Understanding hard water & water softening


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Learn what hard water is, where it comes from, and why it's costing you money. Sodium based ion exchange water softeners have taken a bum rap in recent years. This presentation will set the record straight with information from several reports detailing the energy, detergent, and appliance saving power of water softeners.

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Understanding hard water & water softening

  1. 1. Understanding Hard Water & Water Softening<br />Why You Need a<br />Water Softener<br />
  2. 2. First Things First<br />What is Water Hardness?<br />
  3. 3. Groundwater dissolves rocks and minerals releasing calcium, magnesium, and other ions that cause water to be hard. These dissolved ions give hard water its characteristics.<br />
  4. 4. Hardness levels vary in different geographic regions.<br />
  5. 5. So, what’s the big deal?<br />Why is hardness bad?<br />
  6. 6. It costs you<br />MONEY !!<br />
  7. 7. Water softeners can save significant amounts of money and energy in the home, a major new study by the independent Battelle Institute revealed.<br />See the study summary here.<br />
  8. 8. Hardness minerals precipitate out of the water and form energy robbing scale. <br />
  9. 9. Gas water heaters: <br />Gas water heaters operated on softened water maintained the original factory efficiency rating over a 15-year lifetime. <br />Each five grains per gallon of hardness causes an 8% loss in efficiency and 8% increase in cost when using 100 gallons of hot water per day. (On 30 gpg hard water, that’s 48% less efficient than with softened water.)<br />
  10. 10. Tankless heaters: <br />Instantaneous gas water heaters operated on softened water maintained the original factory efficiency rating over a 15-year lifetime. <br />The study found that tankless water heaters completely failed to function because of scale plugging in the downstream plumbing after only 1.6 years of equivalent hot water use on 26 gpg hard water. Softened water saves 34% of costs compared to operating on 20 gpg and saves 47% compared to operation on 30 gpg hard water. <br />
  11. 11. Studies show washing with softened water can significantly cut detergent use, & energy consumption:<br />Consumers can cut back on dish and laundry detergent use by 50 percent or more and lower washing machine temperatures from hot to cold just by using softened water, as shown by two new independent studies.<br />
  12. 12. The detergent savings studies conducted by Scientific Services S/D, INC. of New York reveal that using softened water in washing machines, can reduce detergent use by 50 %and save energy by washing in 60ºF cold water instead of 100ºF hot water, achieving the same or better stain removal and whiter clothes compared to results in hard water.<br />
  13. 13.
  14. 14. Reduction of hardness is significantly more effective on stain removal than either increase in temperature or detergent dose. This is demonstrated in the graph below for top loading washers, but it was also confirmed for side loading washers.<br />
  15. 15. The same study indicates: Areas having very hard water, can cut detergent use in dishwashers by more than 50% after softening and get the same cleaning results.<br />
  16. 16.
  17. 17. Energy efficiency and cost savings are significant over time<br />
  18. 18. OK, I want one but, How does a softener work?<br />
  19. 19. Hard water, loaded with Calcium, Magnesium, and many other ions, enters the water softener and contacts millions of special resin beads which hold billions of sodium ions. The Calcium, Magnesium, and other ions trade places with the Sodium ions, creating softened water.<br />
  20. 20. How Water Softeners Work<br />SOFTENING CYCLE<br />Capacity to soften water now ending<br />Water Softener<br />Hard water enters<br />Many gallons later<br />Regeneration with salt brine now required<br />Softened water containing sodium ions<br />Sodium charged ion exchange resin<br />Partially exhausted, but still delivering 100% soft water<br />
  21. 21. How Water Softeners Work<br />REGENERATION CYCLE<br />Waste water containing hardness in exchange for sodium<br />Softener still discharging waste water<br />Excess salt brine also removed<br />Regeneration complete<br />Ready for ion exchange softening<br />Salt brine, most economical source of sodium<br />15 to 20 minutes later<br />Regeneration almost completed<br />
  22. 22. Typical Water Softener<br />
  23. 23. Water Softeners Remove Other Contaminants<br />Nearly any positively charged cation can be captured by a typical water softener using standard cation exchange resin, i.e. Iron, Manganese, Lead, Aluminum, Barium, Cadmium, Copper, Potassium, Radium, Silver, Strontium, Uranium (depending on valence).<br />This is not a comprehensive list, and specific water chemistry may affect removal rates. <br />
  24. 24. The Bottom Line<br />Water softeners work, and the bad rap they have received in recent years in unjustified! They work significantly better than any of the so called “no salt” softener/anti-scale devices. All while saving energy and protecting the environment.<br />