How Do Water Softeners Work?

How Do Water Softeners Work?

Many people have a water softener or are considering getting one, but most people don’t know how a softener actually softens water. This video summarizes how a softener works. Read on to learn about how you could benefit from having one in your home.

People have water softeners because water can sometimes contain calcium and magnesium. This is called hard water. 85% of the people in North America live in areas where the water is hard. This water leaves mineral buildup or residue on plates, cups, and also plumbing fixtures like showerheads. A water softener filters out these minerals, leaving your water soft and your dishes and faucets clean.

First, all water is passed through the water softener among honeycomb-like beads. These beads are called media and act like magnets picking up metal paperclips. The water meter in the valve tracks the filtering capacity of the media. When the media are too full to filter any more water, the water softener has to regenerate to clear out the filtered material. This usually happens in the middle of the night when the least amount of water is used in the home.

To regenerate, the water softener first backwashes the media with water to clear away the debris collected inside. Then, a salt and water solution, called brine, is filtered through the media to clear away the collected calcium and magnesium. This solution is washed down the drain and the media are then able to filter more water. To get rid of the salty taste left from the brine, the media are backwashed with water once more and the brine tank is refilled for the next use.

As technology has improved over the last 15 years, most people can’t even tell the difference between the taste of soft water and hard water. Having a water softener will save your dishes, bathtubs, sinks, and plumbing fixtures from hard water stains and mineral buildup. Your home will not only look cleaner, but your faucets will last longer as well.

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