Is a salt-free softener effective, and how does it work? People use salt to soften the water, but the water may end up having a slimy feeling of salt. Also, people are now becoming concerned because those that have high blood pressure or hypertension may not want that extra salt added to the water they drink and shower in. Another concern is the discarded salt water can have an impact on the environment as it collects in the soil.
How Does A Salt Free Water Softener Work?
Perhaps you too have been thinking about installing a water softener. Maybe you already have one. When it comes down to it, hard water goes in one end and out flows soft water through your faucet, and maybe that’s all you need to know. But, for all the curious minds out there, here’s a behind the scenes (and under the sink) look at just how your water softener works its magic.
From the city supply to your faucet, a lot of work is done. Water softeners remove hard rock and iron through a process called ion exchange. First, to understand ion exchange, we’ll need to have a short vocabulary lesson:
Let’s start with your municipal water supply. 85% of Americans live in hard water areas. If you’re one of those many, and don’t have a water softener, the water you drink, cook, shower and do laundry with is laden with dissolved rock ions and iron. This high mineral content can have unsightly and damaging effects on everything from your pipes to your hair. All of these extras in your water are perfectly legal (so the city doesn’t have to remove them from the water), but that doesn’t mean you don’t have other options.
Water softeners, using electrostatic sensitive plastic beads called resin, effectively remove the dissolved rock ions from your water. After that you’re left with water free of these minerals, AKA soft water. So, how does it work? As your water passes through the filters of the softener, it encounters the resin bed. Tiny beads of resin, armed with sodium ions (from the salt you add to your softener) target any unwanted ions in your water. When dissolved rock ions come into contact with a resin bead, the rock ion is trapped and the sodium ion is released. The sodium ion is exchanged for the dissolved rock ion. (See, ion exchange!) When all the resin have captured to their capacity, they are regenerated with more salt. The new salt takes the place of the rock ions, which are released and rinsed away down the drain.
So, How does a salt free water softener work? Thanks to the resin bed in the softener, those unwanted minerals are only two exchanges away from being washed away from your home and water. We hope you enjoyed your all-access pass to world of water softening!