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How Does a Water Softener Work?

When hooked up to your existing well water system, water softeners remove minerals like calcium and magnesium by "replacing" those ions with different ions - in this case, sodium.

The water softener contains a mineral tank that is filled with beads that have a negative charge. Calcium and magnesium have positive charges, so these minerals will be attracted to the beads as the water passes through the mineral tank.

Sodium ions are also positively charged, but much more weakly than calcium or magnesium. Water softeners have a separate saltwater tank that is flushed through the mineral tank, driving the calcium and magnesium ions off of the beads. The water then goes through a regeneration cycle to flush dirt, the saltwater solution, and the calcium and magnesium out of the water that is then delivered to your home.

Additional Resources:

  1. How It Works: Water Softeners

  2. Popular Mechanics: Water Softeners

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Erica Bales