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How It Works: Salt-Based Water Softener Systems

Salt-based water softener systems are really popular, and as seen on there are quite some good quality salt-based water softener systems that you can actually buy. However, have you ever wondered how the salt-based water softener systems work?

Well, if you have ever thought of that and wants an answer, then today here is all that you need to know about the working of salt-based water softener systems.

How it Works: Salt-based water softener systems



Salt-based water softener systems work on the principle of ion exchange. Hard water contains high levels of ions of elements like Magnesium and Calcium which is responsible for the hardness of water. So, the more these “hard elements” are present in the water, the harder the water is.

By using a salt-based water softener system, what we try to do is to replace the hard minerals present in the hard water with softer minerals like Sodium or Potassium. In a salt-based water softener system, there will be a resin layer that is present in the system. When the hard water passes through this resin, the soft minerals take up the place of hard minerals, and the deposit of hard minerals are left within the resin.

So as more water gets softened, the soft mineral content in the resin gets decreased and replaced with hard minerals. Which means, if you are having a salt-based water softener system, you will have to frequently recharge the resin layer with more soft minerals to keep the process of water softening going on.

To do this, special salt beads have to be added to the water softener tank which will help replenish the level of soft minerals in the resin. Once the salt beads are added to the softener tank, the hardness causing minerals that are present in the resin will be again replaced with the softer salt minerals and the removed hard minerals can be cleaned out of the system by draining some water from the tank.

Two techniques are commonly used to regenerate the resin using the salt beads that are added to the softener tank. The first technique is called Demand Initiated Regeneration technique of DIR wherein the softener system automatically calculates and monitors the usage of water and regenerates the resin when the system feel is required. The second technique is Timer-based Regeneration where you can manually schedule when the resin needs to be regenerated depending on your preference.

As DIR is done automatically and only regenerates the resin when it is required, it means that the regeneration of resin is properly managed in times of increased or decreased use. However, in the case of Timer-based Regeneration, the regeneration will occur periodically irrespective of the water usage scenario and will also regenerate the resin even when there is no use of water at all (say, on vacation).

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