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The Hard Water Corner

Common sense information about a common problem.

How a water softener works

There are different types of water softeners

A water softener in Jacksonville removes the calcium and magnesium which is prevalent in hard water; it does this magic through ion exchange. Hard water makes things much more difficult than they have to be; hard water makes cleaning difficult, it leaves a scum on the fixtures in the bath and kitchen, leaves water spots on the dishes and makes clothing appear dull and grey.

Hard water comes from ground water such as the aquifer. This happens as the water is surrounded by underground rock structures that are rich in minerals, including calcium and magnesium; it is these two minerals that make water “hard”. The measurement for hard water is somewhat strange, it is measured in grains per gallon and each grain of hardness is equivalent to the weight of one grain of wheat. Water which has calcium and magnesium content in excess of 3 GPG is said to be hard, if the GPG reaches 10 it is considered to be very hard.

There are chemicals that can be added to commercial detergents which will soften the water that is used for laundry, but these chemicals are no use when the objective is to soften the water that is used throughout the house; this is done through ion exchange. An ion is a molecule which has an electrical charge, a water softener in Jacksonville contains an exchange medium; this starts out with a coating of sodium ions with a positive charge. The ions of the two offending minerals, calcium and magnesium are also positively charged but their charge is greater than that of the sodium. As the hard water runs through the exchange medium, the ions of calcium and magnesium are captured as they have a stronger attraction. The sodium ions are freed from the medium.

Sooner or later the exchange medium is completely coated with the ions from the calcium and magnesium, when this occurs; the system is backwashed and recharged. The ions of the minerals form a compound with the chlorine which is used in the backwash process and they are washed out, the sodium ions reattach themselves to the exchange medium and the cycle repeats.

Depending on how much attention the homeowner wishes to pay to his water softener in Jacksonville the units are available in manual, semi-automatic and full automatic. Full automatic is by far the choice of most homeowners.

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