Working of a water softener explained

Water softener, as we all know, is a unit that is used to treat hard water and remove the minerals that impart hardness to water. But majority of people are unaware of the procedure behind the softening of hard water and this is what this particular article will be about. In this article, we will cover the basic ion-exchange method for treating hard water and the steps involved in the same.


So what is water softening?

Water contains significant amount of calcium and magnesium minerals in it, such water is called hard water. Hard water causes problems like clogging pipes, producing less-to-no lather with soaps and detergents and more. And the technique used to remove calcium and magnesium ions from the water is called water softening. The hardness imparting minerals are removed from the water and the water thus obtained is soft water.
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How does a water softener work?

Water softener generally uses some specific softening salts that are able to able to exchange the existing calcium and magnesium ions in the water with other ions, mostly sodium or potassium ions. This ion-exchange takes place within the resin tank of a water softener. The resin tank contains resin beads which are covered with salt ions, mostly sodium and potassium salts are used for this purpose. Now when hard water flows through the tank and comes in contact with the resin beads, the hardness ions calcium (Ca2+) and magnesium (Mg2+) sticks to the resin beads. This releases the sodium (Na+) or potassium (K+) ions into the water in order to maintain the balance of positive charge on the resin. Thus hardness ions are replaced by other ions and hard water is treated. Sometimes the same softening of water technique is used to remove iron from the water, and the process remains the same for it as well.

Now this whole process goes on until the resin beads are exhausted of all the sodium or potassium ions and are left only with the hardness ions. When this happens, the resin beads are recharged by adding bags of softening salts to the brine tank. Again a similar but reverse process takes place, wherein, hardness ions now exchange places with softening salt ions in the brine tank and all the excess minerals are rinsed away as wastewater. Considering this, you will definitely look for the best-rated water softener for your office/home. Fleck 5600SXT is one of the best rated and our recommended product as well. Fleck 5600SXT has been reviewed and rated on this page.

There are three types of softening salts generally used, rock salt, solar salt and evaporated salt. But these salts are discussed in the different article specific about softening salts and their use. So stay tuned to know more on this.