Water Softeners Vs Water Conditioners
What is the difference between a water softener and a water conditioner?
If you’re looking for the best way to treat your home’s water, you’ve probably heard of water softening and conditioning systems. Both systems are used to clean water, but they do it differently.
When deciding between a water softener and a water conditioner, it’s essential to know that they work differently and eliminate different contaminants. The way water softeners and water conditioners are set up is also different. Let’s take a closer look at how a water softener differs from a water conditioner and the pros and cons of each.
Why Would You Want to Soften or Treat Your Water?
You may have heard of “hard water,” but you might not know what it is. When water has a lot of dissolved minerals, it is said to be hard. These hard water metals are usually made up of calcium and magnesium in the form of ions. Your water has acquired these minerals over time as it seeps through the ground.
The hardness of your water can also have a significant effect on your body, your home, and your business. The most common effect of hard water is that it leaves behind mineral deposits on surfaces which have been in contact with it. This build-up of minerals is called scaling. If you do have hard water in your household, look at the fixtures and surfaces in the bathroom, like the shower doors. You will probably find lime scale accumulation, a hard, white mineral build-up.
Lime scale doesn’t just build up on the surfaces in your bathroom and kitchen. Over time, scale builds up on the inside of pipes. Limescale can also greatly affect things like your dishwasher or boiler that heat water. Scale build-up will make these appliances work less efficiently.
Some people soften their water from the tap because they don’t like how hard water makes them feel. Your hair and skin also have mineral deposits left behind because of hard water. These mineral deposits will make hair less shiny and complete and make it more brittle. Simultaneously, the mineral deposits that stay on your skin can make it feel dry.
A water softener is the best way to deal with these problems. Water softeners are used to get rid of hard minerals in the water. On the other hand, water conditioners are usually used to get rid of chemicals and other things that make your water taste or smell bad. Also, some water conditioners can make the water softer, while hybrid systems simultaneously treat the water in two ways.
How do you decide between a water softener and a water conditioner?
Both of these often are put in place where your house’s water line comes in. They soften or condition the water for the whole house. Let’s look at how each type of water filtration system works to decide if you need a water softener or a water conditioner.
A water softening system is the most common way to deal with hard water at home or in a business. Ion exchange or reverse osmosis is the process that water softeners use to soften water. Ion exchange systems work by separating the mineral ions dissolved in hard water and replacing them with sodium ions.
Most systems that soften water are made up of two tanks. In the main tank, special resin particles contain sodium ions. In the second tank, there is a salty solution used to clean the polymer in the first tank.
Mineral ions are picked up by water as it moves through the soil. The water molecule binds to these mineral ions. Ion-exchange units pull these mineral ions away from the water molecule to break this bond. The mineral ions are drawn to the resin beads as the water supply goes into the water softening system’s first tank. When they stick to the resin beads, they push the sodium ions out of the way. Because the sodium ions attach to the water molecules, the water molecules can keep their charges even.
Over time, the polymer beads will gather so many minerals that the system won’t be able to take any more out. Because of this, the system needs to be regenerated every so often. For the system to be revived, the polymer tank is filled with salt solution from the saltwater tank. This water moves the mineral ions on the resin beads so sodium ions can take their place. After that, a drain line takes any water left in the tank out of the system.
Ion exchange is a method that has been used for a long time to get rid of hard water. Ion exchange systems need some maintenance, just like most other filtration systems. The regeneration process must happen regularly, and the owner must add salt to the salt solution tank to keep it full.
How water conditioners and softeners function and what they do to the water are different. Most water conditioners don’t use salt and are used to get rid of things that change the way your water tastes or smells. These things include chloramines, chlorine, volatile organic compounds, and other organic gases. Also, lead can also be taken out of the water by using water conditioners.
What does a water conditioner do? It depends on what kind of water conditioner you have. Some water conditioners screen out things that don’t belong in the water as it goes through. This makes the water smell better. Other water conditioners change the structure of the minerals in the water to get some benefits of soft water. These systems use template-assisted crystallisation (TAC) media to give your home the benefits of soft water.
As hardened water passes over the TAC media, small amounts of hard minerals react with the TAC media and combine to form crystals about a nanometre in size. The name for this is “nucleation.” People sometimes call the crystals that form during this process “seed crystals.”
When these nanometre-sized crystals form on the TAC media, they go back into the water flow. The hard mineral ions in the water have not all formed crystals. But these seed crystals are enough to get rid of limescale. The remaining hardness in the water is more likely to stick to the seed crystals than to other things, like the inside of your pipes or surfaces.
Want to know how long it takes for a water conditioner to work? Water conditioning happens quickly, so you don’t have to worry about the rate of flow being affected or being forced to wait for conditioned water.