Download PDF

What is Hardness of Water?

Hardness – hardness is defined as the sum of the calcium (Ca) and magnesium (Mg) concentrations, both expressed as calcium carbonate in milligrams per liter (mg/L).

Often water treatment technicians express hardness with units of grains per gallon. 1grain
(gr) per gallon (gal) = 17.1 mg/L = 17.1 ppm. Conversely, 1 mg/L = 0.0585 gr/gal. So if you know your water’s hardness in terms of grains per gallon you can convert that value to mg/L or ppm by multiplying by 17.1. In the reverse, if you have the value in terms of mg/L or ppm multiply that value by 0.0585 to obtain that value in terms of gr/gal.

Example: 104 mg/L x 0.0585 = 6.084 gr/gal.


The following information is from: watersoftners.com

The Primary Purpose of a Water Softener

Although hard water is beneficial to humans, plants and animals it creates problems with build up of calcium and magnesium in plumbing pipes and appliances as well as hot water heaters which cost Americans hundreds of millions of dollars each year. The negative effect of calcium sticking to our hair and skin has created a windfall for hair and skin products designed to counteract these effects. The Primary purpose of a water softener is to counteract the negative effects of hard water.

Many people are unaware of the different methods for softening water and the advantages and disadvantages of each. On this site you will find information about the different methods for softening water that will aid you in your selection process to determine the right method for you. We have researched the top 4 methods used in whole house water softeners and have rated the top product for each method. There are many benefits to owning and using a water softener.

Click On Manufacturer Rating To Visit Their Website

Manufacturer Name

Pelican™

Local Francise Dealer

RainDanceSM

GMX

Rating

 2.5

 3

Model

Pelican™ Salt-Free Softener

Must make house call to get

WH-RO-500

Diamond 4800

Softening Method

Salt-Free/ Nano Technology

Salt-Based/ Ion Exchange

Reverse Osmosis

Magnetics

Price

$1,295.00

$1,399-$2,700

$11,975.00

$723.00

Performance Guarantee

Yes (1 Year)

Yes

No

Yes (120 Day Money Back)

Maintenance Required

No

Yes – Tech Required

Yes – Daily/Weekly

No

Backwashing

No

Yes

No

No

Monthly Cost

None

Electricity/Backwashing/Salt
(Water, if on city water)

Extensive – Weekly/Monthly

None

Electricity Required

No

Yes

Yes

No

Warranty

10 year Tank/Head/Valve

10 yr Tank/ 5 yr Elec. Head

10 year Tanks(only)

Lifetime

Professional Install Req. For Warranty

No

Yes

No

No

City/Well?

City/Well

City/Well

City/Well

City/Well

Flow Rate/GPM

16

10

12

N/A

Ease Of Use

Easy

Not Easy

Very Complicated

Easy

Pressure Loss Detected

No

Yes

Yes

No

Scale Removal

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

Hardness Capacity

75 Grains (> 1,282 mG/L)

Sized up to 100 Grains

No Limit

55 Grains (940 mG/L)

TOP 4 METHODS OF WATER SOFTENING & HOW THEY WORK

SALT-FREE WATER SOFTENERS (CATALYTIC MEDIA)

The media is a catalytically working media using nano-technology developed to first remove already existing scale from pipes and heat exchanger surfaces (de-scaling effect) and further on to protect the system from future formation of scale (scale protection effect). This media is used in a process where atoms are placed in a special structure so that an active surface is created. This technology is so effective that it requires only a few seconds of contact time. It transforms the dissolved calcium carbonate (temporary hardness) so it cannot attach to any surfaces. The chemical bonds are then rinsed away by the water flow. The size of the bonds is so small (in the range of a nanometer) that they can only be seen with a microscope. Therefore the effect is the same as if the water was free of temporary hardness (calcium carbonate). The crystals are heat resistant and do not fall apart under high water temperatures.

Advantages
The system requires no monthly maintenance or additional monthly costs. It softens the water without the use of salt or potassium; therefore there is no need for an expensive reverse osmosis system for drinking water. The salt free softener leaves in all the essential minerals for the drinking water requiring no chemicals, electricity, or back flushing to operate. There is no wasted water or drains to install. It allows for up to 50% less soaps or detergents to be used, saving money and completely removes and prevents 100% of the scale from forming in all pipes and heat exchangers (hot water heater). The system does not fall under any softener ban because it does not discharge salt or potassium back into the ground water. It is 100% environmentally friendly. Longer life of appliances including washing machines, dishwashers, and water heaters; less use of household cleaning products, such as detergents, as well as personal care products, like shampoo; reduction of water spotting; cleaner, softer feeling clothes.

Disadvantages
Not recommended for water that contains traces of oil, or H2S.

SALT-BASED WATER SOFTENERS (ION EXCHANGE)

Calcium (Ca2+) and magnesium (Mg2+) ions that cause water hardness can be removed by using an ion exchange procedure. Water softeners are cation exchange devises. Cations refer to positively charged ions. Cation exchange involves the replacement of the hardness ion with a non-hardness ion. Salt-based water softeners use sodium (Na+) as the exchange ion. Sodium ions are supplied from dissolved sodium chloride salt, also called brine. In the ion exchange process, sodium ions are used to coat an exchange medium in the softener. The exchange medium can be natural “zeolites” or synthetic resin beads that resemble wet sand. As hard water passes through a softener, the calcium and magnesium trade places with sodium ions. Sodium ions are held loosely and are easily replaced by calcium and magnesium ions. During this process free sodium ions are released to the water. After softening a large quantity of hard water the exchange medium becomes coated with calcium and magnesium ions. When this occurs, the exchange medium must be recharged or regenerated. To recharge the softener with sodium ions, a softener is back flushed with a salt brine solution. During a back flush the brine solution replaces the calcium and magnesium ions on the exchange medium with sodium ions from the salt solution. The time between recharging cycles depends on the hardness of the water, the amount of water used, the size of the unit, and the capacity of the exchange media to remove hardness.

Advantages
Longer life of appliances including washing machines, dishwashers, and water heaters; less use of household cleaning products, such as detergents, as well as personal care products, like shampoo; reduction of water spotting; cleaner, softer feeling clothes.

Disadvantages
Softened water from a salt-based water softener is not recommended for drinking, watering houseplants, lawns and gardens due to its sodium content. There are many health risks associated with sodium intake. During the softening process sodium is released from the exchange media into the output water. For every grain of hardness removed from water, 8mg/1 (ppm) of sodium is added. People on restricted sodium intake diets should account for increased levels of sodium in softened water. Your family physician should be consulted. Sodium intake from softened water can be avoided by leaving one kitchen tap un-softened for drinking and cooking. Water used in recharging a water softener may overload or reduce the effectiveness of small septic or sewer systems. Softened water is not recommended for small appliances such as steam irons or evaporative coolers. There are additional cost and maintenance required. Salt-based softeners require that salt be added to the system on a regular basis based upon the hardness of the water. Cost of salt is approximately $5 to $7 per 40-pound bag depending on the form.

MAGNETIC WATER SOFTENER / MAGNETIC WATER CONDITIONER (USES MAGNETS)

The majority of these devices claim to work by causing the carbonate salts that would ordinarily form adherent scale deposits to precipitate as small particles within the water instead. This would also presumably reduce the concentration of the calcium and magnesium ions that react with soaps to form insoluble scum.

Advantages
Magnetic water softening claims to reduce the scale build up and the affects of hard water. The magnetic devises are very inexpensive compared to other methods of softening water.

Disadvantages
The degree of efficiency is constantly changing. The magnetic field exists only in the immediate vicinity of the device and therefore only affects behavior of water that has passed through the immediate vicinity of the device. The state of the water after it has been introduced to the magnetic field will only stay in that state for a period of 48 hours, which means if the water is not used for more than 48 hour it will revert back to hard water with the negative effects. The Tests conducted at Purdue University found “…no significant, beneficial variation in the physical or chemical water quality parameters measured.” Another disadvantage is that there is the possibility of experiencing interference from other high voltage cables in the surrounding area. Note: GMX magnetic systems were not tested by Purdue.

Conclusion
The above methods of dealing with hard water are proven technologies if used in the right application. Watersoftners.com recommends you consider on going maintenance cost as well as initial cost of each system. Please refer to the recommended usage section for a good starting point in your decision-making.