How a Water Softener System Works

May 04, 2023

Tired of dealing with buildup on your dishes, dry skin, and clogged plumbing? If so, it may be time to invest in a water softener. Many Utah homes have hard water, which can reduce water heater efficiency, lower the effectiveness of appliances, raise energy bills, and more.

A water softener is one of the best ways to combat these annoyances—and fortunately, they’re affordable and easy to install.

Check out our guide to learn how a water softener system works and how you know if your current water softener is working correctly.

What Is a Water Softener?

A water softener is a water filtration system that removes minerals like calcium and magnesium from water before it enters a home’s plumbing system. This turns otherwise “hard water” into “soft water,” resolving many problems homeowners face―such as dingy-looking dishes, water heater problems, clogged pipes, and dry hair and skin.

How a Water Softener System Works

Now that you know the basics of a water softener, let’s cover how a water softener works. All water softeners use ion exchange to remove calcium and magnesium from water when it enters the system. Ion exchange works by forcing the water to flow through plastic resin beads negatively charged with sodium ion.

Because opposite charges attract one another, the positively charged minerals then attach to the resin beads, and the rest of the water passes through, leaving the calcium and magnesium behind.

Parts of a Water Softener System

Water softeners are typically made of three main parts, including a control valve, brine tank, and mineral tank. These three key pieces work together to remove minerals from hard water. Here’s how it works:

1. Mineral Tank

The mineral tank is where hard water turns into soft water. First, a water supply line sends the hard water into the tank. Then the water flows through the column of resin beads, which extracts the minerals and leaves soft water to flow into household plumbing.

2. Control Valve

The control valve houses a meter, which measures the water flowing through the mineral tank and into a household. Once a certain amount of water passes through the mineral tank, the control valve automatically regenerates the resin beads, so they continue to work at maximum efficiency.

3. Brine Tank

A brine tank sits next to the mineral tank and houses concentrated salt or potassium, which is used to restore the resin beads when they require regeneration.

Benefits of a Water Softener

Investing in a water softener offers immediate and obvious benefits to the members of any household. Here are just a few ways a water softener can change everyday living for the better:

  • Reduced buildup on dishes and other belongings
  • Improved water pressure
  • Softer, moisturized skin
  • Shinier, healthier hair
  • Longer life of appliances
  • Improved efficiency for water heating
  • Easier cleaning of fixtures, appliances, clothes, etc.
  • More eco-friendly
  • Less plumbing maintenance
  • Cleaner sinks, showers, etc.

Drawbacks of a Water Softener

While soft water is extremely efficient and convenient when operating appliances, showering, and bathing, it does have one trade-off. Hard water is better for drinking, since it possesses minerals that are important to heart health.

Considering this, many homeowners choose to have a separate line of hard water for drinking, and then use a water softener for the rest of the house. This offers the best of both worlds: clean dishes, shiny hair, smooth skin, and efficient appliances, in addition to the health benefits of drinking hard water.

Install a Water Softener Today

We’ve explained how a water softener system works—and now you may be ready to install one in your own home. For additional information on water softener installation, call our team at 844-216-9300 and speak with a technician today.

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Last Updated: May 25, 2023