HOW SOFTENERS WORK
A Water Softener is an ion exchanger.
Hard waterwater with high calcium/magnesium contententers the softener through the “In” port. It passes through the control valve and into the tank, where it goes from top to bottom through a specially prepared resin that softens it.
The resin consists of specially manufactured beads that have been saturated with sodium ions. “Softening” occurs as the hardness minerals in the water attach themselves to the resin and are “exchanged” for sodium.
The softened water then enters the long center tube, called a riser, via the strainer basket in the bottom of the tank and passes upward through the riser. The water exits the softener via the control valve and is sent home.
When hardness minerals saturate the resin, the softener automatically goes into regeneration. (A timer or a meter, depending on the type of unit purchased initiates the regeneration process.) By this process the hardness minerals are washed down the drain and the resin bed is rinsed, resettled, and recharged with sodium. It is now ready to soften water.
The regeneration process is accomplished by passing very salty water from the brine tank through the resin.
The brine tank must remain filled with salt at all times so that it can regenerate the softening resin again and again.