Commercial Water Softeners Can Stop the Damaging Effects of Hard Water
In a commercial setting, hard water can be a source of significant problems with plumbing systems and water-based equipment. A high-quality commercial water softener is often the best solution to hard water in your municipal water supply. The following information will provide a brief introduction to the concept of hard water and how you can improve your facility’s water quality with a commercial water softener.
What Is Hard Water?
The term “hard water” refers to the amount of minerals and similar material contained in a given volume of water. As water flows underground, it picks up tiny particles of soluble material from the surrounding soil and rocks. This material often includes calcium and magnesium. If the water in your commercial facility contains these minerals, it is considered hard water. The hardness of water is expressed in grains per gallon (GPG) or milligrams per liter (mg/l). Water of 1 GPG or 17.1 mg/l or less is considered soft.
Hard water has ratings of 60 to 120 GPG. The harder the water in your commercial plumbing system, the less likely it is that a water softener will be completely effective. Water of 100 GPG or higher may not be completely softened even by the most effective commercial water softener. Test kits are available to help you determine the hardness of the water in your commercial plumbing system. Commercial plumbers and water softener suppliers should be able to help you make the tests or will be able to do the testing themselves.
The Effects of Hard Water
The most common effect of hard water is the gradual buildup of minerals inside plumbing pipes. Over time, the minerals can accumulate to such a degree that they can restrict the flow of water or block it completely. Severe clogs caused by mineral buildup can require complete replacement of the pipes, a potentially expensive and time-consuming process. The minerals in hard water can accumulate on heating elements and other important components of water heaters, boilers and similar equipment. This can significantly reduce the heating efficiency of this equipment and, in severe cases, lead to early equipment failure. Hard water also reduces the effectiveness of soaps and detergents.
Not only is more soap required to get the same level of cleaning, the by-products of soap mixing with minerals can leave behind films and residues. There’s also an environmental component to hard water; detergent use increases to compensate for the effects of hard water. In addition, more minerals and by-products find their way into sewage and drainage systems, increasing the chance of mineral buildup and clogs in these systems.
Using a Commercial Water Softener
Water softeners work by exchanging the positively charged calcium and magnesium ions with another material, usually sodium or salt. Water containing these minerals is circulated through the water softener and into the equipment’s mineral tank. The mineral tank usually contains a supply of polystyrene beads. These beads are negatively charged and are covered with sodium ions.
As the water moves through the mineral tank, the positively charged particles of calcium and magnesium adhere to the negatively charged polystyrene beads. This effectively removes the calcium and magnesium ions from the water supply. The sodium ions enter the water, which is “softened” by the process. The water proceeds onward to be used and the beads are cleared of calcium and magnesium ions before the softening process begins again.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about Plumbing, HVACR, Fire Protection, and Alarm Systems in Mechanical, Commercial, and Residential settings. For more information on preventing and treating hard water and using a commercial water softener and to view projects we’ve worked on, visit our website!