Perhaps you are curious about how water softener systems work. Mineral-laden hard water is put in, but soft, clear water without aftertaste comes out – more about the author!
Water softeners are useful for preventing clogged water heaters and scale from pipes, appliances and dishes, as well as reducing the possibility of spotted dishes. It is no surprise that water softeners are so popular. These devices make managing the enormous amount of water we consume every day much easier.
Ion exchange is a process that removes minerals from hard water. It produces water that is cleaner and less tasteless. Calcium, iron and sulfur are some of the minerals that could cause problems in your water.
The water softener has many small plastic beads or a matrix known as zeolite. These are covered with sodium ions. When water flows through the beads and zeolite, unwanted minerals exchange places with the sodium. This causes more sodium to be in the water, but it also removes other minerals. The beads and zeolite eventually become depleted of sodium ions and must be regenerated.
Water softeners are only as good as their ability to regenerate. This involves soaking the beads with zeolite in a sodium solution. A common solution is to use common household salt. To regenerate the softener, a strong brine can be used. Once the beads or the zeolite have been restored, the residual brine and minerals can be flushed off. When it recharges, a single water softener can generate a lot of brine.