How Water Softeners Work?

Water softeners are undoubtedly one of the most significant home appliances. They are engineered to soften hard water by removing the natural water-borne minerals like magnesium and calcium. They replace these minerals with sodium ion that helps to soften the water. Hard water is harmful for skin, clothes and all appliances that work with water and water softener is a savior here. The post below offers a brief on the working principle of these appliances.

Ion exchange

A water softener is plumbed into water supply line of a building, say your home. It comes with a sturdy mineral tank that contains little polystyrene beads that are called zeolite or resin. Such beads tend to carry negative charge. It also carries a brine tank where brine solution is made with common salt.

Magnesium & calcium present in hard water hold positive charges. So, when you install a water softener and hard water is passed through it, these minerals cling to polystyrene beads of the softener device. On the other hand, sodium ions feature positive charges but the intensity is lesser than magnesium & calcium. As the beads get saturated with magnesium & calcium, a powerful brine solution gets passed through the mineral tank. The presence of sodium ions in the solution then work to remove the magnesium & calcium ions from the beads so that you can get soft water.

3-phase regeneration cycle

After the polystyrene beads get saturated with magnesium & calcium, the appliance triggers a three-phase regeneration cycle. The best water softener systems come with automatic regeneration facility. These three phases are:

  • First is the backwash phase where water flow is reverted to flush out dirt of tank.
  • Next, sodium-rich concentrated solution is taken to mineral tank. Sodium replaces magnesium & calcium on beads and they are sent down your drain.
  • Finally, mineral tank gets flushed off excessive brine which is followed by refilling of brine tank.