The Different Types of Water Softeners

Water softeners use methods that reduce the magnesium and calcium content present in the water. There are other water softeners that also reduce iron and manganese. These minerals are known to cause hard water, which is undesirable to most people due to various reasons. Though hard water may not be harmful to a person’s health, it can cause problems when it comes to cleaning surfaces. Softening your home’s water may address this problem.

Hard water contains metal ions that react when used with soaps by preventing them from making more lather and letting them leave a noticeable ring on surfaces, usually seen in the bathtubs that use hard water. Magnesium and calcium alike form deposits on areas where hard water is used for a long time. These deposits can also accumulate on things made from metal, like pipes, sink faucets, shower heads, pots and pans, and inside coffee pots. Extreme cases can even allow build-up to destroy equipment, since it acts as a thermal insulator that can possibly overheat metal tools.

Some of the most common forms of water softeners used in households are devices made from ion-exchanging resin. Water softeners are available in 3 main types, depending on the salt that they use, namely: hydrogen, sodium and potassium. They consist of a resin bed through which water flows. Since the resin has a negative charge, it binds to the metal ions with a positive charge found in hard water. Hydrogen, univalent sodium or potassium are particularly used in the resin, which exchanges with divalent elements such as calcium and magnesium ions. This means that when calcium and magnesium are removed from the water, they are replaced by hydrogen, sodium or potassium.

In the long run, these water softeners will get used up because they release the hydrogen, sodium or potassium molecules into the water as it flows through. However, the resin can be restored by allowing some brine to pass through the resin. There are different kinds of brine that can be used, based on the type of resin – like hydrochloric acid refreshing hydrogen, sodium chloride refreshing sodium and potassium chloride refreshing potassium resin.

After these brines have been used, they can result to problems in the environment when discharged in large quantities. For this reason, several regions need huge water softening plants to retrieve the brine so it can be properly disposed. Resin water softeners have this one side effect, which is, they allow water to be loaded with sodium, especially when the water is very hard from the beginning. During the process of water softening, they can add until 250 mg of sodium/liter to extra hard water.

There are three ways of regenerating water softeners: by means of a meter, using a timer or doing it manually. The most popular and most efficient type of water softener is meter regeneration. This is done by tracking the amount of water being used. Once it is set, the meter depends on the number of people using the water and the hardness of the water. Timer regeneration works on a set schedule, like for example, once a week. Though timer systems are cheaper than meter systems in terms of set-up, they are less efficient in using salts. On the other hand, manual regeneration is done by letting the user regenerate the softener whenever needed. It does not make use of any automated tracking device. While this type of softener is both cheap and efficient, it is only suitable for softening small amounts of water.

Top 7 Methods of Water Treatment

By nature, water is known to be pure as it is composed of strongly bonded atoms of hydrogen and oxygen. However, the water supply across the globe has to share space with other things such as organic materials, minerals, chemicals and manmade pollutants. This brings about an undrinkable solution, since it can contain deadly bacteria and viruses, among other disease-causing agents. Luckily, mankind was able to develop different water treatment methods to allow our water supply to be safe to drink. While there are some methods that are not effective on a larger scale, all of them make untreated water potable for human consumption.

The process of treating water may have slight differences at various locations, based on the plant’s technology as well as the type of water that needs to be treated. Nevertheless, the basic principals are the same. The following section talks about the standard processes of water treatment.

Coagulation / Flocculation

Coagulation is adding liquid aluminum sulfate or alum and/or polymer to raw or untreated water. The resulting mixture causes the dirt particles in the water to coagulate or stick together. Then, the groups of dirt particles attach together, forming larger particles named flocs that can easily be removed via filtration or settling.

Sedimentation

When water and flocs undergo the treatment process, they go into sedimentation basins. Here, water moves slowly, making the heavy floc particles settle to the bottom. Floc that accumulates on the bottom is known as sludge. This is carried on to drying lagoons. Direct Filtration does not include the sedimentation step and the floc is just removed by filtration.

Filtration

In filtration, water passes through a filter, which is made to take away particles from the water. Such filters are composed of gravel and sand or sometimes crushed anthracite. Filtration gathers together impurities that float on water and boosts the effectiveness of disinfection. Filters are regularly cleaned by means of backwashing.

Disinfection

Before water goes into the distribution system, it is disinfected to get rid of disease-causing bacteria, parasites and viruses. Chlorine is also applied since it is very effective.

Sludge Drying

Solids that have been gathered and removed from water via sedimentation and filtration are transferred to drying lagoons.

Fluoridation

Fluoridation treats water supplies of communities to adjust the concentration of free fluoride ions to an optimal level so that dental cavities can be reduced. It is compulsory for Hunter Water to perform water fluoridation to conform to the NSW Fluoridation of Public Water Supplies Act 1957.

pH Correction

To adjust pH levels, lime is combined with filtered water. This, also, stabilizes naturally soft water so corrosion can be minimized in the water distribution system and plumbing of customers.

The Importance of Water and the Right Amount to Drink

Some people do not realize the value of water and how drinking it can have a huge effect on their overall health. Even if it is crucial to drink lots of water, many of these individuals may not be drinking the right amount of water every day.

According to the Institute of Medicine, men are advised to consume 3 liters of water a day, while women are supposed to consume about 2.2 liters daily.

About 70% of the body is made up of water, while 71% of the earth’s surface is covered with water. Since water is found everywhere, people take it for granted, and drinking a sufficient amount is not included in their list of priorities.

Among the different parts of the body, the kidneys depend a lot on a sufficient water intake. Though these organs may not get much attention just like the heart or lungs, they have many important functions that help maintain the health of the body.

Reasons to Drink Water

The cells and organs of our body need water so that they can function well. In addition, this vital fluid regulates blood pressure, lubricates the joints, helps in the passage of food through the intestines, and protects the spinal cord and sensitive tissues.

Some of the water needed by the body comes from foods that have a high content of water – such as soups, oranges and tomatoes – but most of it comes from drinking water and other beverages.

As people do their normal daily activities, their body loses water and it has to be replenished. It is obvious that water is lost when sweating and urinating. However, many do not know that it is also lost when breathing.

Whether drinking from a bottle or the tap, water is the body’s best source of fluids. Milk and juices are good sources of water, while drinks with caffeine and alcohol content like coffee, soft drinks and beer are not ideal because they have diuretic properties that cause the body to discharge water.

The Right Amount of Water to Drink

The right amount of water that should be consumed on a daily basis varies from one person to another, based on different factors – like everyday activities and the amount of sweat they release. There is no universal rule as to the water consumption that needs to be achieved. Nevertheless, there is a general level of agreement as to the healthy amount.

It has always been said that people need to drink eight glasses a day, which is about 1.9 liters. This is very near the recommendation of the Institute of Medicine for women. It is somehow easy to remember the quantity 8 x 8 ounces to set them on the right track, when it comes to water consumption.

What’s more, water also helps in dissolving nutrients and minerals to make them more available to the body. It also flushes waste products out of the body’s system. These two functions make water essential to the kidneys.