Efficiencies and Benefits of a Feeder-Based System in Water Treatment

Efficiencies and Benefits of a Feeder-Based System in Water Treatment

Water softeners are important equipment for addressing the problems that accompany water sources in certain areas. However, these systems require maintenance to remain at peak efficiency and, if maintained poorly, can actually worsen the quality of water. 

Opting for a feeder-based system to water treatment and the maintenance of water softeners is a time- and labor-efficient way of preserving the quality of your customer’s water.

What Is Hard Water?

Tap water may be riddled with various impurities such as iron, chlorides, pH imbalances, and other minerals. Various water treatment processes, from filtration to demineralization and dealkalization, are employed to target the impurities and shortcomings of a particular water supply. Softening is specifically targeted to addressing water hardness. “Hardness” refers to the presence of ionized minerals, such as magnesium and calcium ions, in water. The presence of these minerals results in calcium carbonate and magnesium silicate scaling, which can have both mild and destructive effects. Hard water is generally safe to drink; however, it can cause a white crust on metal utensils and coffee pots, and cause skin irritation. It impairs the ability of soap to lather properly, leading to faded laundry and dry skin and hair. Destructive effects include the formation of hard mineral deposits in pipes, faucets, showerheads, and equipment, like washing machines and dishwashers, and these deposits eventually occlude the flow of water. This puts undue pressure on the entire plumbing system and can have costly effects. 

What Water Softeners Do, and How They Work

Water softeners remove the magnesium and calcium in a water supply through ion exchange. They are installed wherever water enters the house and consist of a water softener tank connected to the home’s water supply line. The softener tank is filled with specially formulated resin beads, which are permanently sealed inside the tank. Water enters the top of the water softener tank and percolates down through the resin beads. The resin has a negative charge, which attracts the positively charged minerals in the water—a process known as ion exchange. The mineral deposits cling to the resin, and the softened water exits the softener tank and flows throughout the house. Softened water is gentle on the plumbing system, and extends the lifespan and improves the efficiency of appliances. 

How Does Salt Clean a Water Softener?

fill brine tank with salt / potassium chloride pellets

computer calculates water flow through the softener

When it reaches preprogrammed setting, regeneration starts

salty water from brine tank flows into softener tank

rinse cycle starts & salty water washes mineral deposits

regenerated water & deposits are flushed out

The brine tank of a water softener is connected to the water softener tank via a small-diameter fill tube and has a removable lid, so you can fill it with salt or potassium chloride pellets. A discharge hose runs from the softener tank to a nearby drainpipe or drywell.

Sooner or later, the resin beads reach maximum capacity and can’t attract or accommodate any more mineral ions. At that point, the softener tank must be regenerated, or flushed clean. That’s where the brine tank comes in. An on-board computer calculates the amount of water that flows through the softener. When it reaches the preprogrammed setting, regeneration automatically begins. For a three-bedroom house and family of four, regeneration usually occurs every 12,000 gallons.

During regeneration, salty water from the brine tank flows up the fill tube and into the softener tank. A rinse cycle commences and the salty water washes the mineral deposits off the resin beads. The regenerated water and the mineral deposits are flushed out the discharge hose. The system then reverts back to softening the incoming water. Salt or potassium pellets must be regularly added to a water softener as part of its maintenance, and the frequency with which salt needs to be refilled will depend on how much water a customer uses. An average family of four typically needs to add one 50-pound bag of pellets each month.

Sometimes Salt Isn’t Enough—How to Better Maintain a Water Softener

There are certain contaminants that salt alone cannot remove. This can be addressed through periodical maintenance and the use of products like the Sani-System Liquid Sanitizer Concentrate to further sanitize the water softener. However, as time passes between maintenance calls, a customer’s water quality steadily diminishes as the water softener resin becomes more polluted and overloaded. 

A feeder system can administer products like Res Care to a water softener to address the fouling of the resin without your physical presence on the property being required. Small amounts of product, such as single ounces or half ounces, can be fed into the water softener daily to keep it functioning at peak efficiency between hands-on maintenance calls. This can improve your customers’ perception of the reliability of their water. 

Res Care is an all-purpose liquid water softener cleaner that is specially formulated to rid a water softener of the contaminants that salt alone does not remove. These contaminants include iron, manganese, silt, metal particles, and organic compounds. The product is NSF certified to meet NSF/ANSI Standard 60 for drinking water additives. 

The regular use of Res Care resin cleaner through a feeder system restores softener beads and control valve parts so that they function as efficiently as possible. Res Care is available in various quantities that facilitate manual once-off use, or remote feeder-facilitated use over a specified period of time. When using Res Care manually, simply pour 4 ounces per cubic feet of product into the brine well or salt tank when the salt is low and manually regenerate the water softener. 

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