Boilers inevitably begin to lose efficiency as you use them. Inefficient boilers increase electrical, gas, and maintenance costs. One of the leading causes of decreased boiler performance is improper water treatment. Treatment is an integral part of any boiler maintenance protocol. Using a water softener as part of your maintenance plan can keep your boiler in good working condition.
What is a water softener for a boiler?
Water is responsible for the vast majority of issues associated with boiler maintenance because it is incredibly corrosive if not properly cleaned and treated. Water can also carry foreign particles into the boiler, which build over time and cause significant damage.
Improper water treatment, or failure to use a treatment plan at all, can result in irreversible boiler tube damage known as scaling. To prevent scaling, water should be circulated through a water softener prior to entering the boiler. A water softener filters out foreign particles such as magnesium, calcium, and other hard minerals. These particles attach to the inner liner of the boiler, reducing heat transfer efficiency, increasing the amount your boiler needs to work, and causing breakdowns.
The chemical process within a water softener
Magnesium, iron, and calcium are “positively” charged ions. Positively charged ions react with negatively charged ions, causing these minerals to attach to the boiler’s inner wall. This process causes scaling. To prevent scaling, a water softener will remove the positively charged ions from the liquid by using resin beads. The beads pick up a negative charge after sitting in a brine full of salt and potassium, which are negatively charged minerals. As the liquid passes through the resin tank, the positively charged ions are attracted to the negatively charged beads and are picked up out of the mixture. This ion exchange can remove a great portion of the negatively charged ionic particles, resulting in softer water.
The cleaning process in a water softener
The regeneration cycle releases the negatively charged ions from the resin beads, allowing them to remove hardness from the water continually. The regeneration process works by flushing out the solids, bringing in new brine, and washing the resin beads through the new brine to recharge them. This cleaning process takes about one to two hours.
Regeneration systems can use one or two brine tanks. With two tanks, one set of beads is always working and cleaning, reducing downtime. With only one tank, the hard water and brine must be continually flushed and replaced to remove hardness and regenerate the beads.
Soft water supply
Your boiler should only take in soft water. If you do not use your boiler properly, it isn’t a matter of if, but when your equipment will need repairs and maintenance. Using a water softener is crucial for maintaining your boiler to ensure that you utilize it to its maximum possible operational life.
For more information or for a custom quote, contact Robert B. Hill Co today.