How Water Softeners Work

How Water Softeners Work

To remove the minerals that create water hardness we use water softeners. There are many negative effects of hard water. It destroys appliances in your house, it dries your hair and skin and leaves soap scums in the kitchens and bathrooms. Water Softeners will save you money, time, energy and also it will protect your house.

Water softeners eliminate calcium and magnesium from the water and it does that through the process called ion exchange. Hard water will enter into the mineral tank and then the water flows through a bed of spherical resin beads. These plastic beads are charged with a sodium ion and are made from polystyrene most of the time. Because these resin beads are anions, that means that they have a negative charge but minerals such as calcium and magnesium have a positive charge and that makes the cations. The positive charge of the resin beads will attract the negative charge of minerals because opposite charges attract. The beads will remove mineral ions from the water as the water passes through the resin. Sodium ions are released when the bread seizes the mineral ion. After that process is done, water will pass through the mineral tank and soft water will flow to your house.


Water softeners are made from three components and they are:

– control valve
– mineral tank
– brine tank


We can describe the mineral tank as the chamber where hard water becomes soft water. The water supply line that you use will feed the hard water into this tank. The water will go through the bed of resin beads and it will leave calcium and magnesium ions behind. Then soft water will exit the tank and will flow through your pipes for you to use it.


The control valve is used to measure the amount of water that is going through the mineral tank and also into your home. There is a meter in the valve that tracks the volume of the water that is entering into the mineral tank. When the water flows through the mineral tank, sodium ions are being exchanged for hardness ions by the resin beads. The capacity of the resign to effectively soften hard water over time is decreasing. The control valve will automatically initiate a regeneration cycle before the beads become unable to remove calcium and magnesium ions effectively. There is a maximum capacity that is pre-programmed into the onboard computer on the control valve and that is based on a lot of factors such as the hardness of your water, how big your home is, and how many people live in your house.


The brink tank helps the water softening system when it’s regenerating. It’s a shorter tank that is located next to the mineral tank. This tank holds the highly concentrated solution of salt in order to restore the positive charge of resin beads. Salt is always manually added to the brine tank and it’s added in the form of block or pellets. If the brine tank runs out of salt then the water that is passing through the unit will not be softened.

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