What is a water softener and how does it work? The answer is pretty simple: they are a device that you install in your home which removes all of the hard minerals in your water supply. What are hard minerals? They are deposits of calcium and magnesium which appear in your water supply and they tend to wreak havoc on your plumbing. They can also greatly damage all of your water-using devices, such as a coffee maker or dishwasher.

So how does a water softener removes all of the hard minerals and sediment? Here is an explanation:

Water Softeners and How They Work

Water softeners remove minerals from your water supply through the ion exchange process. Why is it important to remove hard water from your home? Because it will weaken, erode, and destroy your plumbing and other appliances in your home that rely on hot water. The minerals found in your water supply will form a buildup of scale in your appliances and the pipes in your plumbing, which will make reduce your water pressure and make everything less effective.

What is the ion exchange process? It’s how your water softener removes calcium and magnesium from your water supplies. When the hard water enters your mineral tank, it passes through a bed of resin beads. The resin is charged with a sodium ion. The negative charge of the hard minerals will react to the positive charge of the resin by cling to beads. The resin removes the minerals from the water and the sodium ion is released into your water supply.

What Are the Components that Comprise a Water Softener?

tank. Each component plays a crucial role in softening your water supply.

The Mineral Tank

This is where the hard minerals are removed from your water supply. Hard water feeds into the tank and undergoes treatment via the resin beads. The soft water then exits the tank and makes its way through your plumbing and to the water-using appliances of your home.

The Control Valve

The control valve is what measures and determines the volume of water entering your mineral tank. The capacity of the resin beads in your mineral tank will deplete over time, and once they are overwhelmed by the mineral content in the water, the control valve will begin the regeneration process. The maximum capacity is programmed into the computer of your water softener, so your valve will automatically know when to regenerate the resin beads. This makes your water softener much more efficient and reliable in the way it operates.

The Brine Tank

The brine tank plays a major role in the regeneration process. It is a smaller tank located right next to the mineral tank and it contains a highly-concentrated sodium solution that will restore the positive charge in the resin beads. You will need to add the salt manually to the brine tank. Once the mineral tank reaches capacity, the brine tank will automatically dispense the brine solution and flushes it through the mineral tank. You need to remember to routinely refill your brine tank.

What Do Water Softeners Remove?

The most common hard minerals that are found in water supplies are magnesium and calcium. However, water softeners will also remove ferrous iron when it is present in low amounts. Iron will discolor and stain the water-using fixtures inside your home, such as your sink, bathtub, and toilet. If you have high traces of iron in your water supply, then your resin bed will reach capacity a lot quicker and you will go through a lot more salt/brine.

Additional Information

Soft water is safe to drink because the amount of sodium in your water supply is not nearly enough to cause you any harm. The concentration of sodium in your water supply is contingent on the concentration of hard minerals that your water softener removes. This can be a cause for concern if you live in an area where there is a high concentration of hard minerals in the water supply. If this is the case, then you may want to consider installing a Reverse Osmosis system which will remove up to 99% of contaminants in your water supply.

Do you need a water softener? It ultimately depends on the conditions in which you live. If you are experiencing a severe lack of water pressure due to scale and buildup in your plumbing, then yes, you should strongly consider installing a water softener. If you are not sure what to do, then you can always call us and speak with one of our representatives. They will tell you everything you need to know about water softener repair and installation services.