The Boiler Room Blog

Advice on commercial water heater selection, maintenance and safety issues for businesses that rely on a steady supply of hot water.

Soft Water: A Must For Commercial Water Heating

soft water

So don’t underestimate the value of soft water!

Many people underestimate the damage hard water can do to a commercial water heating system. City of Milwaukee water is considered only “moderately hard” by national standards; however, moderately hard is definitely not true soft water. And when we’re talking large commercial equipment use, we’re looking at major system problems. Because your commercial water heater is working constantly to provide your business with hot water at all times, it’s running through that hard water at a faster rate, causing damage to your equipment – and that means more money out of your pocket, both short- and long-term.

Read the full post here…

Image courtesy of activerain.com. Note: Map shows average hardness only.

Image courtesy of activerain.com. Note: Map shows average hardness only.

The bottom line: installing a water conditioning system to soften your water is of serious value to the life of your entire water system, including your commercial water heater, fixtures, piping, valves and more.

What is True Soft Water?

In short, soft water is water completely devoid of soluble minerals. In other words, soft water is ZERO grains hard.

City of Milwaukee water is 5 to 9 grains hard. In comparison, Brookfield city water is 23 to 34 grains hard, meaning Brookfield water is much harder than Milwaukee water, but neither water supply is at all soft.

To get real soft water, you need a water conditioning system, i.e. a water softener. In short, your water softener works by using charged resin beads to attract these minerals and pull them out of the water, making your water soft and generally safer for your water system.

Hard Water = Serious Damage To Your Water Equipment

When water is heated, that heat precipitates out the minerals in your water within your water heater’s tank. For example, let’s say you’re boiling water in a pot on the stove. If that water is hard, you’ll notice mineral accumulation on the bottom of the pot. The same goes for your water heater, but on a much larger scale.

Mineral Sludge Picture this: you’re running hard water through your commercial water heater on a regular basis. Like boiling water in a pot, those minerals are slowly (but surely) accumulating on the bottom of the tank. After awhile, we’re not just talking a few flecks of floating particles, you’re looking at an all out mineral sludge on the bottom of that tank, growing larger and larger by the day. So, that heat produced by the flame underneath the tank needs to work through all those layers of muck just to heat the water on top of it. This means your water heater is working overtime (using more gas) to heat up the tank. Not to mention, the more sludge in the tank, the less water it holds – resulting in a growing energy efficiency problem and more money-related headaches for you.

Popcorn, Anyone? Has your commercial water heater ever sounded like a popcorn machine? Well, that’s a symptom of mineral sludge! That sludge has little air pockets in it, like a honeycomb. This means the water that seeps into those little pockets on the bottom of your heater are heated so fast they actually flash boil, creating a loud POP every time a water pocket hits 212°F!

Cross section of a pipe showing hard water scale buildup.

Cross section of a pipe showing hard water scale buildup.

Money Down the Drain
That sludge-formed popcorn machine isn’t just bad for your water heater – it’s bad for your entire water system. The minerals that aren’t left on the tank bottom are free to roam around your water network, sticking to everything in sight: meaning all your valves, fixtures and pipes become clogged with mineral deposits.

So when we’re talking energy dollars, you’re losing money system-wide:

  • More energy costs on a day-to-day basis.
  • Quicker turnover rate for your water heater (frequent replacement due to damage).
  • More costs associated with replacing other pipes and fixtures throughout your establishment.
  • Hard water doesn’t lather as well as soft, so you’re looking at an increase in cleaning detergent costs for laundry facilities, dishwashers, showers and more.

So don’t underestimate the value of soft water! Soft water is going to save you money across the board and keep your equipment functioning at peak performance.


Image courtesy of Flickr user Aqua Mechanical.

21 Responses to Soft Water: A Must For Commercial Water Heating
  1. Water damages needs immediate attention to reduce more losses. just in case a water injury happens in your home or property attempt to find the matter. By doing therefore you’ll facilitate stop more damages.

    Reply
  2. Many home owners are opening their eyes to the benefits of soft water. However, there are still plenty of home owners who do not even know what soft water is. They have no idea that the conditioning of the water in a home can improve the cleanliness of dishes, clothes and even skin. Using soft water can eliminate the rings that grow around a bathtub or sink.

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  3. Soft water is the best option to use in bathing because it soothes our skin and it is the answer for patients with eczema. It can also be used in washing the dishes as it has a detergent component which would really enhance the cleanliness of it.

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  4. As your said, hard water is so harmful no matter for commercial water supply or home water supply. It is necessary to soften hard water.

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  5. Taking time to read the instruction manual is the most important thing to do when owning a water softener. Every water softener has its own special features and advantages over the others.

    Reply
  6. use in bathing because it soothes our skin and it is the answer for patients with eczema. It can also be used in washing the dishes as it has a detergent component

    Reply
  7. Yeah i with Megan I have heard horror stories of where people have installed the system themselves to save a bit of money and it has cost a fortune to repair.

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  8. Soft water gives a soothing sensation to the skin and is a healthy alternative to hard water which can be harmful. A Water softener has many benefits, however in order to avail them you need to know how to use it.

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  9. I would recommend using a water softener in combination with a pre-filter in order to ensure that the water does not cause damage to equipment.

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  10. When you buy a new house it’s important to measure the water hardness or softness. Using hard water can be daunting for hair and skin. It’s crucial to do this type of job using a water purifier expert.

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  11. A part from extending your appliance life, soft water can be heat more faster in the process reducing energy consumption and Lowering utility bills. Many thanks for the uplifting message.

    Charlie

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  12. Definitely! if you don’t soften your hard water it will be more costly for you in the long run compared to just installing a water softener which is a minimal investment. I recommend using a saltless water softener as well specially if you don’t have extreme case of hard water because the water tastes great!

    Reply
  13. Due to the fact that environmental pollution becomes a more and more important factor for health issues, I always recommend people to use RO system to filter their tap water and make it health and clean drinking water and, above that, use a water softener to keep your pipes and valves clean.

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  14. Totally agree with you that hard water is very dangerous for the water-based equipment.And that’s where water softeners help us a lot.

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  15. Well, We all know how scarce it is to find pure drinkable water nowadays. If you ask me I would definitely suggest RO system. As it is safe and efficient. I also read somewhere that RO system can make sea water drinkable. So that’s a huge plus.

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  16. I personally feel that people need education on the effects of hard water and soft water as it seems to be something very uncommon and people keep experiencing the harmful effects of hard water without even knowing it.

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  17. So, What do you suggest as hard water solution? Water Softener or Filter?? Which one will provide good soft water to drink?

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    • Good question, Bella! A water softener is necessary to solve your hard water problems. A filter can only do so much on its own. The best system, especially for drinking water, is to have a softener as well as an additional filter for drinking water. If you have a newer style refrigerator that has a water dispenser, it will already have a filter in it. It is recommended to change those filters every 6-12 months depending on your consumption. Alternately, for commercial settings especially, we recommend a Reverse Osmosis (RO) filtration system for drinking water, as that will remove additional impurities from water that a softener can’t, including most of the sodium left behind as a result of the softening process. Thanks for the comment; hope this helps!

      Reply

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