“Life can be hard, don’t let water be hard too” - if your water softener was a movie character, this would be what it would say. Of course, it is quite likely that it would not be the lead character, just like it is not the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of water processing appliances. That badge of honour goes to the water purifier or even the water filter. However, the water softener for a house is no less important in a comprehensive water processing strategy, especially if you live in a place where soft water is hard to come by. 😉
You might not realise this, but if your incoming water supply contains hard water, the water softener is what stands between the hard water and every appliance in your house. It is your first line of defence against a multitude of issues that can be caused by hard water. Think of this - any appliance in your house that uses water, like showers, faucets, washing machines, even your water purifiers or filters are much more likely to get damaged over time if they are subjected to hard water. They will either face reduced life span or will be more expensive to maintain. So, let’s learn something about how water softeners work and how we can make the best use of them.
Water softeners (sometimes also called whole house water softeners) work on the principle of ion exchange. In this, the hardness-causing calcium and magnesium ions are removed from water by replacing them with sodium ions. This is typically done by passing them through a resin bed containing sodium ions. Sodium ions do not cause hardness in water and thus, the output water is soft and safe to use in your home appliances. Also, the level of sodium ions in the output water is low enough for it to be healthy for use as well as consumption, especially when it is coupled with a water purifier.
After prolonged use, the resin bed needs to be “regenerated” by washing it with a saltwater mixture, also called brine. This washes off the calcium and magnesium ions and replaces them with sodium ions. The regeneration process in water softeners for home is of two types - co-current and counter-current. In the former, the saltwater solution is introduced in the same direction as the incoming water, whereas in the latter, it is introduced in the opposite direction as the incoming water. Counter-current regeneration uses much less salt and water as compared to co-current regeneration. A good indicator of when regeneration is needed is when the output water feels hard, judging by lack of lather while using soap/detergent.
Water softeners may be underrated, but they can be your best friend when dealing with hard water. Protecting your home appliances and health from hard water has never been easier. Get yourself the best water softener today and protect your family.