WATER SOFTENERS (SERIES 2 of 4 BLOGS)

SOFTENING SALTS (3.1 – 3.5) AND SOFTENING COSTS (4.1 – 4.2)

Lenntech. “Water Softener Frequently Asked Questions.” (June 13, 2011)

 http://www.lenntech.com/processes/softening/faq/water-softener-faq.htm

3. SOFTENING SALTS

 3.1 Which types of salt are sold for application in a water softener?

 For water softening, two types of salt are generally sold:

– Solar salt

– Evaporated salt

 

Solar salt as a natural product is obtained mainly through evaporation of seawater. It contains 85% sodium chloride. It has a water insolubility level of less than 0.03%. It is usually sold in crystal form. Sometimes it is also sold in pellets.

Evaporated salt is obtained through mining underground salt deposits of dissolving salt. The moisture is then evaporated, using energy from natural gas or coal. Evaporated salt contains between 99.6 and 99.99% sodium chloride.

3.2 Should we use evaporated salt or solar salt in a water softener?

 

Solar salt contains a bit more water-insoluble matter than evaporated salt. When one makes a decision about which salt to use, consideration should be given to how much salt is used, how often the softener needs clean out, and the softener design. If salt usage is low, the products could be used alternately.

If salt usage is high, insoluble salts will build up faster when using solar salt. Additionally, the reservoir will need more frequent cleaning. In that case evaporated salt is recommended.

3.3 Is it harmful to mix different kinds of salt in a water softener?

It is generally not harmful to mix salts in a water softener, but there are types of softeners that are designed for specific water softening products. When using alternative products, these softeners will not function well.

Mixing evaporated salt with rock salt is not recommended, as this could clog the softening reservoir. It is recommended that you allow your unit to go empty of one type of salt before adding another to avoid the occurrence of any problems.

3.4 How often should one add salt to a softener?

Salt is usually added to the reservoir during regeneration of the softener. The more often a softener is regenerated, the more often salt needs to be added.

Usually water softeners are checked once a month. To guarantee a satisfactory production of soft water, the salt level should be kept at least half-full at all times.

3.5 How come water sometimes does not become softer when salt is added?

Before salt starts working in a water softener it needs a little residence time within the reservoir, since the salt is dissolving slowly. When one immediately starts regeneration after adding salt to the reservoir, the water softener may not work according to standards.

When the water softening does not take place it could also indicate softener malfunction, or a problem with the salt that is applied.

4. SOFTENING COSTS

4.1 How much does a water softener cost?

Some softeners are more efficient than others and as a result the prizes may differ. There are time operated softeners and water meter-controlled softeners available. The water meter-controlled units produce the softest water per pound of salt.

Some softeners work on electricity, but some more recent water softeners use waterpower. Costs of a water softener greatly depend upon the type of water softener and the type of energy that is used, but also upon the hardness of the water that needs softening and the water use. When the water is very hard and it is used heavily, the costs of softening will rise.

Generally the costs of a water softener can vary between € 0,20 and € 0,40 a day.

The costs of water softeners are usually far outweighed by the benefits and cost savings obtained, through using softened water.

4.2 How much does a water softener cost during operation?

The running cost is merely the cost of salt. This is likely to be around € 1,95 per person in the household in a month.

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