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Bluenose Water Cleaners

Product Detail

Hard Water
Because more than 60 percent of the earth's water is groundwater, it travels through rock and soil picking up minerals, including calcium and magnesium along the way. These two contaminants produce what is commonly referred to as "hardness" in water. Generally speaking, hardness is measured in grains per gallon (gpg).

For example, if a water test indicates a range of 1.0 to 3.5 gpg, the water is considered slightly hard. If the measurement is greater than 10.5 gpg, the water is rated as being very hard. Hard water can be detected easily, even as one performs personal hygeine such as hair washing, or through the appearance of fixtures and appliances or changes in heating costs.


 Clogged pipes and/or appliances could be a sign of hard water. Hard water mineral deposits can form in coffee makers and can build up in pipes or plumbing equipment. A consumer may notice a reduced water flow, as well as an increase in the number of calls to a repair person.

 Consumers may notice a film on their bathtubs or shower tiles, or even on themselves. The film that is left often results in additional scouring and scrubbing of the affected fixtures, and can cause hair to be dull and limp, and dry the skin. A consumer's water heating costs could increase as a result of hard water. When hard water is heated, the minerals can precipitate and form scale. Besides buildup, mineral deposits can form an insulating barrier between the heating element and the water to be heated.

 The calcium and magnesium in hard water act on many soaps and detergents to reduce their sudsing and cleaning capabilities. The soapy residue they form can be abrasive and reduce the life of clothing.

In areas where the water is hard or very hard, the local water utility may soften the water to about 5 or 6 gpg. This figure is still considered moderately hard, and consumers may still wish to soften the water further. The most common option for consumers is ion exchange water softening in the home. Domestic softening makes economic sense because it only softens the water to be used for laundering, cleaning, and other home uses. Softening at the central treatment facility is costly because it softens all water, including that which is used for fighting fires and cleaning streets.

Water Softening
There are many different types of softeners, each with its own benefits. The method used most often in homes is cation exchange, the principles of which are simple. An ion is an electrically charged atom or group of atoms. A cation is a positively charged ion. The water is softened when the hardness ions (magnesium and calcium) are exchanged for sodium ions. This exchange occurs in a resin bed during the softening cycle.

Three main parts make up most water softeners:

 Resin Tank - Contains the resin bed.

 Resin Bed - This is made up of tiny bead-like material often made of styrene and divinylbenzene. The beads attract and hold positively charged ions such as sodium, but will exchange them whenever the bead encounters another positively-charged ion such as calcium or magnesium.

 Brine Tank - This tank holds the dissolved salt solution that is necessary to regenerate the resin. Regeneration refers to reversing the ion exchange operation. The magnesium and calcium ions are driven off of the resin beads and replaced by positively charged sodium ions. The regeneration occurs when the resin beads are washed with a strong salt water solution. The salt forces the calcium and magnesium ions to be released, and they are then discharged as waste during the backwashing cycle. The beads are ready to once again attract hardness ions from the water.

Many installed water softeners are fully automatic. An automatic unit regenerates according to a preset clock. For example, it might be set to regenerate every third night at 3am. Other systems may use an electronic sensor that regenerates the system according to water usage.

Size and Type Considerations
When water softeners were first manufactured, manual and semi-automatic models, where the regeneration process was started "manually" by the homeowner, were the most common types sold. Today, the two main types on the market are automatic and demand-initiated regeneration (DIR) water softeners. Automatic softeners regenerate on a schedule regulated by a timer. DIR softeners are the most sophisticated, containing a hardness sensor or water meter which triggers regeneration as needed.

There are several factors that a person must take into consideration before purchasing a softener, including the number of people in the home, how much water is used, and the hardness of the water.

Determining the size of the softener, knowing these factors, is rather simple. Multiply 75 (average gallons per day used per person) by the number of people in your household. For example, four people in a household will likely use 300 gallons of water per day. Multiply the 300 gallons per day by the number of grains per gallon of hardness present in your water. Continuing the example, 300 gallons per day times 20 gpg gives a figure of 6000 grains of hardness per day that would require removal. Given a typical regeneration capacity of 18.000 to 30,000 grains per regeneration, a softening system in this case would optimally be regenerated every three to five days.

Water Softener

Logix controller on a 255 valve