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By now, many homeowners understand what a water softener is. But what’s a water refiner? This is a system that works above and beyond a water softener. A water softener’s main task is to remove minerals like calcium and magnesium from the water and replace them with sodium ions. This keeps scale from being laid down in plumbing pipes. But a water refiner system not only removes the minerals that create hard water, but contaminants like chlorine, iron and sediment. It also removes foul tastes and odors from water.

Water softeners work by washing the hard water that comes into a household through a tank full of resin beads and brine. This is where the magnesium and calcium are exchanged for sodium. A water refining system uses ion exchange filters to remove other contaminants and toxins from the water. This system works much the same way as a water softening system but it exchanges hydrogen ions for any kind of cations and hydroxyl ions for anions that are in the water. In this way, a lot more chemicals are removed from the water besides magnesium and calcium. It’s an all-purpose, clean water system.

Anions, by the way, are ions that are negatively charged, while cations are ions that are positively charged.

A homeowner who wants fresh, pure water that is not just soft but free of other contaminants should speak to a plumbing contractor who can take the needs of the household into consideration and recommend the best type of water refiner for the home.