How Does a Water Softener Work?

A water softener is a device that adds a certain amount of salt to the water, usually enough to raise the salinity level from 0 grains per gallon (GPG) to 3 GPG or higher. The average household will use about 200 lbs of salt every year in order to soften their water supply.

water softeners

Some homeowners may be concerned that by using a water softener, they will be increasing their sodium intake or adding too much salt to the diet. In actual fact, households that use a water softener can reduce their sodium intake from food because foods become more flavorful without all of the added chemicals and additives in softened water.

How do water softeners work?

softened water

Ion exchange is the mechanism used in water softeners. Calcium and magnesium are removed from a water source using an ion exchange technique. The hard water enters the mineral tank through a bed of spherical plastic beads. The plastic beads, which might be composed of polystyrene, are charged with sodium ions. Because the resin includes negatively charged cations, it is an ion.

The negatively charged metals are attracted to the positively charged beads since opposite charges attract. As the beads catch sodium ions, they also capture and release mineral ions. As the resin column passes through the water tank, all of the water hardness is stripped away, and softened water flows out.

How does water softener regeneration work?

Beads composed of resin are considerably long-lasting and can soften water for up to 20 years. Regeneration methods for water softening chemicals include co-current or counter-current regeneration.

Again, the resin pieces are conditioned and re-primed to eliminate difficult minerals from the body. Softeners made of resin beads can be used to soften the water for up to 20 years.

Is drinking soft water safe?

brine solution

The sodium found in softened waters is not harmful and is considerably less than what people believe. A slice of white bread has 170 milligrams of sodium and a piece of pizza has 640 milligrams. After your softener, you may also recommend the installation of reverse osmosis systems to reduce salt intake if your doctor has advised you to do so owing to high blood pressure or a kidney issue.

If you live in a location where the water is particularly hard, you’ll almost certainly want to install a reverse osmosis system to purify the water you drink and cook with. If your water has hardness levels of higher than 400 ppm you must install a reverse osmosis system. Water treated with a water softener is perfectly safe to drink and has the added benefit of tasting better than soft water.

What other factors affect softness?

Water must be between 80 and 100 F in order for the resin to regenerate properly. This means that you cannot get your hair wet when showering immediately after regenerating the resin beads, as it will activate them before you turn on the water.

Also, different areas require different amounts of salt for softening; 200 lbs of salt may be too much for your area and result in over-softening. A water softener control system makes use of a computerized device that can be used to indicate when your salt cell needs to be replaced or makes use of an automated regeneration process.

What other issues can a water softener help with?

magnesium ions

Regenerating the beads in your water softeners increases the pH and alkalinity levels, resulting in less soap scum and mineral buildup on fixtures and appliances. Water that is softened has improved taste and clarity. Some people will also notice less soap usage and cleaner clothing since soaps are used more efficiently.

What is a salt-free water softener?

A saltwater conditioner softens water and is a method for combating scale. They rely on templates aided crystallizations (TACs) rather than ion exchange to solve the problem of hard water.

Calcium and magnesium minerals are transformed into micro-crystalline with TAC. As a result, the crystals are unable to adhere to surfaces, preventing scaling from accumulating in pipes.

Water around your tap may be cleared, and the water pressure in your pipes will be restored if you take these measures. Scum will continue to build up around your sinks and showers, but showerheads and faucets can now be protected from harsh deposits of mineralized acid by using an anti-scale solution.

Do I need a water softener?

calcium and magnesium

The difficulty with hard water does not go away in a single step. Appliances will inevitably break down early in their anticipated lifespan, thanks to a softening agent.When your pipes can’t handle the amount of water coming into your home, the scale will be suppressed. Water that is hard on hot water heaters destroys them.

Your bill will continue to rise if you don’t soften it. A typical household in the United States uses about 120 gallons of water each day. When a home’s soft water supply fails, it continues to be impacted for years until it may be fixed or replaced. If your pipes are low on pressure, get dry hair and fatigued laundry ‘necessary repairs.’

Check out our post here on the Best Water Softener UK so you can choose the best one for you.

When do I need to replace my water softener?

Water softeners typically have a lifespan of 15 years, although water softener systems can endure much longer if properly maintained. The resin bed is also protected from hefty steel and manganese by shielding it from substantial damage.

If your system is more than a decade old and appears to be softening, it’s probably time to upgrade. When you’re soaking up hard or normal water (over 14 gpg), you’ll only need two hours in the shower to work. Sediment can cause a screen to break or an auxiliary system to fail prematurely.


resin breads

A water softener can be installed as a whole new system or as an addition to your existing filtration technology. Your best bet is to hire a professional who can install it correctly and guarantee its efficacy for years to come. Hard water, like rust stains on your sink, will immediately dissipate once the minerals have been removed from the equation. You’ll be able to enjoy an abundance of amenities and features for a reasonable price.

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