Water softening is one of the most common water treatment and purification method in Hungary. This is often needed because most of our waters are groundwater, and in the water that leaks through the rocks, alot of calcium and magnesium dissolves, causing water hardness. Dissolved metal salts precipitate out of the water and limescale formation begins in the piping systems, inside household devices and equipment. As a result, their lifetime is reduced and their efficiency deteriorate. For water softening tasks, there are different types of water softener devices that remove calcium and magnesium ions that cause water hardness, and they replace sodium ions that do not cause water hardness. Smaller domestic water softeners and industrial water softeners do not differ much, usually on size.
Customers typically face a water hardness problem when water analysis arrives a well drill, or they simply notice that equipment and surfaces are calcifying. However, it is also possible that only better water quality and sdoft water needed. Waterworks and all facilities producing drinking water must comply regulations of drinking water quality requirements (you can read about this in the information menu), wich often means very hard water, as the limit is 350 mg/l (35 nk °). This limit already means very high levels of calcium and magnesium, even if we talk about half of this at 17-18 nk °, it is considered hard water, causing severe deposits. Sometime we do not need soft water because of current drinking water regulation or the unpleasant calcification, but because of used technolog. In all cases we use a water softener, but with other parameters. We would like to draw your attention that soft water should not be confused with desalinated water! This is also mistakenly associated by many professionals and claims that soft water is agressive, meaning it damages piping and equipment. This is not true, during water softening we don not change the total salt content of the water, in the most of the cases sodium ion exchange method is used. This means that some ions, like calcium-magnesium ions are replaced by other sodium ions. The agressiveness of water occurs when the salt balance of the water is broken, some or even all of the mineral salt content is extracted from water without being replaced by other ions.
Water softening as a term is often used wrong in cases, when no actual water softening, so calcium-magnesium ions are not extracted from water. Such as electric water softening, magnetic or chemical water softening. These softening methods do not exits, their name is the scale protection process ot equipment. Water softeners and limescale removers are have their own field of application, but should be not confused with each other.
When choosing a water softener, it isimportant to consider some parameters, such as:
water flow volume, the amount of water to be softened, the required time between regenerations, water hardness.
The anti-fouling process and water softening can be performed in several ways, wich are the following:
1. Ion exchange water softening:
in this case we use a synthetic resin charge or a natural Zeolite charge for ion exchange. The hard water flows through the ion exchange resin in the tank of the water softener, where the water is softened by ion exchange. This ion exchange resin replaces hardness causing calcium and magnesium ions with non-hardness causing sodium ion. Once the ion exchange charge is saturated with calcium-magnesium ions (depleted), it is necessary to regenerate the water softener. The regeneration is made by high purity tablet salt, so while the dissolved aslt is in contact with the surface of the ion exchange charge, it absorbs the sodium or even potassium ions and ”drops” the calcium-magnesium ions, wich are then discharges from the water softener drain.
2. Chemical anti-fouling agents:
In this case, the used chemical is usually a phosphate based chemical (polyphosphate) that forms a shell around the calcium-magnesium ions, preventing them from deposit. during the application, it must be taken care when water evaporates from pipe system and equipment, calcification also froms here.
3. Electric anti-deposit device:
It is a device that has to be installed on the water pipe and the device crushes the calcium-magnesium ions with electrical impulses, under certain conditions it does not allow calcifications. This is not a water softener, but it is suitable for smaller applications especially where is a continuous water flow, or wherever you want to prevent the build-up of deposits in the pipe network. In this case, it should be noted that the calcium-magnesium has not been removed from water (not softened), calcification and deposition will occur far from the equipment due to water heating and/or pressure drop. For example, the pressure of the water flowing out of the tap drops suddenly, such as on sanitary fittings, tiles, showers walls the limescale will form. We do not recommend its use in households.
4. magnetic anti-deposit device:
it is a similar device like device above. The only difference is, here the calcium-magnesium ions are polarized with the magnetic field so that they cannot easily stick to the wall of the pipe network and cause calcification. Its advantages and disadvantages are the same as the electric anti-deposit device.