For the purpose of water treatment, hardness is measured in either grains per gallon (gpg) or parts per million (ppm). In boilers, the calcium and magnesium in hard waters form a hard adherent scale on the plates. It is these ions in hard water that make it difficult for products with other positively charged ions to dissolve in the water. For the softener to function properly at this point-in-time, the Regeneration cycle must be initiated. The primary media contained within a water softener is known as ion exchange resin. Corrections? When it is equipped with two mineral tanks, softened water is always available, even when the unit is recharging. Surface water (lakes, rivers or streams) is generally soft with very low levels of hardness. Home water softeners usually work similarly and consist of zeolite or another ion-exchange resin in a tank connected directly into the water system. The heart of the softener is the mineral tank which is a pressure vessel usually constructed out of fiberglass. Ion exchange resins can be manufactured to selectively prefer one, or perhaps several different types of ions. This resin is basically an insoluble matrix typically in the shape of small (1-2 mm diameter) beads. Water softening, the process of removing the dissolved calcium and magnesium salts that cause hardness in water. The brains of the softener lie in the control valve or softener head as it is commonly referred to. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. Unlike hard water, softened water will not form insoluble scale or precipitates in pipes and tanks or interfere with cleaners such as soap. Water softening is thus indispensable in many industries, and small water-softening units are used in homes in a number of countries. By doing this, the water softening removes the offending minerals from the water. Chemicals used for softening include calcium hydroxide (slaked lime) and sodium…, …application in the treatment of water. Here’s how just one system can dramatically improve your water. Water softening is a process that deals with a problem called "hard water." A third type of control uses a mechanical water meter to measure water usage and initiate recharging. This process continues until the resin becomes saturated with hardness ions and depleted of sodium ions. Most popular water softeners have an automatic regenerating system. In areas where the water is hard, home water…. Sodium carbonate, if present, hydrolyzes to produce free alkali that causes caustic embrittlement and failure of the boiler plates. It is inside this softener where the ion exchange process occurs. People on restricted sodium intake diets should account for increased levels of sodium in softened water. Softening is the process of removing the dissolved calcium and magnesium salts that cause hardness in water. To accomplish this, the hard water is passed through a column of cation exchanger containing sodium ions.…, Water is softened on a large scale by the addition of just enough lime to precipitate the calcium as carbonate and the magnesium as hydroxide, whereupon sodium carbonate is added to remove the remaining calcium salts. Parts per million is defined as one milligram of calcium carbonate (CaCO3) per litre of water. Hard water is generally not harmful to one's health but can pose serious plumbing problems in both residential and commercial applications. The presence of certain metal ions like calcium and magnesium principally as bicarbonates, chlorides, and sulfates in water causes a variety of problems. On a small scale, chemicals used for softening include ammonia, borax, calcium hydroxide (slaked lime), or trisodium phosphate, usually in conjunction with sodium carbonate (soda ash). Water softening, the process of removing the dissolved calcium and magnesium salts that cause hardness in water. These softeners often have reserve resin capacity, so that some soft water will be available during recharging. Grains per gallon is defined as one grain (64.8 mg) of calcium carbonate (CaCO3) dissolved in one US gallon (3.785 l) of water. As a result of the poor heat conductivity of the scale, fuel consumption is increased, and the boiler deteriorates rapidly through the external overheating of the plates. Black Friday Sale! Water can be chemically softened on a large scale by the addition of just enough lime to precipitate the calcium as carbonate and the magnesium as hydroxide, whereupon sodium carbonate is added to remove the remaining calcium salts. This article was most recently revised and updated by, https://www.britannica.com/technology/water-softening. SOFTENING: AN OVERVIEW. Water softeners have to primary functions; the Softening cycle and the Regeneration cycle. Zeolite process for water softening Zeolite process for water softening has become a commercial success for the reason that zeolite can be easily regenerated. You can live with the hardness level, recognizing that levels below 7.0 gpg will probably not cause major scaling and soap film, or treat the water to reduce the calcium and magnesium present.A water softener, also called an ion exchange unit, will effectively accomplish the latter option. Ppm ) of sodium ions high dissolved mineral content ) will be available during recharging components. The unit is recharging even when the unit is recharging have reserve resin capacity, so that some soft will... The lime-soda method of water. Did you Know process continues until the resin beads ; is! 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