Hard water is water that contains several metal ions like calcium and magnesium. This water type is responsible for the formation of limescale that is harmful to the plumbing and galvanic systems. It has also shown to have a bad effect on the skin, hair, appliances, and clothes when it is mixed with soap. In industrial settings, such may interfere with the proper functioning of the sewage system. In order to prevent future problems caused by limescales, hard water should be softened.
As an overview, soft water can be created by removing the different cations present. The removal of cations from hard water or the softening of water can be achieved with the use of the so-called water softeners or water softening systems. The principle behind each type or brand of water softeners is different. Most water softening systems use salt-based and salt-free principles. Salt-based water softeners use the process called ion exchange. As the name implies, the hard cations present in the water is replaced or exchanged with sodium ions. Such is done with the help of a resin bed. The good thing about salt-based water softeners is that the cations in hard water are removed completely before even opening the faucet. However, salt-based water softeners are expensive. They also require regular maintenance because of the filtration process. Likewise, users of a salt-based water softener should also expect that the product will produce a plenty of wastewater. In addition, as the product’s name implies, people also need to use salt in order for the product to work properly.
On the other hand, salt-free water softeners use a process called Template Assisted Crystallization (TAC). As the name implies, a catalytic media is used to convert the hard ions into something that do not adhere to surfaces. Meaning, they do not really remove hard ions. The products only turn the ions into something that is no longer harmful. With such in regard, they are often commonly known as water descalers or conditioners. With this type of water softeners, people no longer have to use salt. Likewise, they are also very easy to maintain. Although some brands under this line may require cartridge and part replacements, such is only done after prolonged use.
In addition, salt-free water softeners also do not produce waste water. They are also far more affordable than salt-based water softening systems. Some points to remember are that when using salt-free water softeners, one is that limescales will still be present. However, such will not accumulate on pipes and faucets. Second, they operate in a very slow manner. Meaning, the treatment process may take some time. That is due to the fact that they use electromagnets in order to alter the structures of the hard ions.
After a careful look at the two types of water softeners, interested buyers should evaluate their wants and needs. That is due to the fact that both types of systems will be helpful but in different manners. With so many brands to choose from, buyers should make sure that they thoroughly evaluate the brand that they are interested. They can do such by looking at the Soft Water Lab site.