What Is a Water Softener?

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What Is a Water Softener?

A Water softener is a machine that removes minerals from the water supply. It prevents mineral deposits that cause clogged pipes, damage to water-based appliances, chalky film on dishwasher cleaned glasses and dry skin and hair.

Most residential softeners use ion exchange resin. Brine solution is used to clean the resin beads and replace hard minerals with sodium ions.


Many different types of water softeners are on the market, all with their own unique filtration methods and substances. Magnetic systems start at $200 and offer the most affordable option, while ion exchange systems cost $500 to $2,000. These models also require regular salt refills which can add another $300 or more to the overall expense.

Before selecting a particular model, homeowners should have their water tested to determine its hardness level and other quality issues. This information will help the professional select a water softener that has the capacity to handle a home’s daily water usage needs. The best way to calculate a household’s daily water usage is to multiply the number of people in a home by the average amount Water softener of water used per person each day. This will provide a rough estimate of how many gallons of water the softener should be capable of treating each day.

This information will also be helpful in determining a water softener system’s grain capacity, which is typically measured in grains per gallon (gpg). A higher GPG rating indicates that the water is more hard than lower GPG ratings. Depending on the GPG rating, it may be necessary to select a larger or smaller softener for a particular home.


Using a water softener eliminates the need for chemical deliming and cleaning products while also protecting appliances from damage and extending their life. A water test can help determine how prevalent the hardness minerals are in your home’s water supply, which will determine how often your softener should regenerate and at what time of day or night.

The most important factors to consider when evaluating your water softener’s efficiency are salt and water use. A water test will provide a solid data base to optimize your softener’s settings and features, but the real efficiencies are achieved through a well-engineered system design and efficient regeneration cycles.

A water softener’s efficiency is determined by how much sodium is used for ion exchange with the calcium and magnesium hardness minerals in its resin. When the resin’s exchange capacity is depleted, it must be regenerated with an 8% to 15% brine solution. This brine flushes the resin with a strong solution of sodium chloride, replacing the calcium and magnesium hardness sites with sodium and restoring the resin to its full capacity.

Having the ability to regenerate only when needed reduces the salt and waste water consumed. This can be accomplished through a demand-initiated control system such as a meter or with advanced technology upflow brining which uses significantly less salt, water and energy.


A water softener is an essential piece of equipment in many households. It helps reduce harsh chemicals in your home’s water that damage appliances and cause hard water scale. However, it requires routine maintenance to continue working effectively. Regular maintenance includes checking the brine tank and ensuring that it is filled. You should also clean the resin beads periodically to prevent clogs and ensure that they are working properly. Using the right type of salt can also help keep the tank clean and extend its lifespan. Generally, it is best to use evaporated salt pellets or cubes rather than rock salt, as rock salt has more impurities that can affect the water quality.

A common sign that it’s time to refill your brine tank is when the level reaches half of the tank. It’s also important to note that if you add too much salt at one time, it can overflow into your household water, which can have negative health effects.

The other component of a water softener that needs routine maintenance is its regeneration system. Once all the resin beads have absorbed enough calcium and magnesium, they must be recharged with sodium. This process, which usually occurs in the middle of the night while everyone is asleep, takes place by sending salt water from the brine tank to the mineral tanks. The high levels of sodium in the salt water force the calcium and magnesium off the resin and replace them with sodium.


Water softeners are safe to use and operate as long as they are Stainless steel water purifiers properly installed and regularly maintained. If your plumbing contains hard water deposits, a water softener will save you money by lengthening the lifespan of appliances and plumbing lines.

A water softener works by removing hard minerals, including magnesium and calcium. These minerals can build up in pipes and decrease the effectiveness of soaps and detergents. Using a water test kit, you can determine the level of hardness in your home’s water. If the results show that your water is over 14 gallons per square inch, you should consider getting a water softener for your house.

Most water softeners have a bypass built into the inlet and outlet to allow you to provide maintenance to the equipment without interrupting your household supply of freshwater. Ensure that you have this valve available before installing your water softener and that you know how to use it in the event that you need to perform maintenance.

Often, problems with water softeners can be avoided by using the right type of salt and performing regular maintenance. For example, if your brine tank develops a mushy salt sludge, you should scoop out the sludge and clean the container before adding more salt. You should also use a brine solution containing sodium ions to recharge the resin in the water softener.

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