What is the function of a water softener?
A water softener is a device that purifies water by removing hardness + minerals through ion exchange and adding sodium and potassium. A water softener usually has a mineral tank with resin bottles and a salt tank with salt. They can be combined into one tank or split into two units. The user can choose whether to soften the entire water source or only the heated portion.
The resin balls are responsible for the ionization process that removes lime and solids from the lime. The water enters the softener tank and comes into moderate contact with the balls, which remove unwanted components and soften the water.
Loads of the resin pellets and the incoming water are opposite and this difference attracts the particles that soften the hardened water and the device traps them inside the resin pellets and releases the soft water. When the resin beads are filled with suspended particles, the softener automatically enters a regeneration cycle, which involves adding water and using a mixture of saltwater and brine to remove the hardened particles from the resin beads.
This requires a regeneration process and seawater. High-quality water softeners contain resin beads that last as long as the softener itself. If these are in good condition, they do not need to be replaced. However, the salt should be renewed regularly and experts recommend using clean, commercially available resin beads.
What does regeneration mean? Can a water softener damage the treatment system?
During water softener operation, hardness particles accumulate in the resin layer of the water softener. When the accumulation reaches a certain amount, the water softener automatically starts to mix the salt in the tank with a few liters of incoming water in order to remove the particles from the resin layer. The tank can then be cleaned and the water softening process can be repeated.
Regeneration usually takes from a few minutes to 30 minutes or more and can be heard from a great distance. Some believe that regeneration can cause damage to pipes and septic tanks, but under normal circumstances, it has no effect on the operation, service life or soil infiltration in the sewer system. In other words, softeners do not pose a threat to septic tanks.
Many water softeners come with a 10-foot hose for drainage after regeneration; if a drainage distance greater than 10 feet is required, proper drainage must be added. However, the drain should not be more than 30 feet from the water cooler. The amount of water used for regeneration varies considerably from model to model, but most average models use approximately 50 gallons of water per regeneration cycle.
Regeneration usually takes place in the middle of the night when the water is not being used but can be set to regenerate at any time. If water is used during regeneration, it is drawn directly from the well, which can be a problem for some households. This is solved by using a double tank, as the system is equipped with a reserve tank. While one tank supplies water, the other is regenerated and vice versa. This ensures a continuous supply of soft water even if one needs it early in the morning.
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