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How a water softener works

You might be asking yourself how a water softener works.  For sure to understand how hard, full particle water going through a system and when it comes out is a soft and particle free can be mind-boggling. In this article, we are going to see how a water softener works.

What is a water softener?

A water softener is a tool that softens water by filtering the hardness and minerals via an ion exchange method and adding some   potassium or sodium. Usually, it has a mineral chamber with resin beads and a salt tank.

Water softeners help us to avoid clogged dishes, water heaters, scale on pipes and sinks, as well as to improve the cleaning power of our water. With such benefits, many people are now wondering regarding the way a water softening works. These devices ensure that the large amount of water that we use each day is much easier to manage.

The process of softening water

Most water softeners apply a method called ion exchange to remove minerals dissolved in hard water and produce soft water with no smell or taste. Some of the minerals that can be filtered out of hard water include calcium, sulfur, iron, and magnesium.

The exchange of unwanted minerals with sodium

Water softener device has many small plastic beads called zeolite. These are covered with sodium ions. When the water flows through zeolite, the unwanted minerals are exchanged with the sodium. This leaves more sodium in the water but removes other minerals. Finally, the zeolites no longer have sodium ions and must be regenerated.


During operation of the water softener, hard particles accumulate in the resin bed of the plasticizer. Once the buildup rises to a certain level, the softener automatically starts the process of mixing salt within the tank with many gallons of incoming water to remove the particles from the resin bed. Then it rinses the tank and is now ready to repeat the process of water softening in the process called regeneration.

What is regeneration?

Regeneration is the critical section of how water softeners work. This involves soaking the zeolite beads in a solution containing sodium ions. A very ordinary solution is the household salt – strong brine is made to regenerate the plasticizer. Once the zeolite is regenerated, the remaining salt solution and the remainder of the minerals can be washed away.

However, this method means that water softeners add extra salt to the water they produce. For people with a low-sodium diet, this can be a problem. Sometimes alternative salts like potassium chloride are used to avoid this problem.

Anyone who wants to limit their sodium and use a water softener should talk to their doctor about the extra minerals he or she can take.

Some water softener units do not use salts at all, but instead, use activated carbon filters or some other method to remove the unwanted minerals from hard water. These are usually much more expensive than traditional water softeners.

Once your water softener has regenerated, it is ready to go back to work. Some systems regenerate automatically and only need to be refilled with salt. Others, such as Portable water softeners work until exhausted and then stop working until manually regenerated.

Many water softeners contain 10 feet of hose, which will drain the water after regeneration. If the drainage is more than 10 feet away, this would require an additional, suitable drainage line.  In most cases, the drain ought not to be more than 30 feet from the softener. The amount of water used in regeneration varies widely among models, but the majority of average models consume about 50 gallons in each regeneration cycle.

Usually, regeneration takes place in the middle of the night when water is not used, or it can be adjusted to occur at any time of the day, whenever appropriate. If the water is used while the regeneration takes place, it comes directly from the well, which is a concern of some families.

Final verdict

From the above, you are now cleared on how the water softener works. Knowing how it works, will enable you to take good care of it for long-lasting operation. As you now know some of the critical sections that make up a working softener. With such benefits of water softener, it is a tool to miss in your home.

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