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Guide to Hotel Water Softeners Requirements

What Does A Water Softener Do?

A water softener is a tank system that removes the ions (i.e., usually calcium and magnesium) from the water supply to make it softer.

  • Over 80% of hotels in the US require water softeners.
  • In most cases, a water softener is mandatory when water hardness is more than 5 grains per gallon in hot water and 7 grains per gallon in cold water. A water test can determine the water profile for the requirement of a water softener.
  • Hard water, when left untreated, can clog plumbing systems with limescale and significantly reduce the lifespan of the plumbing equipment and fixtures.
  • After treatment, the water softens and easily liquefies soap for easier removal of soap scum from sinks and tubs.

What Types Are There?

There are several different options for softeners; however, the best option is a softener that uses ion exchange. Ion exchange is the technology most commonly used in water softeners.

What Size Do I Need?

  • A typical 120-key hotel needs two 24” diameter softener tanks and one 30” diameter brine tank. These tanks take up an approximate 7’ by 2.5’ footprint in the water heater room.
  • Choosing the size of the system required for each hotel is critical for effectiveness.
  • Oversized systems can lead to hardness leakage due to inefficient flow rates.
  • Undersized systems lead to pressure issues.
  • Your MEP engineer should work directly with the softener representative to ensure it is properly sized.

How Much Do They Cost?

A water softener for a typical 120-key hotel can range from $5,000-$10,000. Cost fluctuations depend on whether you plan to soften only hot water or both cold and hot. Since hot and cold water is mixed, most manufacturers recommend treating both sources.  

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