At a glance, there seems to be nothing wrong with hard water. Rich in calcium and magnesium, it can be very beneficial for people who miss out on these two major minerals. And since hard water is naturally alkaline, it may also have anti-aging, immune-supportive, and detoxifying properties. But what about its uses other than consumption?
Due to its high mineral content, hard water tends to form mineral deposits in house pipes and household appliances alike. It can also make the clothes laundered in it fall apart a lot sooner. And cleaning many surfaces with hard water often leaves them with a residue afterwards. Luckily, there is a potent solution.
A decent water softener with resin can effectively resolve the above issues. But for it to keep bringing results, you must use a reliable water softener resin replacement. And our water softener resin buying guide will help you choose one.
How Exactly Can a Resin Water-Softening System Help?
Water softness depends on its mineral composition and especially on the proportion between certain major minerals. These minerals include magnesium, calcium, potassium, and sodium. Hard water has a high amount of magnesium and calcium, being low in potassium and sodium. Soft water, on the other hand, has a higher ratio of sodium and potassium and lacks in calcium and magnesium.
This correlation allows us to understand how water softening works. The procedure aims to minimize the amount of magnesium and calcium in the water. And to enrich it with the missing potassium and sodium at the same time. As a result, the water’s pH shifts towards more softness. This process looks smooth in theory. But it is tedious in practice.
The problem is that calcium and magnesium in hard water are not easy to unbind. And doing so is certainly not as simple as merely supplementing hard water with sodium and potassium. A special equipment is required, and that is where resin water-softening systems come in. They ensure an effective conversion of hard water into soft water. But how exactly?
Resin is the key component of such systems. It is a substance sourced from plants and trees, which does not dissolve and has a viscous texture. In a water-softening system, resin is also covered with sodium or potassium ions that have a positive charge. As hard water travels through resin, the sodium or potassium ions drive out magnesium and calcium.
The catch with resin water-softening systems is that you must replace resin from time to time. And you must use potassium or sodium pellets to replenish the ions that should cover resin. In other words, resin must have sufficient capacity to work. And it must have enough electrical charge to successfully unbind the calcium and magnesium ions in hard water.
Key Types of Water Softener Resin to Consider
Resin for water-softening systems comes in two types:
- Standard Ion Exchange Resin This type of resin is the most common on the market, and it gets the job done in most cases. It can drive out excessive hardness and iron from water, if their levels are below 5 parts per million (ppm). It can also regenerate – return to an effective ionic form – with the help of either sodium chloride or potassium chloride.
- Fine Mesh Resin This kind of resin is considered more specialized, because it employs smaller resin beads that have a higher softening capacity. As such, it works better for extreme cases of hardness and iron in water, with concentrations amounting to 10 ppm. It requires the use of an upper flow basket, however, to prevent the smaller beads from spilling out during regeneration.
As you see, the type of resin you select depends on the hardness of the water you are dealing with. But type is not the only factor to consider when choosing resin for your water-softening system.
What Does a High-Quality Resin Replacement Look Like?
At its core, resin consists of a cross-linked polymer: styrene-divinylbenzene, referred to as Sty-DVB or S-DVB. This polymer allows resin to do what it does – lower the hardness of water. How well resin performs, however, depends on the ratio – known as “crosslink” – between styrene and divinylbenzene in the Sty-DVB polymer.
Most high-quality water softener resins have the crosslink value of either 8% or 10%. Crosslink shows the amount of divinylbenzene (DVB) that resin contains. The higher the crosslink value, the more DVB resin has, and the more effective it is at softening water. In contrast, lower crosslink suggests a higher styrene content, which makes resin less effective at water softening.
As you can tell, water softener resins with a higher DVB ratio cost more. They also come with smaller resin beads that are less susceptible to swelling and have a higher water softening capacity. They are especially beneficial for treating water with a high content of chlorine, that places resin beds under oxidative stress. And that leads to resin attrition.
Top Water Softener Resin Replacements to Check Out
Do you feel like you have no idea where to start searching for water softener resin? If so, check out some of the best brands on the market:
These brands cover both water softener resin types with 8% and 10% crosslink alike. Some of their offers may be just right for your water-softening system.
Does Water Softener Resin Also Help Purify Water?
Besides the excessive calcium and magnesium, resin water-softening systems rid your water of the excessive iron and copper. They can also remove toxic heavy metals like lead and cadmium, drive out chlorine, and expel organic contaminants. All as they enrich your water with sodium and potassium.
Should You Replace Your Water Softener Resin Often?
The hardness of your water is the best indicator of when to replace water softener resin. If it starts to seem like your water isn’t soft anymore, chances are that resin has exhausted its capacity.