How Does A Water Softener Work?
If you are considering the installation of a water softener, one of the main things that you may be asking yourself is how does a water softener work?
At the most basic level of a water softener is an Ion exchange system. The mineral tank in a water softener has beads that are negatively charged, the calcium and magnesium that can be found in the water is positively charged. The solutions with these heavy materials are flushed into the secondary tank which filters them out of the water and replaces the calcium and magnesium ions with salt leaving softer water.
An Overview of A Water Softener Process
The hard water will enter the softener from your plumbing hookup.
The tiny beads in the first resin bed will attract hard water minerals and flush them out of the water.
The soft water will then enter your home from the secondary tank.
A water softener works in three main phases including the first phase as the backwash phase, the second phase as the exchange phase and then the regeneration process which is the third phase.
How Regeneration Works
When the resin beads become completely full of hard water minerals, it’s time to initiate the regeneration phase. During regeneration, brine is pumped back through the resin tank. The brine solution from hard materials is flushed from the tank into the drain and the softening process can begin again without all of the hard materials in the softener tanks. Regeneration of many modern water softeners can occur automatically through a control valve. When the valve recognizes that enough water has flown through the device, this will initiate the regeneration phase to ensure that the system can remain efficient.
After A Water Softener Is Installed
Any water softener does require maintenance. The good news about a traditional water softener is that the device is still relatively simple. By understanding how your water softener works and by making sure that you can perform routine maintenance, you can often extend the overall lifespan of the device.
Here are some top tips on maintenance after your water softener is installed:
Preventing Salt Bridges
Bridges can occur when a crust forms in the brine tank and creates empty space between the salt and water. This will prevent the salt from dissolving in the water and making the appropriate brine for soft water. Testing for a salt bridge means quickly taking a stick or broom handle and carefully pushing along the top of the salt. Breaking up this bridge will often make sure that you can keep the brine tank working again. When salt is dissolved and recrystallize this can often form a sludge in the brine tank as well. Draining the softener of its water and replacing the software with fresh salt can be an easy way to fix this issue.
Choosing The Right Salt
Water softeners often have a few types of salt that can be used. Solar, evaporated and rock salt are popular choices. Making sure that you’re using the right salt as outlined by your manufacturer can be important. Some of the best options for salt are evaporated salt for your softener.
Cleaning The Resin Bed
Even though resin beds are continuously regenerated and recharged, reducing the chance that your resin could be ineffective means regularly cleaning out your water softener. A water softener cleaner from your manufacturer can be a great way to keep your softener running at maximum efficiency.
Cleaning up the valves and nozzles can make sure that there is less suction needed to move the brine out throughout the regeneration cycle. The venture Valve can regularly get plugged up with sand and sediment over time. Unscrewing your valve cover and regularly cleaning this item can make sure the system runs efficiently.
If you would like to learn more about installing a water softener and maintenance on your water softener, contact us today.