How Does a Water Softener Work?

The Dynamics of Water Softeners

Charlotte Water Softeners“Hard” water is a term that describes water that has a large amount of dissolved minerals, such as calcium and magnesium. Hard water creates mineral build-up, which increases water and detergent usage, and can also clog pipes. A water softener is a filter that uses plastic beads to remove calcium and magnesium from hard water. The water softener cleans itself by a ‘regeneration’ process. It consists of three parts, namely, the mineral tank, a brine tank, and a control valve.

The water is softened in the mineral tank, where the calcium and magnesium are filtered through beads that are usually made of plastic. The calcium and magnesium have a positive electric charge. The two minerals are removed from the water as they are attracted to, and deposited on, the negatively charged plastic beads.

The brine tank is made of plastic and contains water that is saturated with salt. Some of the salt may enter the drinking water, and create problems for those on a low sodium diet. Septic systems may also be adversely affected by the sodium brine. Instead of salt, it is thought that using potassium is a superior alternative. Potassium does not adversely affect one’s health, septic systems, or watersheds, and it is also environmentally friendly.

The control valve determines when it is time to clean the beads. Older models use a timer, the newer ones use a meter that is controlled by a computer, and determines when it is time to clean the tank based on water usage. The cleaning process (regeneration) is comprised of three cycles.

The backwash cycle has a valve that reverses the flow of tank water, flushes out tank debris, and eliminates it through the drain. Next, the mineral tank is filled with the brine solution during a recharge cycle. The solution attracts and forces the calcium and magnesium off of the plastic beads. The minerals and salt water are flushed from the tank, and sent down the drain. Lastly, water fills and rinses the tank. The process is repeated when the plastic beads become coated again.

Are you looking for a reliable Charlotte plumber to install a water softener system in your home? Call City Plumbing at (704) 544-1909 and get started today!

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