If you are a resident of the Dallas-Forth Worth metroplex, you know that the water coming from your private well is corrosive in nature. The reason is the hard quality of water that enters your home from the main source. It contains excessive minerals including magnesium, calcium, lime and chalk. Ground water dissolves the rocks in the soil and acquires these minerals.
As water from your well comes straight from the ground, it is not treated and hence contains such impurities. Water filters can help to a certain extent in making the water potable. However, when it comes to household chores, a larger quantity of water is required and it becomes difficult to purify it with the regular water filter.
Why is hard water unfit for use?
When hard water passes through your plumbing and fixtures, the minerals present in the hard water leave a layer of residue on clothes and dishes after wash. A thin white film is formed inside the bathtub and on the faucets which looks very ugly. If you wash your hair with such water, it loses its shine and feels sticky.
Another problem that is generally faced because of hard water is that appliances do not work efficiently. When you use soap for bathing or detergent for washing, it does not form a rich lather because it reacts with calcium and magnesium in the water. This in turn leads to a build-up of soap which once again adds to the white and sticky layer. The soap scum is very stubborn and takes a long time to get removed.
What is the best solution for this problem?
The only way to prevent damage due to hard water is to soften the well water. A smart way of doing this is to install a special water filter which acts as a water softener. However, before installing a water softener, you should always test the water that comes out of your well for hardness.
According to industry standards, if your water test result shows a figure of less than or equal to 1 GPG (grains per gallon) of calcium carbonate, your water is considered to be soft. It can be treated with simple water filtration. Anything above that level is considered either moderately or severely hard depending on the concentration of minerals. You can purchase a water analysis kit from companies that sell water softeners or you can call over technicians to carry out the testing process.
All other methods of combating hard water except for water softening like descaling, filtration and chemical softening are either cost-prohibitive or ineffective in solving the problem completely.
How does the Water softener work its magic on hard water?
A water softener contains a resin tank along with a brine tank and a control system. The timer and control valve are connected to the water supply system inside your home. This device filters the hard water before it enters your property. First, the unconditioned water is allowed to flow into the resin tank which contains several plastic-like beads which are arranged at the bottom of the tank in the form of columns to form a resin-bed.
This tank follows a simple principle. When the hard water flows over this resin bed, it switches the calcium and magnesium ions in the water with sodium ions or any other desirable ions. The resin beads are negatively charged and filled with sodium ions. These beads attract the positively charged ions of magnesium and calcium. Sodium has a weaker positive charge. Hence, magnesium and calcium ions with a stronger positive charge force the sodium ions to get displaced from the beads and mix with the water and they take its place instead.
When the water reaches the bottom of the tank after penetrating the resin bed, it becomes clear of all impurities and is fit for use. This treated water is pumped out from the tank with the help of the riser tube and outlet manifold. After that, it is distributed throughout the house using the cold water pipeline.
A high quantity of sodium is harmful for health but this process adds very little sodium to the water that enters your house. It does not pose any health concerns as such. You can safely use a water softener to get clean and pure water for daily use.
How to keep the water softener running?
The water softener is the most effective method of reducing the hardness of water. It works well for a long period of time till the calcium and magnesium ions replace all the sodium ions in the beads. Once that happens, the resin tank can no longer carry out the softening process effectively. It needs to be recharged with sodium periodically to function properly.
This regeneration cycle involves loading up of the resin tank with a strong solution of salt and water from the brine tank. This backwash cycle involves a reversal of the flow of water as it is forced down the riser tube till it reaches the bottom of the tank. Then it is made to flow up the resin bed which leads to a flushing and expanding of the resin.
The beads are washed and the extremely high amount of sodium chloride in this brine solution compels the magnesium and calcium ions to give away after which sodium takes their place in the beads once again. The brine solution containing the displaced ions of calcium and magnesium is flushed out through a drainpipe.
After this process the brine tank is empty so a slow rinse starts with a gradual increase in speed. This flow of fresh water over the resin beads removes the extra salt from the beads and the tank and disposes it through the drain. The brine tank automatically gets refilled for the next regeneration cycle. Finally, the service cycle restarts and the resin tank is ready to soften the hard water again.
There are various types of regenerating systems in water softeners. Some of them come with electronic timers which conduct regeneration at a set interval regularly. Some other softeners have a computer to calculate the extent of bead depletion on the basis of usage of water. Another system is that of the water meter which measures the amount of water used and starts the recharging process after the level of sodium gets exhausted.
The system based on the amount of water processed is better than the timer-based one because it recharges only when necessary thereby, saving time and energy.
Benefits of using a water softener for treating well water:
Removal of iron
Along with calcium and magnesium, most water softeners also remove iron from your water supply, which is present in a high concentration in well water. Such a high level of iron is toxic for the body and can damage skin cells and cause damage to the stomach, liver, heart and pancreas. It can also stain the bathtub, sinks, dishes and showers along with clogging pipes. By installing the water softener, the well water entering your house is free of iron and hence, safe for use.
Reduction of corrosion
As the softening process removes the corrosive minerals from the water, it prevents further corrosion. There is no buildup of the residual minerals on different surfaces or on the inside of the pipes. This ensures de-clogging of the pipes and easy flow of water. The life of your plumbing system gets extended as the fixtures work effectively.
Faster Heating of water
Hard water takes longer to heat up than soft water. When you install a water softener, the water heater works 22% faster to heat the water. This improvement in efficiency reflects on your electricity bill as well by saving a lot of energy consumption.
Healthier Drinking Water
Everybody prefers drinking water which is free of impurities and clean because it is good for health. A water softener is able to remove most of the minerals from the water which are present in excess thereby improving the taste as well as the quality of the well water and making it completely fit for human consumption. This method is cheaper and safer than boiling water every time you need it for drinking or cooking.
Lesser Buildup of Soap Scum
As the concentration of minerals in the water decreases significantly, soap does not react with the water and turn into a sticky substance that is difficult to remove from the surface of the floor or sink. There is no white layer covering faucets, bathtubs and showerheads. This makes cleaning easier and reduces effort. You need to use less shampoo and soap while bathing because lather is easily formed and it cleans effectively.
Along with these benefits, a water softener also preserves the life of appliances, keeps the dishes and fixtures clean and shiny, increases durability of fabrics and enhances smoothness of hair.
Let VA Water LLC Help Make Hard Well Water Soft
Now that you know how handy it is to have a water softener to treat well water, install one at your place today by getting in touch with VA Water LLC water filtration experts servicing the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington area!