In the UK the formation of scale in water systems costs the industry approximately 1 billion per year. Scale will shorten the life of boilers, pumps, shower heads, washing machines and any appliance that comes into contact with calcium and magnesium irons and heat.
The water softening process removes the hardness minerals that cause hard scale by a process called Ion exchange. It removes the hardness minerals and replaces it with Sodium.
2.72 Light scale formation on the inner surfaces of pipes can be protective against the leaching of metals such as lead or copper, but heavier deposits are likely in hard water areas. These deposits increase the surface area and therefore the potential for microbial colonisation (biofilm formation) and can provide protection from the effects of biocides. In hard water areas, softening of the cold water supply to the hot water distribution system should be considered. This is to reduce the risk of scale being deposited at the base of the calorifier and heating coils, especially at temperatures greater than 60 °C, and the potential for scale build-up within the system pipework and components (eg TMVs) which may significantly reduce flow and adversely affect the efficiency of the system.
2.73 System materials need to be of a type that are resistant to corrosion (eg copper, stainless steel) as very soft water, natural or artificially softened, may lead to increased corrosion of the system pipework and materials. Where water softening systems are used, these should be fitted before any biocide treatment application. Suitable sample points should be fitted before and after the softener to allow for the operational testing of hardness and microbiological sampling if contamination is suspected.
(extracted from the HSG274 Part 2 )
Water softeners are available in simplex and duplex configurations and sizing is determined by a number of factors including water hardness, flow rate, pipe size, daily water consumption, pressure and applications.
Simplex water Softener
3.4 – 5.5m3/h
3.9 – 10m3/h
3.9 – 18 m3/h
14 – 42m3/h
1 ½” BSPF