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  • James McMurphy

Water Softener Systems: How They Work and Why Your Home Needs One

Updated: May 19, 2020

So you have seen water softeners before and know that they make your water soft, but do you REALLY know what goes on inside of them? Below, I mention just a few knowledgeable tips on what a Water Softener is, the process of how it functions, and how it can be beneficial for your home. Check it out!

What is a water softener system?

A water softener is an in-home mechanical appliance that is plumbed into your home’s water supply system. These systems are used to soften your water in your home and overall remove those hard minerals from your home's water. This makes it easier to clean your home and your laundry while prolonging the life of appliances that use water.

How do they work?

There is a lot of difference in the quality of water depending on where you live. When water contains a significant amount of calcium and magnesium as well as iron and sodium, it is called hard water. Those dissolved minerals can cause a rough buildup on everything from dishes to pipes, to even your own body.

All water softeners have the same operating principle: They trade the mineral for something else, which is called ion exchange. Ion exchange is used to remove those minerals and replace them with sodium ions. Water softeners use something called media, and in our case, we call that resin beads. Each resin bead is negatively charged while all minerals in your water, (such as magnesium, calcium, iron, and sodium) are all positively charged. This media, in our words the resin beads, is used to remove the minerals by holding on to the positive ions when the hard water passes through the system. (I know, science is cool!)

All water softeners come with a component that is connected to the water softener itself called a storage tank (also known as a salt tank or brine tank). This is where the homeowner adds water softener salt. When salt is added, the salt and water make a solution, also called a brine solution, to soften your home's water.

How they continue to work:

Each one of our systems is equipped with something called a regeneration mode. This process is how a water softener cleans itself so it can continue to provide your home with clean water day in and day out.

During regeneration, the water softener will take the brine solution into the storage tank and the ion exchange process happens again, only this time in reverse; the backwash stage. Next is the re-charge stage. This is where the media gets washed by the salt solution, and the hard minerals that are caught in the resin are released and the media gets replenished with sodium ions.

After that is done, the tank is flushed of excess brine, rinsed and then the brine tank begins refilling. (It is important to know, that when it is in the regeneration process, soft water is not available. Most people schedule a recharge in the late night/early morning hours when no water is being used)

Why you need a softener:

Depending on where you live and the quality of water than you have, water softeners are a vital part of ensuring that the water in your home is sanitary to drink and safe for everyday use. A modern home is dependent on soft water. If your home is equipped with high-efficiency appliances, they are not designed to run with hard water build up. This might be a reason why you feel like you just bought a new washing machine a year ago, but due to harsh hard water, it is already time for a new one.

If you are experiencing any soap scum build up along your showers or in your sinks, or are having trouble getting a sudsy lather in the shower, then you might be experiencing hard water and is a reason why YOU need a water softener.

What you can do next:

Here at Advanced Water Solutions, our customers and their satisfaction is our #1 priority. With servicemen who are trained, skilled and knowledgeable about all things water softeners, we offer a free in-home water analysis to guarantee that YOU are getting the perfect equipment for your home.

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