Explain The Effect That Pressure Changes Had On Flow Rate Water Softener Use In Mobile Auto Detailing

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Water Softener Use In Mobile Auto Detailing

What is considered hard water and what are the degrees of hardness? Well very hard water would be 10.5 grains per gallon and 180 parts per million and above. But you must understand that even moderately hard water of 3.5 to 7 grains per gallon and 60-120 parts per million will leave hard water stains. Slightly hard water, such as 1 to 3.5 grains per gallon and 17.1 to 60 parts per million will not leave noticeably hard water stains that you cannot cure with chamois. But as a professional auto detailer you are really looking for soft water less than 1 grain per gallon and 17 parts per million.

What makes water hard?

Water hardness is caused by calcium and magnesium ions that form insoluble compounds; sometimes iron and even aluminum. There are many ways to soften water. Some are more complicated than others; Aeration, deionization or ion exchange, distillation, reverse osmosis or softening.

Softening using a water softener is the simplest concept used today; water softeners replace hardness ions such as calcium and magnesium with sodium ions or non-calcifying ions. The ion exchange resin used in the process is periodically refilled with salt drawn from the tank. Many water treatment experts agree, and Lance Winslow agrees, that softening can be most cost-effective when the water has only one to five grains per gallon of hardness. Most mobile operators will be happy with one to three grains per gallon of hardness and probably won’t even purchase a softener unit until the hardness is five plus grains per gallon. Their theory is well accepted because if the total dissolved solids (TDS) is that low, there will be some water stains on the cars anyway.

One reason to put in a water softener even if your water is 5 gpg or less is that you want to prevent scale build-up in the coils of your steam cleaner, or you want to save the pressure washer pump on your auto detailer. On a cold water machine it doesn’t matter as much as 5 gpg or less will not destroy the pump. More than five can over time.

Hardness also prevents the soap from doing its job. You may notice that your soaps aren’t cleaning as well as they should. This is because they clean the water first and bond with the compounds in the water, not the dirt on the car. You see, the hardness of the water tends to neutralize those cleaning compounds and you have to actually use more soap to counteract the mineral neutralizing effect of the hardness.

With hard water, you will use more soap and the cars are still not clean. I encourage you to talk to your soap vendors for helpful advice on water chemistry and treatment requirements. Your soap strategy should be tailored to your city and the hardness of the water you put in the tank.

Most independent auto detailers agree that hard water areas will also cause a film to form on cars that have been washed without using fabric softener. At the annual conference, they also agreed that the decision to buy a water softener should be based on an actual water test. You may wish to contact a water treatment dealer such as: Rain Soft, Culligan, Apollo, Calgon, Rayne water Systems or Water Man in your area. They can help you by having your local water tested or asking your city water company for information about their supply. Once you have made the decision to buy a water softener, choosing the right equipment is easy. Softener sizes should be based on two factors: flow rate (GPM) and grains per gallon (GPG).

The flow rate would typically be six to eight gpm (gallons per minute) with your hose in your home. We recommend changing the pressure regulator to 90-110 PSI (pounds per square inch). That would give you about ten gpm. So you need a water softener that is a little bigger than the basic model.

Water softeners are basically like refrigerators; says Car Wash Guys founder Lance Winslow;

“It can last two years or twenty years… and a lot depends on how much comes in and how often it comes out.”

This is why you should monitor softening equipment. You can test the hardness with a test set or just pay attention while washing your cars. Steel softening tanks last for years. Fiberglass units also last well. Plastic units crack. You may need to replace the resin every few years.

Chances are you’ll decide to rent water softeners for $30 a month and let the exchange company refill them for you. Be careful when hiring a water softener supplier. Ask us for help. You may even be able to exchange water softener rental services and earn money on your account because water softener rental companies have a lot of delivery trucks. Either way, consider these questions when considering a water softening strategy for your mobile car wash or auto detailing business.

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