No matter if it is about less lime deposits or a better feeling of water – a softening plant can help in many areas. Especially when it comes to building a house, it is worth considering for many people. Anyone who installs a softening plant in their own four walls protects all installations at once. You can visit Drink Filtered for more info.
A household without lime sounds tempting. Shower for hours clean, coffee machine decalcify or spare parts for the washing machine buy belongs to the past. Such effects are promised by various softening systems. Of course, everyone claims to be the best – after all, the product has to be sold. From a factual point of view, however, there are certain advantages and disadvantages to each method. We have summarized the most important things for you.
Ion exchangers: the classic method
If you search the Internet for “softening plant”, the first results are ion exchangers. The two terms are also often used synonymously. As the name of this plant already betrays, something is exchanged. Lime consists of the two minerals calcium and magnesium, which the ion exchanger can remove from the water. The inside of the device is filled with synthetic resin balls containing sodium.
If water flows through, the calcium and magnesium particles penetrate the balls and displace sodium particles. Calcium and magnesium are thus simply replaced by sodium. After this process, the water has a hardness of almost zero. This is bad for water pipes – such soft water acts like an acid and eats away at domestic installations. This is why the softened water is then mixed with “normal” water again. The final hardness can be adjusted on the appliance.
So only soft water flows through your own home. However, the lime in the water is not bad in every respect, because it gives the tap water its good taste. A fine palate will recognize the increased sodium. Due to our modern diet, we already consume far more sodium than the body needs. Whether the increased sodium content can be problematic for you should be clarified with your doctor.
Reverse osmosis: no chance for foreign substances
Reverse osmosis is not a softening plant in the classical sense. The devices not only remove the hardening agents, but also all foreign substances. Water treated in this way is not primarily drinking water. It is generally used for medical purposes, for laboratory equipment, for example, or also for technical equipment such as glass washers and air humidifiers. The function of reverse osmosis devices is easily explained. They work with a so-called semipermeable membrane, which only allows water molecules to pass through. This works in a similar way to a coffee filter, except that the pores are much smaller and the water is really completely cleaned after the filtering process. If you want to drink this water, you first have to replenish it with minerals.
High energy consumption
A problem with reverse osmosis units is the high energy consumption. It takes a lot of power to push the water through the fine membrane. If you want to decalcify all the water in the household in this way, this will have a clear effect on the electricity bill. The waste water consumption also increases, as the filtered out substances have to be washed out with a lot of water and migrate into the drain. One litre of this filtered water is therefore very expensive in comparison.
Dosage: Beat the lime with your own weapons
A somewhat unusual possibility is the dosage. It is usually used for the exact opposite of softening. Very soft water is bad for water pipes as it has a low pH value and can aggressively eat into metals. Polyphosphates can be added to such water, they form a protective layer and seal the pipe from the inside. With hard water, another effect occurs: the phosphates deposit on the surface of calcium and magnesium and thus stabilize them. Lime crystals can no longer grow together and do not deposit.
This makes sense above all where solid deposits quickly form as a result of heating, for example in boilers. However, softening in the classic sense is not the dosage. The water does not change its hardness, but is stabilized.
Magnetic water treatment: preserving the good properties
Softening by means of permanent magnets is regarded as an “alternative” option for water treatment. It is not a softening in the classical sense. Magnets do not remove the hardeners calcium and magnesium, but transform their structure. New angular structures are created so that the particles can no longer chain together or become firmly deposited.
The lime is rinsed out with the water. It no longer has to be scrubbed away with acidic cleaning agents, but can be removed effortlessly with a soft cloth. The advantage of this method is that the healthy minerals and the digestible taste remain in the water. No chemicals are required, the system works without electricity and there are no maintenance costs.
Magnetic water softeners are often criticized because classical tests cannot prove their effectiveness. Because the lime remains in the water, a chemical analysis cannot show any results. However, microscope images and physical parameters such as the pH value or electrical conductivity can be used to detect a clear change in the water.