How Do Water Softeners Work?

If you have hard water in your home, you are probably wondering what solutions exist to correct it. Hard water is never any fun. It can result in stains and in buildup in piping as well as odd tasting and odiferous water. Using a water softener system, this can be corrected.

Water comes from the earth and makes its way in underground rivers and waterways before it is capture by water treatment plants and treated for human consumption. Along the way, this water will pass over countless minerals found in the earth. While many of these minerals won’t affect the taste of the water, some can affect the taste as well as the smell, and others can cause damage to the plumbing systems in homes and in businesses. Two minerals are of prime concern here: calcium and manganese. These two minerals can cause that undesirable white water staining on dishes, and the crusty buildup on sink heads as well as damage and buildup inside of the piping and impacted water taste.

Water softeners are designed to help soften water by removing the core elements of these two offending minerals. A water softener generally consists of a tank that all water enters into before it is distributed into your piping system. The water tank contains a special bed of beads called polystyrene beads that are negatively charged. Since both calcium and manganese carry positive charges, when they are forced through these beads that are negatively charged, the ions swap.

In a nutshell, the positively charged sodium clings to the water that passes through as negatively charged calcium and manganese cling to the beads. The result is pure water without any hard water minerals attached. Every few days, once the beads require cleaning, the unit will enter into a self-cleaning cycle and will use a special solution to flush out the calcium and manganese.