Understanding a Water Softener System

You may have noticed some thick, scaly lines appearing on some of your home’s appliances. These deposits can also be found inside your home’s water pipes and as a result, you can hear a gushing sound when opening your water taps. These are symptoms of a supply of hard water to your home. Hard water doesn’t mean something strong or powerful. Water containing excessive minerals such as calcium, magnesium and manganese is classified as hard water.

If your home is supplied hard water, you’ll need a system to soften it. A water softening system essentially removes those excessive minerals, leaving soft water behind. A water softening system is composed of many components that harmoniously work together to remove excessive minerals, while at the same time adding some salts to restore the balance of ions in the water to be used at home.

How does a water softener work?

The principle operation of a water softener is known as ion exchange. Simply put, the softening of water involves the replacement of extra magnesium and calcium ions with sodium ions, resulting to the softening of water. To have an understanding of the water softening arrangement, let’s first get familiar with its different components.

Mineral Tank: Most of the action takes place in this tank. When entering this tank, magnesium and calcium ions in water, carrying a positive charge, get attracted by beads having a negative charge.

Brine Solution: The mineral tank on its inside has another layer, known as the brine tank, which holds a brine solution having a concentration of potassium or sodium ions. In exchange of calcium and magnesium ions, the softer provides these ions to water for maintaining an ionic balance.

Control Valve: To regulate the flow and pressure of water entering or leaving the tank, a control valve is included in the system. After the completion of the process of ion exchange, excessive minerals are kept behind, whereas soft water gets discharged through the pipes.

The process of water softener regeneration

Water softeners can be considered as filters or devices that are incorporated in water pipes of a plumbing system. Since the replacement of ions inside the tank necessitates the presence of salts plus minerals, we need to regularly regenerate the water softener to maintain the concentration of brine solution. Moreover, the tanks need to be cleaned without interrupting the delivery of soft water. Generally, the process of regeneration is automatic after you have setup the time limit. Most often, the maintenance of water softeners is carried through at night because it is convenient to temporarily stop delivering soft water. At the end of each service, the system resets for proper functioning once again.