Water softeners are primarily used to remove calcium and magnesium ions from boiler makeup water. If not removed, these ions can be the basis for forming insoluble compounds that will precipitate in boiler systems. A water softener eliminates this problem by replacing precipitate-forming ions with sodium ions.

Since sodium-based compounds are very soluble, precipitates formed by hard water can be eliminated. In a water softener, ion exchange occurs as the water runs through a bed of small plastic resin beads saturated with sodium ions. As the water containing calcium and magnesium ions flows past the resin beads, calcium and magnesium ions “stick” to the ion exchange resin, liberating the sodium ions, which then go into the solution. Eventually, the resin beads contain nothing but calcium and magnesium ions and no sodium. At this point, softening no longer occurs, and hardness ions (Ca and Mg) begin to leak through the bed. When leakage occurs, or prior to the resin being exhausted, the media needs to be regenerated.

ChemTreat field engineers can treat these and other types of softening systems. Chemicals required may include burnt lime, hydrated lime, dolomitic lime, caustic soda, calcium chloride, gypsum, alum, ferric sulfate, sodium aluminate, polymers, and ferrous sulfate (copperas). We can work with your team to determine the optimal water softening program to conserve energy, reduce treatment costs, and improve water softening.


 

Learn more about water softeners to support your system:

 

Ion Exchangers

Ion exchangers transfer ions from the raw water to solid material so undesirable ions do not precipitate and form scale on critical heat transfer surfaces. Water softeners use ion exchangers to remove ions like magnesium and silica and replace them with sodium. The ion exchange resins have to be restored on a routine basis to regenerate the capacity once it has been exhausted. This is accomplished by backwashing the accumulated material, bringing the resin, and then rinsing the bed. ChemTreat field engineers can assist with treating and maintaining your ion exchange systems to save you money in areas like chemicals, water, maintenance, and downtime.

Demineralizers

Demineralizers remove the inorganic salts, silts, and minerals found in your feedwater. The ultra-pure water that exits the demineralizer results in lower corrosion and fouling rates for your system and may be used in manufacturing systems for various industries such as breweries, pharmaceutical, and food & beverage operations. Demineralizers often utilize a series of ion exchange resin columns with both a strong acid cation and a strong base anion. ChemTreat field engineers have more experience than any other water treatment provider and can customize a treatment program to extend the life of your demineralizers and achieve optimal pretreatment.

Dechlorination

Dechlorination prior to reverse osmosis is a critical step, as free chlorine residual will destroy RO membranes. ChemTreat has a full portfolio of dechlorination products, including sodium bisulfite, sodium metabisulfite, sodium sulfite, and carbon filter solutions that remove 100% of the free chlorine regardless of the source. Our field engineers have the most experience in the industry and can apply our technologies to help prevent free chlorine from entering your RO systems.


 

Water softeners may also be used to pre-treat or post-treat water where RO systems are involved. Pre-softening the water minimizes the potential for calcium or magnesium scale formation on the RO membranes. This scale will impede the water flow across the membranes, requiring higher operating pressures and decreased efficiency. Post-treatment with softeners can further polish the water used for boiler makeup.