A Look at Water Softeners Water softeners treat water hardness. It is important to understand the meaning of water hardness before we engage further in the discussion. Basically, hard water refers to “raw water” that has not undergone any form of artificial water treatment. The water contains a lot of magnesium and calcium, among other minerals. The minerals dissolve in the water when it runs through rocks containing calcium and magnesium deposits. Water softening systems remove magnesium and calcium ions from hard water. Sodium ions (Na+) in the water softeners replace the minerals. The ions of magnesium and calcium interfere with the effectiveness of detergents and soap. However, sodium has no effect on the actions. Softened water effectively removes oils and dirt from dishes and clothes. It assists in getting the slippery soap effect as you wash. Consider using less soap and detergent when using water softeners. Installation of water softening systems is often done near the spot in which water enters your house. You can use the water to cook, drink and wash but not for irrigation. The system has a lot of porous plastic resin coated with molecules that attract the ions causing hardness in water. In other words, the calcium and magnesium ions get bound by the resins. To balance the electric current of the resin, sodium ions are launched into the water in the process. Ions of sodium and magnesium saturate the resins after some time. Therefore, the system rinses the resins using concentrated saltwater solution to renew it. Sodium ions in the concentrated saltwater replace the calcium and magnesium ions on the resins. For the water softener to function normally, the saltwater containing magnesium and calcium ions is then poured down the drain.
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There are other water softeners aside from the salt-based system, such as salt-free system, magnetic systems and reverse-osmosis water softening system. Magnetic fields are utilized in the magnetic-based system to reduce the effect of hard water There are display panels and several magnetic transmitters in the system that are placed around the pipes supplying water.
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The principle of crystallizing calcium and magnesium ions in water is what the salt-free softeners are based upon. They do not actually remove the minerals causing water hardness. The minerals are unable to stick to surfaces because they are converted into crystals. The reverse-osmosis softening unit is yet another water softener. In this system, hard water is passed through fine membranes which separate impurities from the water. You need enough pressure for this system to work effectively. The most effective water softening system among those discussed here is the salt-based softener.