How Does a Water Softener Work?

"How does a water softener work?" is a common question.  Hard water is water that has a high mineral content, typically calcium or magnesium. When it enters your home from your water source, it can leave deposits or “scale” on plumbing fixtures, appliances and other everyday objects. It can clog pipes and reduce the efficiency of appliances. It affects your everyday life –from cooking to cleaning to doing laundry.

A water softener has a resin tank containing thousands of tiny resin beads that hold electrically charged ions. When freshly regenerated, the beads become full of sodium ions from the water softener salt. As hard water passes through the water softener system, the calcium and magnesium ions are attracted to the resin beads. There, sodium ions are exchanged for the hard water ions. The softener system then delivers soft water for your use.

Tip: For best performance, the water softener should be checked monthly and the salt level should be kept at least half full.

Selecting the right salt:

The right salt can make the difference between a water softener that works smoothly and is easy to maintain, and one that’s a hassle. There are 3 factors to consider:

Form: Pellets are normally recommended, although salt is also available in crystal and block form. Diamond Crystal® products are available in all three forms. Consult your owner’s manual for the recommended form.

Purity: Higher purity salts leave less storage tank residue, resulting in less maintenance. High quality salts also help to eliminate bridging – a situation where salt sticks together to form a bridge that prevents the salt from contacting the water. Diamond Crystal® pellets also contain an additive to help your softener last longer and be more efficient.

Specialty Salts: Different geographic areas have different water sources and mineral content. Diamond Crystal® products address specific problems such as iron concentration, rust stains and sodium content.