The Water Butler

All Ways Plumbing


Better Water
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Minnesota Water Softening Systems Minnetonka, Plymouth and Maple Grove MN

Water Filter and Water Softener Systems Plymouth MN

Water Filtration and Water Softener Systems MN Do you have hard water in your home? Maybe youre not even sure. One sign could be plumbing problems caused by mineral build up clogging your pipes. Hard water doesnt just wreak havoc on your pipes. It also reduces the lifespan of water-using appliances like your water heater. You might also notice shower heads and sink fixtures can becoming clogged and your dishes look cloudy or feel gritty.

Hard water is water with a high mineral content. Specifically, high concentrations of calcium and magnesium ions. Household water softeners are ion exchange devices. Ion exchange involves removing the hardness ions calcium and magnesium and replacing them with non-hardness ions, typically sodium supplied by dissolved sodium chloride salt, or brine. The softener contains a microporous exchange resin, usually sulfonated polystyrene beads that are supersaturated with sodium to cover the bead surfaces. As water passes through this resin bed, calcium and magnesium ions attach to the resin beads and loosely the held sodium is released from the resin into the water. The ion exchange water softening process can remove nearly all calcium and magnesium from source water. Consumers can check the water softeners manufacturers ratings for removal of these contaminants. Concentrations of iron and magnesium may require pretreatment such as greensand water filters to increase the lifespan of the softener. Scientific testing has focused on the impact of soft water on the life and energy use of appliances commonly used in U.S. homes, including all types of water heaters, washing machines and dishwashers as well as plumbing fixtures such as showerheads and faucets. Softened Water Benefit Studies The net results of the Battelle study proved, beyond any doubt that by maintaining a highlevel of efficiency, home water heaters, faucets, showerheads, and various appliances willuse significantly less energy, and result in a dramatically decreased carbon footprint.Appliances will last longer, also contributing to less waste and land fill and finallyimproved health by eliminating scaled surfaces that could harbor pathogenic bacteria. The Water Quality Association (WQA) Research Foundation funded two important studies to quantify the benefits of softened water. In 2010, the Battelle Memorial Institute in Columbus, Ohio, completed a study of the effects of hard water on:

  1. Water heaters and
  2. Plumbing fixtures such as low flow showerheads and faucets, and laundry, washers and dishwashers.

The results are summarized below: 1. Gas Storage Water Heaters a. Hard water caused as much as a 24% loss of efficiency in water heaters b. Water heaters operated on softened water maintained the original factory efficiency rating over a 15 year lifetime c. The carbon footprint of a gas water heater increases 18% when operated on hard water 2. Electric Water Heaters a. Each 5 grains per gallon of hardness causes 0.4 pounds of scale accumulation each year thats 2 pounds per year on 25 grain water b. The life of the heating element in an electric water heater can be expected to shorten due to scale buildup causing an increase in temperature in the element 3. Tankless Water Heaters a. Tankless heaters completely failed to function because of scale plugging after only 1.6 years b. Tankless heaters operated on softened water maintained the original factory efficiency rating over a 15 year lifetime c. The economic savings of softened water with tankless heaters can lead to recovery of the cost of softening the water in a period as short as a year d. The carbon footprint of a tankless heater increases 4% when operated on hard water Showerheads a. Showerheads on hard water lost 75% of flow in less than 18 months b. Showerheads on softened water maintained a brilliant luster and full flow Left: Showerhead with soft well water (5. Faucets a. Faucets on hard water could not maintain the specified 1.25 gallon per minute flow rate because of scale b. The strainers on faucets using hard water were almost completely plugged from scale after the equivalent of 19 days of testing Results after 19 days of testing. The faucet strainer on the left is using softened water and the faucet strainer on the right is using hard water. 6. Laundry Washers & Dish Washers a. Dish washers and laundry washers using softened water were free of any scale buildup b. Units on hard water had noticeable scale buildup after only 30 days of testing c. Although all appliances completed the same number of use cycles (240) the units on hard water showed the need to be delimed and cleaned due to scale deposits

Dishwasher with water softener
Dishwasher with no water softener

The Battelle Institute study concluded that: 1. Gas and instantaneous water heaters using softened water will: a. Eliminate or minimize the scale forming compounds in the water and thus b. Result in more efficient water heating than using hard water and will c. Result in water heater efficiency remaining constant over the life of the water heater 2. In contrast gas and instantaneous water heaters using hard water had a noticeable decrease in efficiency over the testing period resulting in higher natural gas usage 3. Because of the need to have the instantaneous water heater delimed and cleaned periodically to remove the scale, the economic savings can lead to recovery of the cost of softened water in as little as one year 4. The natural gas savings from using softened water will lead to DIRECT energy and economic savings of up to 57% over a 15 year tankless water heater life and 24% over the 15 year life of a gas water heater 5. The increase in total energy consumptions (as a result of a reduction in heat transfer efficiency) is related to water hardness and higher water hardness will lead to greater energy consumption 6. There are environmental benefits to the use of softened water as the lower use of natural gas leads to reductions in the carbon footprint related to the decrease in total energy consumption Estimated Savings for Gas-fired Water Heaters Using Softened Water Over 15 Years Life In 2011, Scientific Services Laboratories near Middleton, New York, completed a study of the effects of hard water on: 1. The effect of hard water on clothes washer detergent dose and water temperature on stain removal performance and 2. The interaction of detergent dose and water hardness on the performance of automatic dishwashers. The results are summarized below: a. Stain removal performance increases dramatically when hardness is removed even when dose and temperature are lowered. b. Softening water will allow use of less detergent and save energy by lowering water temperatures while still maintaining or improving performance. c. When water of any hardness is softened prior to its use in washing, detergent use can be reduced by 50% and the washing can be carried out in 60F cold water instead of 100F hot water and achieve the same or better stain removal yielding whiter clothes. d. This was true for all stains and all detergents tested. e. This was verified for top loaded and high efficiency front loaded washers. f. Softening water is SIGNIFICANTLY more effective on stain removal than either increasing the water temperature or detergent dose. This graph shows the relationship between softened water, detergent dose, and wash water temperature.

Pattern Hardness in Grains Dose % Temperature F
Case 1 30 100 30
Case 2 15 75 80
Case 3 0 50 60

2. The interaction of detergent dose and water hardness on the performance of automatic dishwashers and found: a. Air drying as a way to save electrical energy was evaluated and is promising to provide better results when softened water is used rather than hard water b. With tablet detergents tested, the beneficial effect of softening the wash water is much greater than the use of two tablets rather than one c. Statistically significant improvements by softening water were observed in spotting and filming performance as well as in better soil removal in automatic dishwashing.

Water Filtration and Water Softener Systems For Your Home

No one piece of treatment equipment removes all contaminants. All treatment methods have limitations and often water quality situations require a combination of treatment processes. Water softening does not remove bacteria, hydrogen sulfide, silt or sand, lead, nitrate, pesticides, and many other organic and inorganic compounds. Discuss your needs and appropriate treatments with a professional water quality expert. The first stepin deciding whether you should have a water softener is to find out if your water is hard. An inexpensive Water Test will determine your homes contaminants. One thing to remember is that no two waters are contaminated the same and no two homeowners needs are the same. With these two factors you can customize a water treatment system to fit you and your homes needs! Contact a MN Plumber that specializes in water filter and water softener systems to conduct a test and classify its hardness. The test is inexpensive and will not only provide you with peace of mind concerning your familys drinking water, but it could very well offer you a higher quality of life in regard to your water use. Water softening its good for you, its good for the environment, and its good for your pocketbook! And your plumbing will thank you! If you live in the suburbs of Minnetonka, Maple Grove, Plymouth, St. Louis Park and Edina you draw your water primarily from the Prairie du Chien-Jordan aquifer and might be astounded at how hard your water is and how much you might benefit from simple forms of water treatment.