/ Understanding Basic Water Conditioning
is hard water? Simply stated hard water is water that contains
dissolved hardness minerals that are picked up during the
hydrologic cycle. This process begins as soon as water hits
the ground after rain. As water filters through the ground
it dissolves a little bit of everything it comes in contact
with. Hardness comes from the following minerals.
that are rich in these minerals will have hard water.
is hard water a problem?
Water that contains hardness creates two primary problems
in the household water supply.
The hardness will turn to a hard scale where water evaporates
or rises in temperature. This can happen in water heaters,
pipes and at plumbing fixtures like sink faucets and stools.
Water that contains hardness will react with soap and cleaning
products to form soap curd. This is soap that has come out
of solution and turned into a solid. Soap curd is very sticky
and collects on everything it touches. Soap curd is responsible
for the following problems.
Dull Laundry Foggy Shower Doors Dry Skin
Limp lifeless hair Water spots on fixtures Clogged drains
Iron is the other key ingredient. If you have a well providing
your water supply iron will more than likely be present. Anything
that causes stain is referred to as iron by most people. Actually
there are many different things in water that cause a stain
Most iron begins a ferrous iron which is clear before being
exposed to air the oxidizes and becomes ferric iron red in
color. Iron is normally found as a mixture of ferrous and
ferric because of some oxidation that occurs in the ground.
The third type of iron is bacterial iron. This is a micro
organism that feeds on ferrous iron and converts it to ferric
iron. This bacterium is easy to identify with the eye.
Anywhere that water stands in the open air, such as a stool
holding tank, or a shower stall you will find a slippery gel
substance and often times an oil slick on the water surface
that has a rainbow effect.
is showing the presence of bacterial iron and could be a sign
that basic water conditioning alone may not solve the complete
Basic rules to follow:
Ferrous iron will come out through the ion exchange water
Ferric iron can be managed with an oversized softener to a
Bacterial iron needs to be addressed separately.
Conditioner ratings on iron apply to ferrous iron.
Bacterial iron is usually only a problem where water stands
in the open air. Iron filters will solve the bacterial iron
problem, but some simple tricks can manage the problem without
the expense and maintenance of equipment. Use automatic toilet
bowl dispensers and refill with bleach. Chlorinate the well
occasionally and flush the lines to the outside.
How a Water Softener Works.
There are three components to a water softener:
1. Resin tank-contains resin that treats the water.
2. Brine tank-contains the salt and water to make brine to
regenerate the resin.
3. Control valve-Operates system
resin in a water softener is a porous bead made from polystyrene.
It has a negative charge and collects positive ions, such
as calcium, magnesium, and iron. Sodium also has a positive
charge, but during regeneration the resin beads are bombarded
with so much sodium the positive charged calcium, magnesium,
and iron are forced down the drain. The resin beads only hold
so much sodium after regeneration, the less charged sodium
is released when the calcium, magnesium, and iron make contact
with the resin.
The amount of resin in a water softener determines the size
of the softener.
Resin is measured in cubic feet. If one trys to determine
size in grains it can be confusing. Each manufacturer can
claim different grains of capacity in grains. Brand new one
cubic foot has 42,000 grains of removal capacity. Regenerated
resin contains the following capacities:
As you can see a manufacturer could say their softener was
42,000 new or they say 38,000.
best to measure by the cubic foot for comparisons. As you
can see if you set youre water softener at 30 pounds
at each regeneration it would be very inefficient. Most one
cubic foot water softeners are set at 8 pounds of salt per
regeneration to get the most efficient use of salt.
makes resin good?
Bead size and shape, beads are referred to in mesh size and
there is a standard range of acceptable mesh sizes. Standard,
resin range is 16 mesh to 40 mesh. Good beads should always
be in this range. The shape of the beads should be a perfect
sphere; broken beads will appear jagged in shape.
Why is this important?
Resin leakage-If beads are broken up they can get past the
distributor and into the house, have loss of capacity after
time, and loss of ability to handle iron.
When assessing the quality of a softener one must know the
Resin tanks are made of steel, stainless steel, and fiberglass,
all are roughed and strong. The stainless steel and fiberglass
Eli mate any corrosion. Stainless and steel tanks tend to
condense more than fiberglass. A resin tank should be covered
by an insulted jacket or have a drip pan under it, if located
where floor damage could result from condensation.
Standard distributors have one tube going down from the valve
to the bottom of the tank. There must be 50% free board (the
distance between the top of the resin bed and the top of the
tank) with a standard distributor. This freeboard is used
during back washing when the resin bed is expanded up to the
Turbulator distributors have one tube going down, from the
valve to the bottom of the tank, and another goes up from
the bottom to 14" below the tank neck. The freeboard
is 10" with a Turbulator; the Turbulator pulls resin
from the bottom of the tank and redistributes it to the top
of the bed during backwash. This process does not require
the 50% free space like the standard distributor. The Turbulator
offers more bed depth for a given size system than a standard
distributor. The greater the bed depth the greater the iron
control, because there is more contact time with the water
passing through the bed. The scrubbing action of the Turbulator
helps get the iron off the beads. Turbulator are used on 1.0,
1.5, and 2.0, cubic foot resin beds.
Brine tanks are used to mix salt and water to make brine.
brine tank components
Seamless design on tank Brine well
Salt grid Overflow tubing
Overflow protection valve Air checks
1. Purified also called evaporated, comes standard or with
iron inhibitor added, mined by pump
2. Solar, evaporated sea or from the Great Salt Lake.
3. Rock Salt, unprocessed and dirty.
The cleaner the salt, the less frequently brine tanks need
Potassium may now also be used. The cost is more, and it is
not as effective on iron.
Types of Valves:
Manual: Operator initiates and changes cycles (just about
Semi Automatic: Operator initiates cycle and unit automatically
Automatic: Fully automatic-operates on a set schedule without
Demand Initiated automatic: Fully automatic-operates on water
1. Brass Casting-Hand machined, last forever only internal
parts may require replacement, very
2. Plastic Molded-Injection Molded-very cost effective, non-corrosive,
but can be somewhat susceptible to
Timer Control -Scheduled, set 5-6-7 or 12 day scheduled determined
Advantages: Easy and very reliable, less to go wrong, cost
Disadvantages: Unit charges whether it needs it or not. Unless
you use the exact same amount of water every day, unit can
charge too much wasting to much salt and water, or may not
charge enough, causing unit to run out of soft water.
Meter Control-Single Tank
A meter is set by gallons, to trip the system into regeneration.
Advantages: Cycles are based on water consumption saving water
Disadvantages: Initial cost is higher, reserve capacity could
make unit inefficient with a consistent water consumption
Meter Control-Twin Tank
A meter is set by gallons, to trip the system into regeneration,
one tank is fully exhausted before the control valve is switched
to a second stand by tank.
Advantages: The most efficient method of conditioning water,
regeneration water is soft not hard.
Disadvantages: Initial cost is much Higher.
Water Conditioners have 4 different Valve Styles:
Hydraulic- Liquid driven
Solenoid Operated- Uses solenoids and diaphragms
Cam Driven-Motor rotated cam emerges plungers and pistons
Positive Driven- Piston is direct driven to cycle position
[This is the system we feel is the best and our systems use]
The valve with the least number of moving parts will have
the lowest rate of service, and will be the easiest to service.
Usually this is the positive or cam driven.
Systems verses Electronics
Mechanical systems are easy to diagnose, and service, and
can almost always be serviced on site. Also mechanical systems
repairs are usually less expensive. Electronic systems usually
cannot be repaired on site and may need to be completely replaced
if problems occur. Also Electronic systems are susceptible
to changes in conditions, where there are placed, such as
basements or garages where humidity and condensation are present.
one piece models verses Two piece models
Cabinet models have the brine tank and resin tank all together,
which can cause salt bridging, because the resin tank can
condense making the salt wet turning it hard so it cant
drop down to dissolve. Also with the cabinet models being
one piece, just about makes it impossible to ever clean out
the brine tank out. Also the salt, and the water being so
close to the control valve, can cause the control to corrode.
Although cabinet models save space, a two piece unit with
a compact brine tank can make the system just as efficient
on saving space.
preceding information is to help you understand water conditioning.
We hope you buy a system from us, but if you dont we
hope this information will make you more informed, and will
get the system you need at a competitive price.
Have Questions? Send us an e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org