Is MgSO4 hard water

Water softening FAQ

The question and answer library for everything to do with water softening

1. Hard water

1.1 What is hard water?

When water is said to be "hard" it simply means that it contains more minerals than ordinary water. These are mainly the minerals calcium and magnesium. The hardness of the water increases, the more calcium and magnesiumare resolved in it. Magnesium and calcium are positively charged ions, the presence of which makes other positively charged ions more difficult to dissolve than in water that does not contain magnesium and calcium. This is also the reason why soap is very difficult to dissolve in hard water.

1.2 In which branches of industry does water hardness play an important role?

In many industrial applications, such as drinking water treatment, in breweries and in the soda industry, but also in cooling and steam boiler water, the water hardness is important.

2. Water softening

2.1 What is water softening?

When water contains a significant amount of calcium and magnesium it is called hard water. Hard water can easily clog pipes and make it difficult for soap and detergents to dissolve in water. Water softening is a method that is used to remove the ions that cause hard water - in most cases calcium and magnesium ions. ironIons can also be removed by water softening. The best way to soften water is to use a water softener that is connected directly to the water supply.

2.2 What is a water softener?

A water softener is a device used to soften water by removing the minerals that make water hard.

2.3 Why is water being softened?

Water softening is an important process as it reduces the hardness of the water in households and businesses. Hard water can clog pipes and soap does not dissolve well in them. Water softening can prevent these negative effects. Hard water increases the risk that limescale will build up in house installations. Because of these limescale deposits, the pipes become clogged and the efficiency of steam boilers and tanks is reduced. This increases the cost of heating water in the home by around fifteen to twenty percent. Another negative effect of limescale deposits is the damaging effect it has on household appliances such as washing machines.
Water softening means extending the life of household appliances such as washing machines as well as pipelines. The softening also contributes to one
operate more efficiently and extend the life of solar heating systems, air conditioning systems, and other systems that use water.

2.4 What does a water softener do?

Water softeners are special ion exchangers that remove positively charged ions. Softeners mainly remove calcium (approx2+) and magnesium (Mg2+), which are often referred to as "hardness minerals". Softeners are sometimes even used to remove iron. The water softener can remove up to five milligrams per liter (5 mg / L) of dissolved iron. Softeners can work automatically, semi-automatically or manually. The estimate of the respective type is based on the amount of ions that can be removed until regeneration is necessary again.

The hardness minerals are collected in a tank of the softener and washed away from time to time via the drain. In water softening, ion exchangers are often used, which replace the calcium and magnesium ions in the water with other ions, such as sodium or potassium. The exchange ions are added via a storage container in the form of sodium and potassium salts (NaCl and KCl).

2.5 How long can a water softener be operated?

A good water softener will last for many years. Water softeners installed in the 1980s can still work, often requiring little maintenance; apart from the occasional filling of the storage container with salts.

3. Softening salts

3.1 What types of salt are used in water softeners?

Three types of salts are used in water softening:

- rock salt
- solar salt
- Evaporated salt

Rock salt as a mineral occurs naturally in the soil. It is extracted from underground salt deposits using traditional mining methods. It contains between 80 and 90 percent
Sodium chloride. Its water insolubility is 0.5 to 1.5 percent, which is mainly due to the poorly soluble calcium sulfate it contains. Solar salt is mainly obtained from the evaporation of sea water. It consists of 85 percent sodium chloride. Its water insolubility level is less than 0.03 percent. It is usually available in crystalline form, but sometimes in the form of salt tablets. Evaporated salt is extracted from underground deposits of dissolved salt through mining. The moisture is evaporated using energy from gas or coal. Evaporated salt contains between 99.6 and 99.99 percent sodium chloride.

3.2 Should rock salt, evaporated salt or solar salt be used in water softening systems

Rock salt contains many components that are not soluble in water. For this reason, the water softening reservoirs must be cleaned much more often when using rock salt. Rock salt is cheaper than evaporated salt or solar salt, but cleaning the reservoir can cost you a lot of time and energy.

Solar salt contains slightly more water-insoluble substances than evaporated salt. When deciding which salt to use, you have to consider how much salt is needed,
how often the storage tank should be cleaned and how the softener should be designed. If the salt consumption is low, all types of salt can be used. However, if the salt consumption is high, insoluble substances can accumulate more quickly and the storage container must be cleaned more frequently. In this case, evaporated salt is recommended.

3.3 Is it harmful to mix different types of salt in one water softener?

In general, there is nothing harmful to mixing salts in a water softener. However, there are water softeners that are only designed for certain water softening products. If other products are then used, these softeners will not work properly. Mixing evaporated salt with rock salt is not recommended as this can clog the water softener. In order to rule out any problems from the outset, we recommend that you completely empty the contents of the salt container in your system before you fill in another type of salt.

3.4 How often should you add salt to the softener?

Normally, salt is added to the reservoir during the regeneration phase. The more often the softener is regenerated, the more often salt has to be refilled. Water softeners usually need to be checked once a month. In order to guarantee the perfect production of softened water, the salt container must always be at least half full.

4. Cost of water softening

4.1 How much does a water softener cost?

Some softeners work more efficiently than others, which is why the costs for them also differ. There are time and water level controlled softeners. The water level controlled units produce softer water per pound of salt. Some water softeners work with electricity, other newer water softeners are operated with water power. The costs for a water softener depend heavily on the type of softener used and the type of energy used to operate it. However, they are also dependent on the hardness of the water that has to be softened and the water consumption. If the water is very hard and a lot of it is used, the cost of softening increases.

In general, the cost of a water softener is between € 0.20 and € 0.40 per day. The cost of a water softener is usually far outweighed by its benefits and the cost savings that result from using softened water.

4.2 How much does it cost to operate a water softener?

The running costs are the same as the costs for the salt. In a household that is around € 1.95 per person per month.

5. Softening of drinking water

5.1 Do water treatment companies always produce soft water?

While water treatment companies have the ability to produce soft water, they don't always do so. A water treatment company would only have to add a water softener to its treatment system and could use it to produce softened water at low cost. In this case, however, consumers would not have a choice between drinking hard water.
Hard water problems are most common when water is heated. For this reason, hard water causes few problems with the water supply companies, since mostly only cold water flows through their pipes.

5.2 Is it safe to drink softened water?

Softened water also contains all the natural minerals we need. Only the magnesium and calcium were removed and sodium was added during the softening process. Therefore, in most cases, it is completely safe to drink softened water. It is advisable to maintain a maximum sodium content of 300 mg / L in softened water. In areas with very hard water, the softened water should not be used to make baby milk due to the high sodium content.

5.3 Can salt from water softening systems get into drinking water?

Salt cannot get into the drinking water via the water softener. The sole purpose of the salt in a water softener is to regenerate the resin granules that are used to soften it.

5.4 How much sodium is absorbed through softened water?

The sodium absorption from softened water depends on the hardness of the original water. On average, less than 3 percent of the daily intake of sodium gets into the human body through drinking softened water. It is estimated that every person consumes two to three teaspoons of salt from various sources every day. Assuming a daily sodium intake of 5 grams through food and a consumption of three quarters of water, the proportion of sodium (Na+), which is absorbed due to water from household water softening systems, is small compared to the total daily intake, which is quite large due to strongly salty foods.

5.5 Are essential minerals removed from the drinking water by the softening process?

Softening does not remove essential minerals from the water. Only those minerals that make the water hard are eliminated, i.e. calcium, magnesium and iron.

6. Maintenance of the water softener

6.1 When does the softening resin have to be replaced?

If the water does not become soft enough, problems with the salt being used or mechanical malfunctions in individual parts of the softener should first be considered. If these elements are not the cause of the unsatisfactory softening, it may be time to replace the softening resin or even the entire softener. We know from experience that most softening resins and ion exchangers last for 20 to 25 years.

6.2 Does the salt solution tank of a water softener have to be cleaned?

Normally it is not necessary to clean the saline solution container unless the salt used is highly insoluble in water or there is a serious malfunction of any kind. To avoid malfunction of the softener, the container must always be cleaned when insoluble substances accumulate in the resin .

6.3 What does "mushing" mean and why should it be avoided?

If loosely bound salt mixtures or salt in cube form are used for the resin, tiny crystals can form from the evaporated salt, which are similar to table salt. These crystals can combine and form a thick mass in the brine tank. This phenomenon, commonly known as "mushing", can halt the production of saline solution. However, the production of saline solution is the most important element in renewing the resin granules in a water softener. Without the production of saline solution, a water softener cannot produce soft water.

7. Questions about the use of water softeners

7.1 Can the saline solution from a softener damage a septic tank?

The USA Water Quality Association published studies on the subject. The studies showed that a well-placed tank that works properly cannot be damaged by salt solutions from water softening systems. In addition, softened water tends to help reduce the amount of detergent that is drained into a septic tank.

7.2 Can a water softener be used in conjunction with lead lines?

Lead lines must be replaced before softened water can flow through. Although lead lines do not cause problems in areas with hard water, it is advisable to replace them anyway. Softened water that gets into pipelines made of lead can attack the lead and decompose the pipelines.

8. Water softening in the household

8.1 Can I take water softeners with me when I move?

Modern water softeners can easily be taken with you when you move. During installation, quick-to-assemble connections similar to those found on washing machines are made. When moving, only the inlet and outlet valves of the softener have to be closed and the bypass valve opened. The "normal" hard water can then flow again through the storage tank into the house pipes to the taps. The softener is then dismantled, brought to its new location and connected there.

8.2 Can the wastewater from a water softener be drained directly into the garden?

Since saline solution increases the osmotic pressure that plants depend on to regulate their water balance, the direct drainage of sodium and / or potassium chloride solutions should not be used.

8.3 Does softened water make things easier for people with dry skin?

There are cases where people with dry skin have benefited from softened water, as softer water is easier on the skin and hair.

Please use our Water lexiconfor more information!

If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.