How does a water softener work?
Hard Water, water rich in calcium and magnesium, enters the water softener component commonly referred to as the valve. The hard water water is directed downward through the softening media known as ion exchange resin.
As the hard water passes through the resin, the hardness swapped from the water in exchange for sodium ions. After passing through the resin media, the now soft water travels up the distributor and out of the water softener.
Once the water softener has reached its capacity and cannot remove any more hardness it cleans itself, known as the regeneration cycle. In a nutshell, the softener pulls a saltwater solution called brine from the brine tank. This salt solution is passed through the resin, slowly allowing the resin to release the hardness ions and replace them with sodium ions. The salt water is then rinsed out of the softener and placed back into its service position where it continue to provide soft water. At no time is the water used throughout the household passed through the brine tank, which is a common misconception.