How a Water Softener Works
How Water Softeners Work
The best way to learn about how water softeners work is to book one of our demonstrations, you’ll be able to see softened water in action from your own tap.
In brief, water softeners are designed to remove calcium and magnesium (the cause of scale and scum) from hard water. They are intended to treat the whole house, so are installed where the water supply enters the premises.
Water softening happens through a process called ion exchange, which uses an ion exchange resin. The resin comprises of tiny polymeric beads which are specially formulated so that they can be charged with certain ions. Calcium and magnesium, the causes of scale and scum from hard water, are referred to as ions, and as water passes through the resin, the calcium and magnesium ions swap places with the sodium ions on the resin. Sodium salts, unlike calcium and magnesium, are highly soluble so sodium does not cause scale or scum. When all the sodium ions have been exchanged for calcium or magnesium, the resin must be regenerated by recharging it with sodium ions. This is done by flushing the resin with salt solution (brine).
Our softeners have tanks to hold the resin which the water supply moves through in order to soften it. When required, salt is dissolved for the regenerating brine and one cylinder is regenerated while the other continues to serve softened water. This duplex parallel system is unique to Harvey water softeners. It makes regeneration even more efficient in terms of water usage since softened water is more ideal for the regeneration process (it does not contain calcium and magnesium ions that regeneration removes). There are various ways in which softeners determine when to regenerate - some are fitted with a timer and some regenerate after a pre-set volume of water has been treated.
Our softeners are effective in:
- Preventing scale in the hot water system and around taps
- Removing existing scale
- Reducing boiler fuel cost and heating system maintenance costs
- Preventing soap scum, which is evident around the bath and sink
- Improving the texture of laundry by preventing detergent scum deposits within the fibres of clothes, bedding, etc.
- Reducing soap and detergent costs.