Are you experiencing itchy or dry skin, are your toilet bowls and bathtubs discolored? Then you could be using hard water. For some people, water is the same. I mean it is colorless and most of the time odorless, this makes it hard to differentiate between the two.
Hard water is differentiated by its presence of minerals like calcium and magnesium. You may have some with iron or sulfur hence the foul smell in the later.
Water softeners are used to treat hard water. They use a system of brine and resin tanks. Through a process of ionization, sodium ions attached to the resin will replace the calcium and magnesium ions in the hard water. The process is simple but you may find yourself with an efficient brine tank if you do not properly regulate the water flowing into the tank.
Brine tank water content
The first rule when operating a brine tank is that it should never be full of water. The tanks can either be wet or dry brine tanks. Traditional brine tanks are wet ones and you will notice that they always have water inside. The content is usually 6 to 10 inches or 3 to 6 gallons. If you are having issues with a frozen drain line then the tank will be half full with water – which is not a good sign. Modern systems come with digital control units that regulate the regeneration process. In this instances the systems are always dry and you will only see water when the softener undergoes the regeneration cycle.
Brine tank salt content
Most water softeners will use a brine solution for the ionization process. The preference is for sodium chloride as it is cheaper than potassium chloride. However, if you have blood pressure issues due to excessive sodium in the water you may opt for potassium as the brine. How much salt to fill your brine tank will depend firstly on your household consumption, how hard the water is and the number of people who live in the household.
The recommended usage for the brine is that for maximum efficiency ensure that your tank is one quarter full of salt at all times. This is roughly six inches from the top of the tank. The salt should remain a few inches above the water level. There moments you may have problems with the regeneration process due to crusted salt forming at the edges of the tank. Before, you input new salt pellets ensure you break up the crusted salts. You can either manually break up these crusts or pour hot water on them.
Recommended salt usage
This largely depends on your usage and size of your brine tank. For a normal residential house with 3 or four occupants you may need 10 pounds per week or 50 pounds per month. However, be checking the salt levels occasionally. You can also check the amount of calcium carbonate in your softener output. If it is higher than the recommend levels of 60 mg/l then know there are issues with your softener or you have low salt levels.
It is normal to have water in the brine tank but this should never exceed 12 inches high. If you have more than this then you are going to be experiencing challenges with the regeneration process.
The brie tank does not normally fill out with water. It is kept under control through a brine level float. When the pumping stops the brine will be dissolved as it prepares for the next regeneration cycle. The brine tank operates through a three stage process. The first phase is the backwash where dirt is removed from the mineral tank. Then we have the second stage where the calcium and magnesium ions are replaced by sodium ions during the process of ionization. These ions are then washed down the drain. The last phase is the flushing of hard water ions in the brine tank with fresh water so that the regeneration cycle can start again.
Hard water if not handled well will contaminate your plumbing system with limescale. This eventually finds its way to your cooking utensils. Detergents also become less effective when there is a high presence of calcium or magnesium. This means you struggle a lot just form lather. The soap also coagulates with the minerals to form curd. If you use hard water for bathing then you are going to experience dull hair itchy and dry skin.
Brine is vital for softening hard water. However, many users are often in shock when they find water in their brine tanks. For traditional water systems it is normal to have 6 to 10 inches of water in the brine tank. However, higher amounts will interfere with the regeneration process. Should you find your tank with half percent water then you could be having problems with a frozen drain line.