Does your water have an unpleasant smell or taste? Do you notice soap scum on your appliances or stains in your showers and sinks? If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, you might be dealing with a hard water problem. Rather than live with water issues, there’s a simple solution: a water softener.

What is a Water Softener?

A water softener is a filtration system that removes high concentrations of hardness-causing calcium and magnesium minerals from your water using an ion exchange process. When the water flows through a water softener, the system filters out the hard water minerals, and the softened water flows through the plumbing system.

Why Do I Need a Water Softener?

Hard water can wreak havoc in your home, causing scale buildup which will eventually clog pipes and decrease water pressure. Scale buildup can shorten the lifespans of appliances in your home, like your dishwasher, washing machine and coffee makers. Long story short, hard water can leave lasting, adverse effects on every surface it runs on, over or through.

How Does a Water Softener Work?

Water softeners work through an ion exchange process, which is constructed to eradicate magnesium and calcium from your water. Upon entering the mineral tank, the hard water flows through a group of resin beads. These beads are charged with sodium ions with a negative charge. Since magnesium and calcium have a positive charge, they’re drawn to one another. The beads grab onto the mineral ions, thus eliminating them from your water – this allows a steady flow of soft water.

Is a Water Softener Complicated?

A water softener is made up of only three components: a control valve, a mineral tank, and a brine tank. Each of these components works together to eliminate the minerals from the water, monitor the flow of water, and regularly clean the system using a regeneration process.

  1. Mineral Tank: This is where hard water is softened. The water supply line feeds the hard water into the tank, where it seeps through the resin beads, depositing the calcium and magnesium ions. When the water exits the tank, it will be soft.
  2. Control Valve: This is designed to calculate the amount of water that passes through the mineral tank and into your home.
  3.       Brine Tank: This is a short tank that sits next to the mineral tank. The brine tank holds a highly concentrated solution of salt or sometimes potassium to restore the resin beads’ positive charge. The salt is manually added in the form of blocks or pellets, which will dissolve at the bottom of the tank. If the brine tank runs out of salt, the water passing through the unit will not be softened.

If you suspect hard water in your home, you should have your water tested as soon as possible. Shiloh Water Systems can test your water for free and answer any questions about installing a water softener. Contact us today at 503-845-5225 or fill out the Free Water Test form