What is different about Hague Water Softeners design and build?
To answer this question, we need to first look at the standard water softener design and compare Hague design with other water softeners.
- Standard Water Softener Designs
- Hague Distribution
- Hague Contact Times and Flow Rates
I. Standard water softener design
Most water softeners are a combination of a control valve which is designed to be used across a range of different size water softeners and a resin tank housed within a salt storage cabinet.
Resin tanks come in all shapes & sizes but they all have a standard size threaded hole at the top which is used to mount the control valve. This hole is also used to install the distribution system and to fill the tank with the ion exchange resin. Water then flows through the resin and is instantly softened as it flows.
The water softening process relies on two key factors:
Distribution – this is the ability of the water to spread out evenly across the top surface of the resin and to flow through without forming channels or missing part of the softening resin altogether.
Contact– In order for the hardness to be effectively removed the water needs to be in contact with the resin long enough to collect the sodium ions and deposit the hardness within the water softener. Conclusion: Too little contact time results in blended or not softened water.
II. Hague Distribution
Unlike other manufacturers Hague make the entire water softener. Valve, vessel, distribution – the lot. There are nine patents for these unique designs.
Unique design features include:
1. PATENTED DIRECTIONAL FLOW SCREEN. All Hague residential water softeners incorporate this technology into their distribution system.
As Hague resin tanks are made by Hague exclusively for use in our own equipment we are not restrained by the convention which states that the hole at the top must be suitable for many different control valves.
In fact there is no hole at the top at all.
The patented directional flow screens are incorporated into the tank and laser welded into position before the tank is assembled. This enables us to use a full width screen instead of a screen to a maximum of the top hole. It also means we are able to leave spaces or voids in our tank at the top and the bottom which are essential to good distribution.
Conclusion: Good distribution = Good quality water.
2. ULTRA-FIL TECHNOLOGY. Every one of our water softeners incorporates this media as a pre-treatment to the softening.
The Ultra-Fil removes dirt & sediment down to 20 microns (a micron is one thousandth of a millimetre) and is automatically backwashed and cleaned every time the softener regenerates. Dirt and debris from mains water supplies damages moving parts scuffs and wears seals and can cause blockages to key components within water softeners.
Ultra-Fil also helps to spread the incoming water evenly across the upper distributor ensuring good equal distribution.
Conclusion: Ultra-Fil Protection = Reliability and longevity
3. LAMINAR FLOW. The combination of patented directional flow screens, Ultra-Fil technology and the top and bottom voids enabled by our unique tank design all combine to produce laminar flow.
Laminar flow is the technical way of describing the fact that the water spreads evenly and flows equally through the entire bed of softening resin and doesn’t cut any corners or waste any available capacity. This means that the water contacts all of the available resin which in turn means less wasted salt and efficient regeneration are possible.
Conclusion: Laminar Flow = Less Salt needed
4. C266 – FINE MESH RESIN
Not all ion exchange resins are the same!
Having made it through the pre-filtration, the distribution and straightened out into a laminar flow, the water is now actually ready to be softened. It is the ion exchange resin which does the softening.
The process is one of swopping the dissolved hardness (calcium ions) for sodium ions which are present in the resin. The resin however doesn’t have an unlimited supply of sodium ions and therefore will need more from time to time.
Salt (sodium chloride) is used as an inexpensive and convenient way of supplying the sodium necessary to enable the water softener to carry on softening. The process of flushing away the accumulated hardness together with the chlorides from the salt and replacing the sodium ions, is known as regeneration.
How this process is controlled and triggered determines how efficiently the water softener operates. All ion exchange softeners need exactly the same amount of salt to actually soften a given amount of water at a given hardness. Any salt over and above this amount is wasted.
Sadly the 100% efficient water softener has yet to be invented. So, all water softeners use more than the 351 grammes per 1000 litres of water* that is actually needed.
* How much more is the measure of a softener’s efficiency. *based on 300mg/l hardness.
By using fine mesh resin in all Hague residential water softeners we are able to get more soft water for less salt and rinse water than any other manufacturer.
Conclusion: Fine Mesh Resin = Less Salt and Water for Regeneration
III. Hague Flow Rates and Contact Times
Factors which effect contact time are the following:
- How much resin is there? The volume of the vessel. (Known as the bed volume)
- How fast is the water moving? The flow rate at which the water is moving. (Normally measured in bed volumes per hour for comparative purposes
- The grade of resin used – smaller beads offer better kinetics and therefore require less contact time but they also offer more resistance to flow.
Much is claimed for many different water softeners and sadly not all of it is true. Remember:
- In order for the hardness to be effectively removed the water needs to be in contact with the resin long enough to collect the sodium ions and deposit the hardness within the water softener.
- Larger diameter water softening vessels are better than smaller vessels because the linear velocity of the water is reduced.
- Slower moving water causes less friction and spends more time in contact with the ion exchange resin.
This means that the water is completely soft and the flow rate of the softened water is not compromised by excessive frictional losses resulting in reduced pressure.
This, of course, is only true if the distribution system spreads the water out evenly. Also, if water is forced through too quickly the ion exchange resin itself can start to crack and fail due to the pressure being exerted on it.
This, together with the reduced contact time, is the reason the resin manufacturers specify the peak flow for their products.
The peak flow is normally expressed in “bed volumes per hour” (Bv/h) and ranges between 100 and 400 Bv/h for water softening applications.
If we compare the claims of one of our most popular competitors which we will refer to as (K) for the purposes of this explanation, to the Hague Maximizer 410 this will help illustrate the point.
The “K” has two 4.6 litre tanks but only one is in use at any one time. The claimed flow rate is up to 51 litres per minute of softened water.
The Hague 410 has an 11 litre tank and claims to provide up to 60 litres per minute of softened water.
To establish the comparative flow rate we divide the flow per hour (51 litres per minute x 60 minutes = 3060 litres per hour) by the bed volume in use (4.6 litres)
3060 ÷ 4.6 = 665 Bv/h for the “K”
3600 ÷ 11 = 327 Bv/h for the Hague
From this you can clearly see that the “K” is claiming to be operating in a range where it will be unable to effectively soften the water and will be damaging the ion exchange resin inside.
Hague = Engineering Specifications you can trust