Is water from the softener aggressive?

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After passing through a softener, water often raises questions about its properties, including its potential aggressiveness. In this article, we will look at what it means for water to be "aggressive", how the water softening process affects its properties, and whether it can actually lead to water being aggressive.

What does it mean that water is aggressive?

Water is considered "aggressive" when it tends to dissolve materials it comes into contact with, such as metals in pipes. Water can become aggressive when it is overly acidified or when it is low in minerals, leading to a lower pH and increased corrosivity.

Water softening process

Water softeners work on the principle of ion exchange, removing calcium and magnesium ions from water, which are responsible for water hardness. In return, the water is "enriched" with sodium ions. This process does not directly affect the pH level of the water, but it can change its mineral composition.

Is softened water aggressive?

  1. Change in Mineral Composition: Softener water has a lower calcium and magnesium content, which may lead to the false belief that it is "aggressive". However, the mere lack of these minerals does not make the water aggressive.
  2. Effect on pH: Softening water does not usually lower its pH to a level that would make it aggressive. In practice, water after the softener still remains within a safe pH range.
  3. The issue of pipes and installations: In some cases, especially in old pipe systems, water with an altered mineral composition can accelerate corrosion, but this is more a matter of the condition of the installation than the water itself.

Recommendations of water softener manufacturers

An important aspect to remember when using water softeners are the manufacturers' recommendations regarding the water hardness level. Most water softener manufacturers recommend adjusting water hardness to approximately 60 mg CaCO3/l. Why is this important?

  1. Preventing Reactions with Copper: Maintaining water hardness at the recommended level is intended to prevent chemical reactions with copper, which is often used in domestic water systems. Copper can be susceptible to corrosion, especially when exposed to water with very low levels of hardness.
  2. Installation Protection: By regulating water hardness at the recommended level, you not only protect your installations from corrosion, but also ensure that the water retains a certain level of mineralization, which is beneficial to both the taste of the water and your health.
  3. Balancing the Properties of Water: By maintaining a hardness of 60 mg CaCO3/l, the water after the softener retains balanced properties, which makes it safe and friendly to most home water systems and devices.

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