How Does a Water Softener Work?

by Celestial Solar | Jul 9, 2024

Are your clothes, skin, and hair feeling less vibrant? Is your water tasting a bit metallic, or are you seeing low water pressure during showers and dishwashing? These could be signs that the water-softening component of your water filtration system needs attention.

Hard water is loaded with minerals like calcium and magnesium, which, while naturally occurring, can cause inconveniences and even damage your plumbing over time. A well-functioning water softener is key to preventing these issues by removing these minerals from your water, enhancing its quality and usability.

In this blog, we’ll explore:

  • How a water softener works
  • Types of water softeners
  • Benefits of a water softener

Enjoy cleaner, healthier water with an upgraded water system.

Celestial Solar & Water Systems’ factory-trained technicians can diagnose the trouble with your water filtration system and install a high-quality whole-home water softener to remove minerals and harmful particles that can affect your pipes and your health. Since 2001, our team has supplied consumers in Las Vegas and Southern California with the customer service and impeccable repairs they deserve.

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How a Water Softener Works

What does a water softener do besides soften water? And what is “soft water” anyway? The core job of a water softener is to remove the minerals that can build up and create hardened deposits.

There are several ways a water softener can get the job done, but the most common method is as follows:

  • Water is forced through a filter filled with tiny resin beads. These beads hold a negative electric charge that attracts minerals with a positive charge, such as magnesium and calcium.
  • The resin beads collect hard water minerals, releasing softer sodium ions in exchange.
  • Newly conditioned water exits the water softener to be held in your water tank or to flow directly into your home’s plumbing.

Water softeners that use sodium and ion exchange to soften water require periods of downtime called the regeneration phase. This phase, which typically lasts about two hours, is when the resin beads are cleansed of hard water minerals to improve efficacy.

Types of Water Softeners

There are several types of water softeners available on the market today. Understanding the pros and cons of each system will help you determine which setup best suits your needs.

  • Ion Exchange Water Softeners: This classic water softener system uses ion exchange — swapping out hard minerals for sodium ions — to soften water. Basic maintenance requires adding bags of salt nuggets to the water softener unit regularly. This system is popular but may not suit consumers with low-sodium diets.
  • Dual-Tank Water Softeners: Dual-tank systems work just like regular ion exchange water softeners but offer two resin filters and tanks, so one can work while the other goes through its regeneration cycle. This ensures there is always soft water available for you to use.
  • Salt-Free Water Softeners: These units follow the same general process outlined above with potassium-chloride salt substitute used in place of sodium. Instead of removing hard minerals, salt-free water softeners just prevent mineral deposits from building up. This option is better for people who can’t handle extra sodium in their drinking water, but they’re more expensive to operate.

Benefits of a Water Softener

It’s easy to take your hard-working water softener for granted until you realize all the many advantages of softer water, including:

  • Increased household appliance efficiency: Hard water can leave deposits inside your plumbing and appliances, which means you need more water pressure to achieve the same results. Remove hard minerals, and machines run more efficiently — which also helps lower energy costs.
  • Better skin and hair: Hard minerals can be hard on your body, stripping away your natural oils and leaving skin and hair itchy and tight. Softened water increases soap lather, leading to a better, gentler clean and skin and hair that’s supple and more manageable.
  • Lower maintenance and repair costs: Over time, the minerals in hard water build up and can cause premature wear and tear. Using a water softener may prolong the lifespan of your washing machine, dishwasher, ice maker, refrigerator, coffee machine, and water heater, saving you big bucks.

Trust Celestial Solar & Water Systems for American-Made Filtration Excellence

When it’s time to upgrade your water filtration system, turn to the professionals at Celestial Solar & Water Systems. We’re proud to use products made right here in the United States, ensuring we support our communities through quality appliances installed with great care and precision. It’s the value you want and the results you need so you can enjoy your home all year long.

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