The Importance of Periodic Service

Any appliance requires periodic service, it is an immutable fact. Water improvement appliances are no different to automobiles, aircraft and other complex machines in that they will suffer periodic wear & tear. In fact, many would argue that maintenance of the water treatment appliance is more important than most others, since it has a direct effect on the comfort, convenience and even health of the user.

A properly sized, installed, and maintained water softener can help to:

  • protect your appliances from the permanent damage caused by hard water
  • save you money on cleaning materials
  • protect your clothing
  • give you better dish washing results
  • reduce mineral build-up in pipes, faucets, and fixtures
  • eliminate soap scum & soap curd
  • enhance the taste & appearance of foods and drinks
  • reduce your household’s net carbon footprint and greenhouse gas emissions

A water softener is one of the hardest-working appliances in the home. Many households have water softeners, conditioners or filters that will process HUNDREDS of pounds of inorganic mineral hardness every single year. If the system has compatible resin, it could also be addressing many inorganic metals like iron, lead, copper and zinc and many others. Every household is different, with different water-usage patterns, and expectations of water quality. The annual model is clearly deficient, so the industry now teaches periodic service based upon the aggregate amount of hardness and other inorganics processed by the system. Experts agree that a traditional softener should be serviced after processing approx 1,000,000 grains or at least every 12 months, whichever is sooner.

Depending  on  your  water  usage  lifestyle  and  local  water  quality  conditions,  your  system  could process many  thousands of gallons of water and remove  thousands of pounds of  inorganic metals and minerals from your water every single year. This heavy workload means  that over  time, your system will be forced to sacrifice a little bit of itself to protect you. Attrition occurs as varying rates, depending on local water quality factors, mineral & metal content, chlorine levels, temperature, and of course your water usage habits. Resin attrition is a natural phenomenon that occurs in all water treatment appliances, regardless of manufacturer.

The presence of free chlorine or other oxidizing agents  in water will  lead  to  physical  resin  degradation  over  time.  The maximum  recommended levels of free chlorine are 0.3 ppm to / > 30C). Iron and other heavy metals catalyze the oxidative degradation of cation exchange resins. Oxidation of strong acid cation exchange resin will cause de-crosslinking  of  the  polymer matrix,  leading  to  an  increase  in  the water  retention  capacity  of  the resin,  causing  it  to  swell. This  swelling will  further weaken  the mechanical  integrity of  the  resin. Temperature, chlorine concentration, and the presence of heavy metals will further impact the rate of resin oxidation, de-crosslinking and performance degradation.

Your local service expert is usually trained and equipped with the necessary testing and analysis tools to properly configure your system on original set-up and periodically during service and maintenance visits.  A qualified local professional can also  make other adjustments to the base programming and firmware as needed on compatible systems.

Benign bacteria like HPC’s can lurk in safe city water supplies and slowly colonize traditional water treatment  equipment. Heterotrophic  plate  count  (HPC)  bacteria  are  a  generally  benign  family  of chlorine-resistant  bacteria  that  inhabit most  plumbing  systems. HPCs  are  evident  as  part  of  the slimy coating that can be found on drinking filters and inside water softeners known as a ‘biofilm’.

A biofilm  is a  collection or organic  and  inorganic material, as well  as  living  and dead organisms, responsible  for  numerous  water  quality  and  distribution  problems  such  as  loss  of  disinfection residual  levels, odors, color, microbial-induced corrosion, reduced material  life and a reduction  in dissolved oxygen content. While HPCs themselves are generally not harmful to human health, they provide  nutrition  and  protection  for  pathogenic  bacteria. Regrettably, not all water softeners include built-in electronic injection of disinfectants, so check with you local service expert to ensure that you are adequately protected.

Since every household is different, with varying water-usage patterns and expectations of water quality. The “annual service” model is clearly deficient, so have your system service based on the  aggregate  amount of hardness  and other inorganics processed by  the  system. Many  industry experts agree that a system should be serviced after processing approximately 1,000,000 grains or at least every 12 months, whichever is sooner.
During each scheduled maintenance visit, your local service professional should perform a battery of tests on your system as well as quantitative testing of your local water chemistry. Some of the tests include:-

  • Influent water chemistry panel
  • Effluent water chemistry panel
  • Comprehensive mechanical performance evaluation
  • Media performance & attrition calculations
  • Cleaning power

Your local technician is trained to help you with the advice and recommendations necessary to keep your system performing at optimal  levels. While at your home,  the  technician will  review  the system’s on-board statistical and diagnostic records to make the appropriate recommendations based on the water quality challenges that your system has faced each year.
As part of  the  comprehensive maintenance  service,  your  system shoulds be  given  an  exact dose of a highly-concentrated yet safe, clean, & environmentally friendly performance enhancing disinfectant to help you keep your system performing  “just like new” for as long as possible and to enhance the taste feel and cleaning power of your system.

Call 1-800-454-3429 to schedule a periodic service with a local service expert

8:07 pm | by Greg Reyneke

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