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What are Chlorine's Effects on the Water Softener in Your New Hampshire Home?

22229705010_f34bd44d4c_mPoor water quality isn’t just bad for your health; it can also cause problems for any of the water-using appliances in your home. That’s because the contaminants in your tap water interact with the internal components of many of your appliances, which can cause those devices to malfunction and often shorten their operating lives. One such example of this issue is using a water softener with tap water that contains high levels of chlorine. Today we’re going to talk about chlorine’s effects on your water softener and what you can do to keep your home’s softener protected!

How does chlorine affect the performance and longevity of your water softener?

Water softeners have a tank that contains thousands of tiny beads known as “resin beads.” These beads are where the ion exchange process takes place. When hard water enters the tank, the hardness minerals in the water bind to the resin beads, allowing only soft water to exit the softener.
Resin beads are primarily composed of two materials: polystyrene and divinylbenzene (DVB). Polystyrene is the material that hardness minerals bind to, while DVB is the “glue” that holds the beads together. The problem with chlorine is that it is an oxidizing agent that causes DVB to dissolve, which forces the resin beads to break apart and become ineffective. As a result, if your home has tap water that is high in chlorine, your water softener’s resin beads will have a much shorter life expectancy and your softener’s performance will suffer.

Small increases of chlorine in tap water can have significant effects on your water softener

So how much does chlorine actually impact the performance of your water softener? According to the WQA, chlorine levels of two parts per million can cut the lifespan of resin beads by half when compared to chlorine levels of 0.5 parts per million. For reference, the maximum allowed contaminant level (MCL) for chlorine in tap water is four parts per million, which means chlorine can be very damaging to your water softener’s resin beads even at levels as small as half of the MCL for chlorine in tap water.

How can you protect your water softener from chlorine in tap water?

Almost all tap water contains some levels of chlorine, because it is one of the most commonly used disinfectants by water treatment plants. So how can you ensure that chlorine doesn’t affect the performance and longevity of your water softener? The best solution is to install a water filter in front of your water softener that can remove chlorine from your tap water before that water reaches your softener. McBride’s offers a number of different filtration systems that are capable of removing chlorine from water, as well as softeners that contain a chlorine pre-filter in the very same unit.
If you have any questions about chlorine’s effects on water softeners, or if you’d like a water system serviced or installed in your home, contact McBride’s Water Advantage, your water softener and water filtration system dealer in Epsom, NH. We provide service all over New Hampshire, including towns like Weare, Londonderry and Derry, NH.
photo credit: aquamech-utah via photopin (license)