Many homeowners are happy with the results of their water softening systems, but a large number of homeowners don’t really understand what the appliance is and how it works. Unfortunately, this lack of familiarity with the softeners can lead to neglect and sometimes damage. The more you know about your own water softener, the better prepared you’ll be to arrange for the appropriate type of maintenance.
First, you should understand what the softener does. As hard water flows through the softener’s tank, its mineral contents are transformed. Essentially, calcium, magnesium metal, sulfates, and bicarbonates are present in hard water. The exact ratio of those minerals to water depends on where you live. The softener provides a mechanical and chemical system for eliminating those minerals.
The second thing to consider is: How does it work? Hard water enters the water softener and flows through layers of plastic beads and materials that have been soaked in sodium ions; sodium is a naturally-occurring element. The calcium, magnesium, and other minerals are replaced by the sodium and the water can then be called “soft water.”
Residential water softening systems are often installed as part of the home’s plumbing system. When this happens, all of the water in the house is “softened,” or in other words, has been treated to remove the minerals.
Third, you should understand that there are different types of residential softeners: the electric single tank softener and the hydraulic twin tank softener. The first tends to be fairly expensive and has a few drawbacks. For example, when the tank runs out, the supply of soft water will stop. This type of softener also requires high pressure and when the motors to produce that amount of pressure switch on at night, some homeowners are disturbed by the noise. The second type of softener is the hydraulic twin tank which ensures a consistent supply of treated water, the tanks running alternately.
As a homeowner, your responsibility is to consistently refill the containers with salt and to schedule maintenance once or twice a year, depending on how heavily the water softener is used.