For many people, they anticipate a complex answer to this particular question. However, the process is a lot simpler than you think. Although the market is inundated with a wide variety of water softening technology, it all comes down to one basic principle: ion exchange. This is a chemical process where magnesium and calcium ions are substituted with sodium ions, which are a lot safer to consume and use for cleaning/bathing.
Some of the more conventional water heater installations include two tanks. One of those tanks contains a bed of resin beads that contain a lot of sodium. When hard water passes through the tank, sodium will exchange places with all the calcium and magnesium. The resinous beads cling on to the minerals, thus allowing the sodium to enter the volume of water. This is the most prominent and proficient method of treating hard water in most American households and businesses.
We also want to mention that water softeners will only release trace amounts of sodium into your water supply, making it drinkable and safe to use. If you are on a low sodium diet, then we suggest that you install a salt-free water softener instead. One popular alternative makes use of potassium. Salt-based water softeners can also potentially have negative effects on your landscaping and home gardening setup.
The resin beads that absorb all the magnesium and calcium in your water supply will eventually become flush with minerals. Once this occurs, the water softener then undergoes what is known as a “regeneration cycle” where the second tank will fill up the first tank with sodium-rich water. This will restore the resin beads and the water softener will resume normal operations.