Hard water can wreak havoc on your homes. It can ruin your pipes and drains, destroy appliances and leave calcium deposits all over the bathroom floor and fixtures.
With more than half of the US households relying on hard water for essential activities, water softeners serve an instrumental purpose. They get rid of the calcium and magnesium in the water, which leaves deposits, making the water suitable for washing, cooking and bathing.
But have you ever wondered how the inhouse water filtration systems works? In this blog, we’ll look at the inner mechanism of water softeners.
The process of ion-exchange
Water softeners work by reducing the mineral content of hard water. The process through which calcium and magnesium are eliminated from hard water is known as ion-exchange.
The upper portion of the mineral tank is covered with a layer of resin beads. These are usually made of polystyrene, an element charged with sodium ions. Ion exchange works with a simple mechanism: the positively charged hardness-causing elements (calcium and magnesium) get attracted to the negatively charged sodium ions present on the plastic beads.
As hard water passes through the layer of resin beads, its mineral deposits get attached to the sheet, leaving the softened water to flow out of the tank.
The components of a water softener
A water softener has three main components: a mineral tank, a control valve and a brine tank. Here’s how these parts work together to soften hard water:
Hard water enters the water tank through the supply line and seeps through the layer of resin beads. After being softened, the water leaves the tank through outer pipes and reaches different fixtures and appliances at your home.
The control valve of a water softener measures the inflow of hard water and outflow of softened water from the mineral tank. It’s also equipped with demand-initiated controllers that automatically start a regeneration cycle once the efficiency of resin beads starts depleting.
The brine tank is filled with negatively charged salt ions and is placed next to the mineral tank. The salts from the brine tank travel to the mineral tank during the regeneration phase when the sodium ions on resin beads require an additional charge to continue performing effectively.
For a water softener to run correctly, the brine tank must always be full of salt. If it runs out of salt, the water passing through the tank may not be softened.
An inhouse water softener filtration system is a cost-effective and energy-efficient way of converting hard water into softened water. At Johnson Plumbing, we offer installation and repair of all kinds of water softeners at affordable rates.