How a Commercial Water Softener Works

on October 18, 2018 commercial

Water softening is a treatment method for water, but unlike purification methods that evolved for the protection of human health and clean drinking water, water softening developed to help prevent industrial and domestic headaches.

What is hard water?

Hard water is water that is high in dissolved minerals, especially calcium and magnesium. The minerals are harmless to human health but contribute to build-ups of solid deposits of calcium carbonate in boilers and industrial equipment, as well as household appliances like dishwashers and washing machines. The scaling raises the costs of heating the water, lowers efficiency of the machines and clogs pipes.

What is a commercial water softener?

A commercial water softener addresses the problem of hard water that can build up on industrial equipment, boilers, and other heating and cooling systems by removing the excess minerals in your water and replacing them with salt. There are several types of water softeners available, the most common being a salt-based ion exchange softener.

There are two parts to this water softener:

  1. The brine tank, where the salt is stored and mixed with water forming a brine solution

  2. The resin tank, where the water flows through at a rapid rate flushing out the calcium, magnesium, iron, dirt, and sediment from the water.

There’s a meter installed on the control valve that measures how much water the system is using. When you get close to the point that the resin tank is no longer able to soften the water, the resin tank needs to be regenerated.

What is regeneration?

Regeneration is the process of cleaning the resin tank. The first step is to backwash the resin tank, getting rid of sediment and dirt inside the machine and washing it out to the drain. The second step in the regeneration process is the brine cycle. The brine solution is sucked from the brine tank into the resin tank, where it cleans out all the media inside the resin tank. The system is rinsed again, and finally, water is returned to the brine tank and mixed with the salt, so the brine solution is ready for the next regeneration process.

The main difference between a water softener used in a commercial application and one used in a residential setting is its size and how frequently it regenerates. During the regeneration process, soft water is not available, so in commercial applications, it is essential that the unit is sized appropriately to the amount of water the organization uses in a day. Generally, a regeneration cycle will take place at night, when soft water isn’t needed. However, in some commercial applications, soft water may be required 24 hours a day so there may be multiple water softener units in place, so while one is regenerating, another can kick on to soften the water. You can generally wire together four individual water softeners into one overall water softening system. Some factories may use multiple water softener systems to process all the water they are using per day.

Every time a softener regenerates, it is using salt. Salt is corrosive and can cause wear and tear over time, so it’s important to size the water softener unit correctly so it at most only needs to regenerate once a day.

A wide variety of commercial businesses need water softeners. Restaurants, hotels, apartment building, nursing homes, and manufacturing facilities are just a few. Soft water is particularly important in office buildings today, which need soft water for the cooling towers in their data server centers.

The proper commercial water softener will allow you to run your business more effectively, use fewer detergents and cleaners, reduce the hard water build-up inside pipes and machinery, and save equipment from unnecessary wear and tear. Every commercial water softener application needs to be individually sized and quoted based on your company’s water consumption.

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