How Does a Water Softener Work?

28 November 2019

Difference between water conditioner and softener

For many of our customers, it’s enough just to enjoy the benefits of their water softener, and not worry too much about the science. No problem: our expert team can take care of the installation of your new water softener, while you sit back and experience more efficient heating, reduced bills, longer-lasting appliances, smoother skin and better-tasting cups of tea.

But for others, it’s natural to wonder what’s actually going on inside that unit, and the process by which it turns your water from the hard, appliance-killing liquid that enters your home supply to the soft, pipe-clearing one that comes out of your taps. This blog is for anyone who’s ever wondered – how does a water softener work?

The job of a water softener

When water falls as rain, it’s naturally ‘soft’ – meaning that it contains no minerals. Unfortunately, in many areas of the UK, it doesn’t stay that way for long. As the water passes over rocks like limestone, it absorbs minerals like calcium, iron and magnesium, and it’s this destructive ‘hard’ water that enters your home supply. The job of a water softener is straightforward: to change that water from hard to soft. The clever part is how it achieves that.

How your water is softened

There are many brands of water softener – and here at Cotswold Water Softeners, we work with all the best ones – but they all work on the same basic principle of ‘opposites attract’. Inside your water softener, there are two cylinders full of millions of microscopic resin beads, each one holding a negative charge. Unwanted minerals like magnesium and calcium have a positive charge, so the beads seek them out and cling on, holding them inside the softener while the softened water moves onward to your taps.

Skip maintenance with a self-cleaning water softener

Your water softener can’t do its job effectively if the resin beads are encased in minerals and the cylinders are full of calcium and magnesium. Without you doing a thing, a meter on your water softener lets the machine know when it needs to ‘regenerate’: a cleaning process that sees a brine solution flooded through the cylinders to keep them functional, with the build-up removed from the beads using sodium, and the unwanted minerals left behind from the softening process simply flushed down the drain. As such, when you choose a good-quality water softener and have it professionally installed, it should give you many years of hassle-free service.

Since 1998, Cotswold Water Softeners has helped countless families in the region to more efficient appliances, lower utility bills and better-tasting drinking water. Get in touch today and let us find the right water softener for your house.