2+) and magnesium (Mg2+) are the two water hardness-causing minerals. The ion exchange process will furthermore attract and eliminate any positively charged ion (also known as a cation). This can include other minerals like iron and manganese.
Does a water softener remove iron?
Water softeners remove ferrous iron (dissolved iron) when it is in low quantities and most of the iron is in a soluble state. Iron darkens the coloration of water and leaves visible stains on your toilet, bathtub, and in your sinks. Ferric iron (insoluble iron) is more difficult to remove with a softener. Ferric iron will accumulate on the resin bed and resist the backwashing of the regeneration cycle. This can produce slugs of iron in your softened water and diminish the potency of the resin beads. When dissolved iron is exposed to oxygen, it oxidizes and becomes ferric iron. So, even though a water softener can remove iron in its dissolved state, if you have high iron levels in your water, some of it will inevitably convert to an insoluble state. If your water softener is processing large quantities of iron you will want to use a chemical solution like Rust Out to cleanse your softener bed and prolong your resin beads’ life. Iron is best removed from water by an iron filter or a more comprehensive filtration system like reverse osmosis.
How do you install a water softener?
A water softener should be installed as close to the water’s point of entry into the house as possible. This ensures the majority of your plumbing and appliances are reaping the benefits of carrying the softened water. It’s especially important to make sure your water softener is located before your water heater, as hard water does the greatest damage to hot water appliances. You will want to install the softener in a dry, level location, like a basement or garage. It will need to be close to the water’s main line, an electrical outlet to turn on the system, and a drain for the brine solution from the regeneration cycle.
Most softeners have a bypass built into the inlet and the outlet. By turning a valve, you can bypass the softener in the event you have to provide some kind of maintenance to it or even while you’re working on installing it. If the softener you choose does not have a bypass, then it’s wise to build one out of plumbing to bypass the equipment in case you need to maintain the unit.
Steps to installing your water softener:
1. Read all the directions that came with your water softener before you began the installation.
2. Shut off the water to the house and turn off the power to the hot water heater.
3. Turn on all the faucets and outside hoses to drain your water lines before you put in a water softener.
4. Position your water conditioner in a dry, safe area that is level. Most water softeners have 2 tanks, and you need to set them next to each other.
5. Measure the length between the cold water line and the bypass ports on the water softener tank with a measuring tape. Cut a piece of copper tubing that length, and solder fittings on the ends. Water conditioner installation includes some soldering work.
6. Follow the manufacturer’s direction to install the discharge tube on the water softener head.
7. Run the overflow tube that’s attached to the side of the water conditioner tank and the discharge tube to a drain. With water softener installation, you must provide drainage.
8. Put the bypass valve on the water conditioner’s head valve. Adjust the screws on the stainless steel clamps with a screwdriver to seat the valve. When you install a water softener, be sure to have all your tools ready.
9. Connect the copper tubing that delivers water to the bypass valve. Use a wrench to tighten the supply tube nuts. When you put in a water softener, don’t wrench the nuts too tight.
- Scrub the fittings and the pipes with steel wool. When installing a water conditioner, you’ll need to solder the fitting to the pipes.
- Solder the fittings together by applying flux and melting it with a propane torch.
11. Turn your electric heater and the water to the house back on.
12. Plug the control valve in and put about 4 gallons (15.142 liters) of water into the brine tank. Water softener installation includes setting up the brine tank, and you’ll need to add 40 lbs. (18.144 kg) of potassium chloride salt or sodium chloride to the unit.
13. Put your conditioner into the backwash stage and set the bypass valve to the service position. To put in a water softener, open the water supply valve to the 1/4 position to let oxygen run from the drain line.
14. Turn the water supply valve completely on when a steady stream of water appears at the drain.
15. Let the conditioner run through the complete backwash cycle when installing a water softener.
16. Test the system for leaks. If any water is escaping, check your soldering and the nuts. Re-solder or tighten nuts to repair any leaks.
Why is my water softener leaking?
Water softeners leaks are primarily caused because of an issue at the point of installation or because of maintenance. When installing the plumbing to your softener, take your time and ensure your fittings are threaded well and your push-to-connect fittings are seated properly. If the bypass valve is cracked, it can also cause the system to leak. Bypass valves are fitted with o-rings that may need to be re-lubricated or replaced over time. A cracked rotor valve or rotor valve seal may also be the culprit. The rotor valve directs the water throughout the system during softening and regeneration processes. A worn water valve can lock up and spring a leak. If the rotor valve’s seal is leaking, it is likely cracked and simply needs to be replaced.
Day to day usage should not cause a water softener to leak. Leaks can also happen if you bump into the softener and jostle it, pulling the fitting apart. To prevent this from occurring, install the unit in a safe and stable location. If you live in an earthquake-prone area of the country, secure the softener so that if the foundation starts moving, the softener doesn’t fall over and rip out the plumbing. If your water softener is leaking during regeneration, you should wait until after the cycle is completed and then inspected the system for cracks or broken fittings. You should also check to make sure your drain line is never blocked up with debris. A clogged drain line can blow off of the softener during regeneration and flood your basement or garage.
To prevent electrical shock, you should never attempt to fix a leak while the softener is plugged in. Always unplug the softener from its electrical supply before attempting any repair or cleaning. You should also shut off the bypass valve on the water softener to prevent any further leaks and to isolate the unit from the rest of your home’s plumbing. If your softener does not have a bypass valve, turn off the water at the main line. If you cannot locate the cause of your leak call a plumber or the service that installed the unit.