Hard water is one of the most common water issues facing Sarasota, FL homeowners. Water softeners remove the minerals that cause hard water. Without treatment, your hard water will leave behind soap scum in your bathroom and kitchen, destroy your water appliances, and dry out your skin and hair.
With so many people having to use hard water to clean, cook, and bathe, a water softener is vital. By removing minerals that cause scaly buildup, these devices eliminate the risk of having to prematurely replace faucet heads and water heaters that the hard water buildup can ruin, and they save you hours of cleaning what hard water leaves behind.
What Water Softeners Do
A water softener is simply a whole-house filtration system that is used to remove the minerals that create hard water. It does this by removing calcium and magnesium from the water via ion exchange.
Hard water is the modern home’s enemy. The scale that it creates can build up inside the pipes where it decreases the water pressure and can actually clog them. It can even reduce the lifespan of your ice machine, dishwasher, and coffee maker. The higher the temperature of the water rises, the more the minerals harden. This is why hard water is especially rough on water heaters.
Without the use of a water softener, your dishes will come out of the dishwasher with streaks and stains. Your laundry will be dingy, and you’ll notice soap scum on the shower curtains. Shampoo and soap won’t lather as easily. A water softener is well worth it just to save you from dealing with all of these issues.
How a Water Softener Works
Hard water enters the water softener’s mineral tank. There, it flows through a bed of resin beads made of polystyrene. They’re charged with sodium ions, which create a negative charge. Minerals such as calcium and magnesium have a positive charge, which attracts them to the negative charge of the resin beads.
As the hard water goes through the tank, the resin beads grab the minerals. As they catch the minerals, they release sodium ions. The resin takes the hardness, or calcium and magnesium ions, from the water, allowing the water that flows into your home to be soft. The mineral tank, where the softener removes the calcium and magnesium, is maybe the most important component of a water softener.
The Major Components of a Water Softener
In addition to the mineral tank, the water softener has a control valve that measures how much water goes through the tank and into the house. Over time, the process of softening water depletes the ability of the resin beads to be effective. Before the beads are too overwhelmed with minerals to keep working, the control valve will automatically start a regeneration cycle.
The control valve includes an onboard computer that can be pre-programmed so that it knows when to do this. The size of your home, how many people live in it, and the natural hardness of your water determines this programming. By signaling for the regeneration cycle, the control valve allows the water softener to be efficient.
The brine tank aids in the regeneration process. It’s a smaller tank located next to the mineral tank. It holds a highly concentrated salt solution. This solution will restore the positive charge of the resin beads. Salt, in the form of blocks or pellets, is manually added to the brine tank. The slat dissolves in the water at the bottom of the brine tank.
When the control valve signals that the resin’s softening capacity is diminishing, the salt solution comes from the brine tank to recharge the resin beads. If your brine tank runs out of salt, the water softener can no longer soften the water.
Your Water Softener Experts
Here at Next Level Plumbing, we offer a highly customer-focused approach to our services. In many instances, we are able to offer same-day service for all of your plumbing, drain cleaning, and water heater needs. Our team specializes in repairs, installations, and preventative maintenance for faucets, toilets, water filtration, and water and sewer lines. Call Next Level Plumbing now to learn more about our water softener and plumbing services.