What Is a Water Softener & How Does It Work?

Water Softeners Operation

Calcium and magnesium minerals, culprits behind hard water, can inflict considerable damage on appliances, deposit unsightly soap scum on bathroom and kitchen fixtures, and contribute to dry hair and skin. Enter the water softener, a whole-house filtration system crafted to eliminate these minerals and impart softness to the water. Given that over 85% of households in the United States depend on hard water for daily activities like cooking, cleaning, and bathing, water softeners actively contribute to safeguarding appliance longevity and enhancing overall quality of life.


Water Softeners Operation Checklist

Water softeners employ ion exchange to eliminate calcium and magnesium from the water. As hard water enters the mineral tank, it passes through a bed of spherical resin beads, composed of polystyrene-based plastic charged with sodium ions.

The resin beads, carrying a negative charge, attract the positively charged calcium and magnesium ions in the water, effectively removing them. Once the resin beads capture the mineral ions, they release sodium ions, resulting in the softened water flowing into your home after the resin column eliminates all water hardness.

The mineral ions are caught by the resin beads as hard water flows through them, removing them from the water. As soon as the bead captures the mineral ion, the sodium ion is released. Water that has been softened flows into your home once the resin column in the mineral tank completely eliminates all of the water’s hardness.  

It’s crucial to recognize that the resin beads in a water softener gradually become exhausted and require recharging with sodium ions. This recharging process, known as regeneration, involves flushing the mineral tank with a brine solution. During regeneration, the resin beads release the collected mineral ions and get recharged with sodium ions, ready to continue removing minerals from incoming water.

Water Softeners Operation is comprised of a system of three key components: a control valve, a mineral tank, and a brine tank. These three devices work together to regulate water flow, eliminate minerals from hard water, and maintain system performance through periodic regeneration.

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