If the water softener using excessive salt, then there may be an overflowing problem in the brine system. Another reason is that the water softener uses too much salt at that time when there are leaking valves. The higher concentration of brine flow causes the extra usage of salt.
Factors affecting salt usage
The salt usage in water softener depends on the following most important factors. These factors affect the salt usage.
Water usage is the first important and straightforward factor. If a higher amount of soft water production, then a high amount of salt usage. The more production of soft water needs more generations and so more generations utilize more salt.
The hardness of water affects the use of salt. The high level of hardness needs more salt usage to produce soft water. The use of salt per gallon increases in case of a high level of hardness. The regeneration becomes more and so more need of salt. Therefore, more regeneration needs more use of salt. Ultimately, it leads to using too much salt.
The level of TDS in hard water also matters a lot. Usually, the hard water with higher TDS needs more amount of salt for the process of water softening. In this situation of higher level of TDS, the excessive salt requires for producing the best soft water.
When we talk about the use of too much salt, the resin capacity is also an important factor. If the resin has a higher grain capacity, then a high dosage of salt needs in the regeneration process. Thereby, we say that there is a close relation between resin capacity and excessive salt usage.
The leakage of water from the head valve also becomes the reason to enhance the usage of salt. This leakage problem is from inside the system and so the system of water softener works properly when a high amount of salt usage.
Overflowing Brine Tanks
When the water moves from the brine tank, they will also keep salt along the water. Therefore the issue of overflowing brine tanks results in the overusing of the salt.
Log salt usage
The smaller malfunctions in water softeners are also causing wastage of salt. The varied usage of salt is normal but if the consumption of salt becomes very increase then there may be due to malfunction.
We described all the possible ways that cause the use of too much salt in water softeners. The optimal salt usage is necessary for enhancing the life span of the water softener. By considering and check and balance on the above factors, you can reduce using of too much salt.
Maintenance to softeners
Many of you may wonder what needs to be done to keep a softener operating in top condition. Although I will focus on industrial softeners, I will try to make a simple text, so that if you have a softener in your home or business you can use this little manual.
First, it is convenient to separate the softener into components, in order to understand how each component requires specific care.
Elements that make up a smoother
- Resin tank. This is where everything happens, most softeners on the market are made of polyethylene and covered with fiberglass to withstand operating pressures of up to 10 kg / cm 2 .
- Multiport valve or valve arrangement. This valve or set of valves are responsible for regenerating the resin, either manually or automatically. Each flow must be very well adjusted so that the regeneration is as efficient as possible.
- Brine tank. The brine tank provides the regenerating solution and you must take specific care.
- Cation exchange resin. It is the heart of the softener, if proper care is taken, we will extend its life.
Care we must have with our softener
Before entering the maintenance issue we need to know the care that we must take with our softener during operation, I will list them below:
- The floor should be flat and well leveled.
- Do not have the softeners exposed to the sun, dust or water.
- We must guarantee to have at least 20 psi or 1.4 kg / cm 2 of pressure.
- When installing the softener, let’s avoid exposing it to overpressures or negative pressures that could damage the tank. To help us, we can install a relief valve, an air release valve, and a vacuum breaker.
- Take care that the backwash flow is adequate, it should be between 3.5 and 4 gpm for each square foot of area.
- The water to be treated must be chlorinated before pretreatment, thus we guarantee that we do not have a problem of microorganisms.
- It is recommended to have a filter that retains particles of at least 50 microns before the softener, with this we avoid that the suspended solids end up in the softener and are trapped.
- Install a charcoal purifier as a pretreatment to remove free chlorine and organic contaminants.
- In case of having any contaminant that can affect the resin such as Fe or other metals, we must treat it before.
- Check the condition of the softener and monitor hardness, at least once a week.
- The equipment must have at least 20 psi or 1.4 kg / cm2 pressure, throughout the regeneration cycle.
- Prevent the brine tank from running out of salt to avoid supersaturation of the resin.
- Monitor hardness and make capacity adjustments every two to three months.
- Use salt free of iodine and fluoride. If possible, use pelletized salt.
- Keep the brine tank with its lid on tight.
Maintenance to softener
As we saw, the softener is made up of a resin tank, multi-port valve, brine tank and resin, each element must be cared for.
Resin tank maintenance
We must observe that it does not have leaks, sometimes we can find leaks at the base of the mouth or flange, when this happens try tightening or change gaskets.
Multiport valve maintenance or valve arrangement
Look for and repair leaks, remove dust, check the condition of the brine port, and clean up any excess salts.
In electronic valves, let’s check the state of the cards, if they are dirty, use pressurized air to clean them, check the state of the cables and fasten any loose cables.
On electromechanical valves, clean with compressed air and add some type of lubricant. Try turning the knob and check that it does it without problem.
Clean any excess dirt inside, it is in the form of creams. If necessary, it should be cleaned with soap and water and rinsed thoroughly. Observe that the float valve can operate freely.
A softener can work up to five to six years before needing a resin change. Review the care that we must take with our softener to guarantee a good performance and a long life for your resin and your equipment.
The resin decreases its capacity over time. If we don’t have a sediment filter and carbon purifier installed, we will lose capacity more quickly. This loss of capacity results in an increase in the frequency of regenerations.
In a moment, this increase in the frequency between regenerations, will bring a significant increase in costs in regenerant (salt) and in water used in each regeneration.
To know the state of the resin and measure the remaining capacity, we need to know the hardness in the water, the volume of water it can treat before leaking hardness from the last regeneration, and the amount of resin installed in the softener. You will need an additional piece of information: each cubic foot of resin can treat about 27,000 gr / ft3 (gr = grains of hardness / gallon)
Now, if we have a team with 7 ft3 of resin, then it will have a capacity of 30,000 gr / ft3 * 7 = 210,000 gr / cycle. If we have a hardness of 13 gr / gal and the equipment can treat 15,000 gal (56,800 liters) then the equipment can treat 15,000 gal * 13 gr / gal = 195,000 gr / cycle. Therefore 195,000 gr / cycle / 210,000 gr / cycle = 92.8% capacity.
When should we replace the resin?
The criteria for deciding when to change the resin will depend mainly on an economic argument, there are those who change it when it reaches 90% and there are those who wait until it decreases below 80%.
As you can see, it does not matter how long the resin has been installed in the softener, but its remaining capacity.