A water softener is an all-house filtration device that eliminates calcium and magnesium minerals that cause hardness from your water via a procedure known as ion exchange. One of the most common and costly water problems is addressed by a water softener: hardwater. Hard water is creating havoc on new houses. Scale builds up, clogging them in your pipes and increasing the water pressure. Scale significantly shortens the lifetime of appliances such as dishwashers, ice makers and coffee makers. Hard water kills equipment made for hot water. The use of water softeners has changed significantly over the years. Water softeners have evolved and as the years have progressed, new features have been introduced and old features have been removed from them.
This report is dedicated to illustrating the history, trends, data, and statistics regarding water softeners.
HISTORY OF WATER SOFTENERS
|1800s: Scientists such as Huxtable, Lambuschini and Sir Humphrey Davy studied the concepts of water softening by ion exchange.|
|1850s: Royal Agriculture Society of London discovered how ion exchange worked and how the ion exchange materials could be synthesized.|
|1900s: Manual water softeners were used which were very big in size and needed to be taken apart piece by piece in order to clean them.|
|1903: Harm and Rumpler, two German scientists prepared the first ever synthetic ion exchanger.|
|1920s: Adams and Holmes discovery of high capacity cation exchange material became the basis of sulfonated coal-based exchangers.|
|1935: Adams and Holmes discovery of vinyl compounds that could be sulfonated served as the founding stone of organic based ion exchangers.|
|1940s: Devoted research on ion exchange technology led to the discovery of our present-day concept of ion exchange.|
|1950s: Semi-automatic water softeners were introduced that came with an electrical time clock and they were smaller in size.|
|1970s: The implementation of processing techniques of aeration, flocculation and carbon cleaning was observed to improve the quality of drinking water.|
|1980s: Non-electric water softeners were introduced by Harvey Water Softeners which served as the basis for the Kinetico Water Softeners.|
|1990s: The companies producing electric water softeners started utilizing electronics to produce water softeners that were more efficient than the non-electric water softener.|
|1995: Block salt was added to water softeners which made them perform for|
longer periods of time without having to be regenerated.
|2000s: The electric water softeners have become more reliable and deliver minimal wastage of water along with high salt efficiencies. Hague water softening systems and Ecowater systems are the leading manufacturers of water softeners today.|
SELECTING A BEST WATER SOFTENER
It is very important to know the water usage in your household when you select a water softener as it directly corresponds to how much water in your household needs to be softened.
This is what your minimum water use should be in gallons per use.
And you water usage should not exceed the amounts given in the graph above. These measurements are crucial along with regeneration cycle when buying a water softener.
WATER SOFTENER SIZING CHART
The sizing chart for the water softener is a perfect guide for sizing a new water softener. For results, efficiency as well as longevity of the water softener it is necessary to get the correct size water softener.
People tend to refer to the number of people in their homes when deciding the size of the water softener.
WATER QUALITY IN LOCATIONS ALL OVER THE U.S.
According to the US Geological Survey:
- Florida, Indiana, Wisconsin, Utah, New Mexico, and Arizona have very hard water which is untreated.
- Montana, Idaho, Nevada, California, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Illinois, Michigan, and Ohio have moderately hard water which is untreated.
- North Dakota, Minnesota, Missouri, Louisiana, Alabama, Tennessee, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Alaska, Hawaii, and the District of Columbia have moderately soft water.
- Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Arkansas, Mississippi, Georgia, North and South Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New York, and all New England states have the softest water
TOP CITIES OF THE U.S. WITH HARD WATER
The top cities with hard water in the U.S. are:
- Indianapolis, IN.
- Las Vegas, NV.
- Minneapolis, MN.
- Phoenix, AZ.
- San Antonio, TX.
- Tampa, FL.
WATER USE AMONG PEOPLE
In the Fact Sheet in The Survey, 2003, the NHDES (New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services) database on private bedrock wells was used to conduct a study about water use. The results were as followed:
Out of a total of 353 people who participated in the survey, 316 (90%) people that they use water from their own private wells to drink, while the rest of the 37 (10%) people said that they do not use water from their wells as drinking water because of problems related to water quality.
Moreover, when they were surveyed for the use of some way to improve the water quality, the results looked like this:
46% of the people who participated in the survey said that they use some sort of filtering system or treatment to improve the quality of drinking water. 18% people reported using sediment filters to solve their problem while the remaining 13% said that they resort to water softeners to get rid of hardness of water.
PERCENTAGE OF HOUSES THAT USE WATER SOFTENERS
The Graph below depicts the portion of houses in the US that have to deal with hard water problems and the portion of houses in the US that own water softeners to solve the water quality issue:
ALTERNATIVES TO WATER SOFTENERS
Some people do not prefer to use water softeners because they have a replenishment schedule and require regular maintenance. A variety of water softener alternatives are available today that people prefer over water softeners:
|Reverse Osmosis System||It is capable of removing up to 99% of solids dissolved in water which means your drinking water will turn out incredibly clean and pure.|
|Electromagnetic Water Treatment||It does not require the installation of any extra systems and it also provides water that is perfect for drinking. It keeps the Calcium in the water instead of removing it.|
|Magnetic Water Treatment||It uses electromagnetic and magnetic devices for treating water and removing its hardness.|
|Template Assisted Crystallization (TAC)||It softens water without any salt or electricity. Also does not need any maintenance. Moreover, the life expectancy of the tank is also very long.|
|Electronic Water Conditioning System||It is cheaper than a water softener and it is limescale remover which you can easily install on you own. It prevents hard water from coming back in the pipes.|
|Salt-Free Water Softener||It is eco-friendly, does not require any maintenance and works without electricity. Softens water without salt and there is zero waste water.|
|Electrochemical Water Treatment||It makes use of electricity to dissolve contaminants and minerals responsible for hardness. Also called Continuous Electrolytic Deionization.|
|Electronic Descaler||It removes and prevents hard water at very low costs. It does not need any plumbing changes and enhances water heater efficiency. Hassle free installation.|
|Electronic Water Descaler||It dissolves existing deposits, retains healthy minerals in water and prevents the buildup of limescale while being maintenance free and environment friendly.|
|Electrically Induced Precipitation||It uses electrical current to get rid of water hardness and other compounds by precipitation.|
NORTHERN NEW YORK’S ECOSYSTEM SERVICE VALUE OF GROUNDWATER
The ecosystem service value of groundwater in Northern New York was estimated by Kelting and Laxson in 2010. They placed a value of $0.12 on per gallon of groundwater, $0.06 on per gallon of base water and $0.06 on natural filtration as a source of water treatment.
They, then, applied these values to the estimated 266-349 million gallons of groundwater which were pumped everyday in the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area. As a result of the calculation, the ecosystem service value of the groundwater in the Metropolitan Area could easily be estimated to be $11.7-$15.3 billion per year.
MONEY SPENT OF RIVER AND LAKE ECOSYSTEM SERVICES
Costanza estimated ecosystem services from rivers and lakes from available sources and literature.
COSTS OF WATER SOFTENING (ION EXCHANGE) AND ITS ALTERNATIVES
People also use technologies that do not use salt and also reduce the formation of scales and these technologies are often cheaper than water softener (ion exchange). Following table gives an accurate representation of costs that are spent on different systems on an average.
WATER SOFTENER MARKET – KEY STATISTICS
- The global demand for water softening systems is projected to achieve sales worth ~US$ 9.4 billion by the end of 2019.
- The demand for water softening systems is projected to expand at a CAGR of ~7 per cent over the 2019-2029 forecast period.
- Leading water softening device manufacturers are mainly looking for improved market positioning for the company through strategic acquisitions, alliances and new releases.
- It is estimated that North America and Middle East & Africa (MEA) will jointly account for ~47 per cent of the market share of water softening systems.
- Manufacturers working on the water softening systems market are seeking lucrative opportunities in the softening of electric water.
INCREASE IN WATER SOFTENER MARKET FROM 2018 TO 2025
The universal water softener systems market which was valued at 1036.34 million USD is expected to reach 1457.42 million USD in the year 2025. It will grow at a CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) of 4.99% between 2018 and 2025.
MARKET SHARE OF WATER SOFTENING SYSTEMS (2017)
The share in sales market of water softener systems has remained stable year by year globally:
- The residential sales market share of global water softener systems was 71.91% in 2017.
- The commercial sales market share of global water softener systems was 18.34% in 2017.
- The industrial sales market share of global water softener systems was 9.75% in 2017.
BIGGEST CONTRIBUTORS IN THE WATER SOFTENER MARKET (2018)
The following table illustrates the biggest contributors to ghr global water softener systems revenue market:
- North America is at the top of the contributors list to the Water Softener Systems revenue market with a revenue of 423.7 million USD, which accounts for 40.88% of the total global market in 2018.
- It is followed by Europe with a revenue of 301.94 million USD thus, accounting for 29.14%.
- Last but not the least China contributes to the list with a revenue of 134.13 million USD which accounts for 12.94%.
LARGEST WATER SOFTENER SYSTEMS SELLING COMPANIES (2017)
The graph below depicts the shares of water softener systems manufacturing and selling companies in the global market revenue:
- EcoWater Systems and Culligan are the two largest companies in the global Water Softener Systems market that manufacture and sell the most water softeners.
- EcoWater Systems accounted for 13.64% of the revenue market share in 2017.
- Culligan accounted for 13.15% of the revenue market share in 2017.
- EcoWater Systems and Culligan were followed by BWT AG, which accounted for 10.22% of the revenue market share
A COMPARISON OF SALT BASED WATER SOFTENERS AND SALT FREE WATER SOFTENERS
Water Softener Systems are usually placed into two categories: Salt based water softeners and salt free water softeners.
The following bar represents the sales and market share of saly based water softener systems and salt free water softener systems, respectively:
- Salt based water softener use salts and they accounted for the highest proportion of sales, with a figure of 92.34% in the year 2017.
- The rest of the sales belonged to the salt free water softeners; they had a sales market share of 7.66%.
- The market share of salt free softeners has remained basically the same in the recent years.
WATER SOFTENER MARKET’S TOP KEY PLAYERS
- General Electric.
- EcoWater Systems.
- Kinetico Incorporated.
- Culligan International.
- Canature Environmental Products.
- Harvey Water Softeners.
- Pelican Water Systems.
BENEFITS OF CENTRALIZED SOFTENING FOR DRINKING WATER CUSTOMERS
The intensity of water hardness after a water softening treatment has been found to be the most important factor for establishing costs when considering to buy a water softening system.
Moreover, other studies have also found low break-even points for centralized softening; centralized water softening costs in Copenhagen, which were estimated from results of a life cycle assessment, represented a minimum hardness decrease of 22 ppm (from 362 ppm to 340 ppm) for an environmental break-even point. This small softening depth symbolized that environmental benefits can be achieved rapidly, and greater softening depths are recommended for additional household benefits.
Although these studies show the pros of centralized water softening also covering wider household and environmental benefits, their estimates of savings may not be completely generalizable to the United States due to differences in water treatment technologies and systems, and their costs and availability. The following graph shows the benefits of centralized softening for drinking water customers:
WATER SOFTENER AS A SOURCE OF INDUSTRIAL WATER TREATMENT AND OTHER OPTIONS: A SURVEY
WaterProfessionals performed a survey asking business owners and industries about what they do about the industrial water i.e. what kind of systems do they use to treat the quality of industrial water. The results are listed and represented graphically below:
- The most popular option among industrial water treatment turned out to be the water filtration system, which made up 27% of the results.
- Water softener system was a runner up with 24% of the results.
- 17% of the participants said that the question was not applicable to their company or business.
- 10% of the people who took part in the survey said that they use reverse osmosis system.
- 7% of the people who took part in the survey answered that their company basically uses an industrial water treatment system other than the other options which were listed.
- 6% of the participants decided to select the point of use filtration system.
- There were least utilized options, all of them tied at 3%; portable exchange deionizers, skid mounted systems and dealkalizers.
CONCLUDING IT UP
Growing concerns about global climate change and population rates are raising health, safety and hygiene demands where water treatment plays an important role. It is expected that strong demand for water softeners from residential and commercial users, water and wastewater treatment plants to extract minerals like calcium and magnesium from hard water would fuel the expansion of the global water softener market. In addition, the awareness among consumers of the adverse effects of hard water on machinery and human health is boosting the worldwide sales of water softeners.
Accelerated industrialization directly affects water quality, so government is now spending on centralized water treatment plants to improve the water quality. The requirement of water softeners is driven primarily by the launch of advanced and revolutionary water softener technologies with anti-scaling, Wi-Fi activated with self-cleaning tech. It is safe to say that water softening systems have become the need of the time.