What is the best water softener salt and how its work?
Hard water is fatal for pipes and electrical devices. Energy consumption is increasing, appliances need to be replaced more often, and more soap and detergent are needed. Therefore, it is important to invest in a water softener. For the proper function of these devices, you need so-called regeneration salt. But which type of water softener salt is best for you?
Table of Contents
Which water softener salt is best for you?
The form of salt has no influence on consumption. Salt dissolves in water to the point of saturation. This is the same for every type of salt.
What is hard water?
Hard water is water that contains a lot of lime (calcium and magnesium). Limescale deposits are harmful to your pipes. These will clog up after a while. The heating element of your system can also be severely damaged. This, in turn, translates into higher energy bills and equipment that needs to be replaced more frequently. Water softeners are used to prevent just that.
The degree of hardness of water is expressed in French or German degrees. From hardness of 22 French or 12 German degrees, we speak of relatively hard water. You can find out about the water hardness in your community from your water supply company.
What does water softener salt do exactly?
Water softener salt contains a filter with resin grains (resin column) that filters lime and magnesium from the water using an ion exchanger. The water flows past a reservoir containing clumps of resin called ion exchange resin. The lime binds to the clumps of resin. After some time, the resin is saturated, which means that no more lime is absorbed. The resin is cleaned or regenerated by rinsing with brine (salt water) so that it can absorb lime again.
Salt crystals or tablets?
Regenerating salts are available in different forms: tablets, crystals, and blocks. What is the best salt to choose for your water softener?
Don’t be guided by the shape of the salt when making your choice, but by the quality. This is determined by purity and hardness. Likewise, no additives may be included and an as little salt as possible.
All regeneration salts from the SOFT-SEL® range (salt crystals, regeneration salt tablets, granular regeneration salt) comply with European standard 973 type A, which corresponds to the highest possible purity class.
The form of salt has no influence on consumption. Salt dissolves in water to the point of saturation. This is the same for every type of salt and is around 360 g per liter of water.
Considering the price-quality ratio, SOFT-SEL® CRYSTALS are the best choice, as they are slightly cheaper due to the manufacturing process, but are qualitatively similar to salt tablets.
These tips can also help
- Check to see if your water softener requires a specific type of salt.
- It is best not to mix different types in the salt container.
- Pour SOFT CLEANER regularly into the salt container to remove iron and mineral residues and to prevent the development of unwanted microorganisms.
How does water softener salt work?
What is hard water?
Hard water has a high proportion of lime and magnesium. The water hardness depends on the respective region and arises when water passes through soil and rock layers. The Detergents and Cleaning Agents Act divide water hardness into three grades:
- Soft hardness range = less than 1.5 million moles of calcium carbonate per liter (corresponds to 8.4 °dH)
- Medium hardness range = 1.5 to 2.5 million moles of calcium carbonate per liter (corresponds to 8.4 to 14 °dH)
- Hard hardness range = more than 2.5 million moles of calcium carbonate per liter (corresponds to more than 14 °dH)
- The abbreviation °dH stands for degree German hardness. Most households in Germany have hard water, i.e. water with a value of over 14 °dH.
How does water softening work?
Water softening can be achieved using several methods. In the following, you will get to know the two most common methods.
On the one hand, water softening can be done using a so-called ion exchanger. This consists of synthetic resin based on polystyrene. The substance is also used in the food industry. In a water softening system, normal domestic water flows through the ion exchanger. Lime and magnesium penetrate the resin and are bound there. The rest of the water takes its usual route via water pipes and boilers to the tap. Only soft water gets there, i.e. water with very little or no lime content.
However, the resin in the ion exchanger can only absorb a limited amount of lime until its capacity is exhausted. If this is the case, then the bound lime must be dissolved out of the ion exchange resin. This is done with the help of salt. Good water softeners do this automatically. In addition, salt water flows through the ion exchanger, which has the further consequence that the previously bound lime can now be released from the resin. The resulting mixture of water, salt, and lime then flows into the wastewater. Depending on the water consumption and the type of water softener, this process takes place approximately once a week. The resin is then regenerated in the ion exchanger, i.e. ready to bind lime again.
The second method uses reverse osmosis technology (osmosis system). Fotolia_60313613_englishAn osmosis membrane is used here, the surface of which has microscopically small holes. These holes were punched or burned into the membrane’s polymer film using laser beams. The special thing about these holes is that only pure water molecules can penetrate through them. Limescale particles, but also drug residues, heavy metals, bacteria, chlorine compounds, pesticides, etc. are much larger and are therefore not able to pass through the membrane. In this case, too, they are disposed of via the wastewater. However, the water that has made it through the membrane is free of all these substances.
Which of the two water-softening methods should you choose?
The answer to this question depends on your needs. If healthy nutrition is your priority, you should clearly opt for the osmosis process. This is the only way you can be sure that your water is 100% free of harmful substances. However, under-sink osmosis systems are always only connected to one water tap. Due to their design, they are not intended to be installed on the domestic water connection, since the flow rate of your water is slightly too significantly reduced, depending on the system.
For those of you who want to enjoy the benefits of lime-free water throughout your home, it would be wise to opt for a water softener. This will save you heating costs and significantly reduce the use of shampoo, detergent, and dishwashing liquid. The water softening system is easily installed on the main water connection. In addition, with good systems, you can set the water hardness manually and thus adapt it to your needs.
If you decide on an osmosis system and need a decision-making aid then you are very welcome to use the filter center purchase advisor for osmosis systems. With just a few questions about your wishes and needs, you can get suggestions for reverse osmosis systems that best suit you.
A water softener and its disadvantages
A water softener based on ion exchange provides soft water for a household and its appliances. The degree of hardness is reduced by decalcifying the drinking water. This leads to the so-called water softening. The advantages: Less calcification and protection of the service life of household appliances. However, what many do not know is that such water-softening systems or decalcification systems with salt also have disadvantages. Before purchasing a softening system, it makes sense to be aware of these disadvantages. The following text clearly explains the disadvantages of a water softening system and what alternatives there are for residents.
Water softening system – disadvantages summarized in a compact way
- Removal of the minerals calcium and magnesium from drinking water
- Water softening with salt increases the sodium level in drinking water
- The danger of contamination of the drinking water during longer downtimes
- Increasing the metal aggressiveness of water and thus increasing the risk of corrosion
- A decalcification system with salt pollutes the environment with chloride in the wastewater
- Increased water consumption through regeneration processes
- Running costs due to salt consumption and maintenance
Water softening system Disadvantage
1: Effects on drinking water quality: Minerals out – sodium in
A water softening system based on ion exchange leads to a change in the drinking water quality as fed by local drinking water supply companies. The water hardness or the lime in the water consists mainly of the minerals calcium and magnesium. Hard water is particularly rich in these minerals. A softening system exchanges these calcium and magnesium ions for sodium. This leads to an increase in sodium levels. This is also the reason why salt has to be refilled regularly in the water softener’s reservoir. From a nutritional point of view, this removal of minerals from drinking water can be undesirable.
Especially when buying mineral water, the quality of the respective mineral water is often referred to with terms such as “rich in magnesium and calcium” or “low in sodium – suitable for preparing baby food”. However, an ion exchanger leads to the opposite drinking water quality. The increase in sodium from the use of a water softener deserves special attention if the water is subsequently used to prepare infant formula. If the original water hardness or the sodium value in the water is already very high, the sodium value may exceed the limit value of 200 mg/l according to the Drinking Water Ordinance. However, an ion exchanger leads to the opposite drinking water quality. The increase in sodium from the use of a water softener deserves special attention if the water is subsequently used to prepare infant formula. If the original water hardness or the sodium value in the water is already very high, the sodium value may exceed the limit value of 200 mg/l according to the Drinking Water Ordinance (2). However, an ion exchanger leads to the opposite drinking water quality. The increase in sodium from the use of a water softener deserves special attention if the water is subsequently used to prepare infant formula. If the original water hardness or the sodium value in the water is already very high, the sodium value may exceed the limit value of 200 mg/l according to the Drinking Water Ordinance.
2: no limescale, but rust in the drinking water installation
Soft or softened water does not only have advantages. Softening systems using ion exchange have the disadvantage that they lead to a fundamental change in the corrosion-chemical behavior of water, which means that the water can have an aggressive metal effect. This is due to the fact that softening systems disturb the so-called lime-carbonic acid balance in tap water. The use of water softening systems creates “excess” carbonic acid, which can attack the metal of the household appliances and water pipes in the long term and can thus lead to damage in a drinking water installation, e.g. B. by pitting. In order to prevent this metal aggressiveness, the water from a softening system is usually “blended” with untreated water and sometimes even with so-called inhibitors (e.g. phosphates) post-treated. In this context, it is pointed out that insufficient after-treatment of soft water is the most common cause of corrosion damage in households with softening systems.
3: Risk of bacteria in drinking water from a water-softening system
Another disadvantage of a water softening system or decalcification system with salt is the risk of contamination in the tap water. If the drinking water remains in the ion exchange resin for longer periods of time, an increased germ load must be expected. In the case of systems with longer downtimes, it must therefore be ensured that this resin is disinfected when the ion exchange resin of a water-softening system is regenerated.
4: Chloride in the effluent from a softener is harmful to the environment
Softening systems not only have technical disadvantages but also disadvantages for the environment. When using ion exchangers, high amounts of sodium and chloride get into the wastewater. This can significantly increase exposure to chloride in a supply area. Due to the water solubility of chlorine, the amounts of chlorine cannot be removed by municipal sewage treatment plants. The result would be a steady increase in chlorine pollution in water bodies.
In 2016, the state government of Saxony-Anhalt responded to a question from MP Hendrik Lange about chlorine pollution in German waters: “Sensitive species are lost in the event of deviations, while robust species spread. The entire species and abundance structure of a community can change as a result. For this reason, there is z. In California, for example, there is already law (Senate Bill 475) due to high chloride levels in wastewater that allows local authorities to prohibit the use of certain ion exchangers for private purposes.
5: Increased water consumption due to regeneration processes
Another disadvantage of a decalcification system with salt (ion exchanger) is the additional water consumption for regeneration processes. Depending on its size, a water softener can only ever soften a certain amount of drinking water. If this amount is reached, it must be regenerated. This means that the ion exchange resin is rinsed with water at certain intervals and “loaded” with a new sodium chloride solution. Many liters of water are required for this process. For a detached house with three to four people, which is located in a region with hard water, this can in some cases means an additional annual water consumption of up to several thousand liters of water.
6: soft water, but not lime-free water!
Softening systems or decalcification systems with salt are often also referred to as soft water systems. Although these systems deliver soft water, they do not supply water that is complete “lime scale-free”. Due to the risk of corrosion mentioned above, the softened water is always mixed with untreated water. Water softening systems based on ion exchange often leave a residual water hardness of 4 °dH – 8 °dH in the water. A household definitely reduces limescale deposits due to the lower degree of hardness. However, it would be wrong to expect that “lime scale” deposits, i.e. deposits, will never again be found on a surface such as fittings or a glass shower. A water softening or decalcification of the water to water hardness of 0°DH is not common. visit our site for more interesting topics:
7: a water softening system not only causes acquisition costs
The costs of a water softening system are not only incurred when purchasing and installing it. In order to operate an ion exchanger, salt must be purchased and refilled regularly. Another cost item that should not be neglected is the maintenance of a water-softening system. DIN EN 806-5 recommends maintenance every six months. This maintenance should be carried out by a specialist company at least once a year. Many manufacturers offer special maintenance contracts for this.
The alternative: How about an innovative limescale protection system instead of a water-softening system with salt?
Using a water softener has several disadvantages. In particular, the effects on drinking water quality and the environment should not be neglected. As an alternative to a water softening system with salt, there have been so-called limescale protection systems for several years. The significant advantage of a limescale protection system is that the minerals calcium and magnesium remain in the drinking water. In addition, no sodium is added to the drinking water. Instead, “lime protection” means “that so-called seed crystal are formed, on which the lime in the water attaches itself. These microscopically small limestone crystals are no longer deposited on surfaces but are washed out with every water withdrawal. Limescale protection systems are therefore of particular interest to homeowners who want to maintain the quality of their drinking water. Limescale protection systems also do not increase the risk of corrosion.best water softener, salt for water softener, water softener, water softener salt