How Does a Water Softener Work?

Softened Water from WaterTree is the luxury that pays you back.

Over 89% of homes in the United States have hard water, so it’s likely that your home already has a water softener or could benefit from one. If you have questions about water softeners, we have answers.

A water softener removes the excess amounts of calcium and magnesium in your home’s water. These minerals in hard water can cause buildup on your water-using appliances, fixtures and even your dishes and laundry. By softening your water, you’ll extend the life of your appliances, remove soap scum and scale buildup, have stain-free fixtures, spot-free dishes and softer clothing.

A water softener consists of two tanks; the first tank is the resin tank, which holds resin beads covered in sodium particles. A water softener works by moving hard water over the resin. The calcium and magnesium replace the sodium particles by clinging to the resin beads, so the leftover soft water is able to continue on to your home’s faucets and appliances.

The second tank is the brine tank. This is the tank to which you add salt. Eventually, the resin in the softener tank will collect so much calcium and magnesium that it is no longer able to soften water. The water softener will need to regenerate, meaning the resin will be rinsed with a salt solution from the brine tank. After this, your water softener will be ready to remove minerals from your hard water once again.

Salt for a water softener is like gasoline for a car. Not only must a softener have salt, but it should be the right kind of salt for your unit to ensure the softener can properly regenerate. Ask your dealer which type of salt is right for your water softener and be sure to buy the best clean salt available for your system. Block salt should not be used, as it does not dissolve quickly enough for effective regeneration. Always have a supply of water softener salt on hand and check your brine tank every couple of weeks to determine how much salt you use. The more water your home uses, the more salt you’ll need.

Choosing the right water softener for your home depends on how much water your home will use. A local water expert can test your home’s water to determine its level of hardness. This, plus the number of people living in your home, will help determine which water softener will work best for your family.

If you’re wondering whether your home needs a water softening system or which water softener is right for your family, contact your local Hellenbrand dealer for more information or for a free in-home water analysis.