Frequently found in homes throughout southern Utah, water softeners are one of those modern day appliances that we often don’t give much thought to. 

Sure, they require some maintenance, and every so often you’ve got to add some salt. The rest of the time, though, they’re simply present in the background, adding convenience and comfort to our daily lives. Do you know how a water softener works, though? Keep reading to learn more about what is actually happening inside your water softener.

A Brief Chemistry Lesson

The reason we have something to “soften” our water, is because the water is “hard”. What does this mean? Well, water hardness simply refers to the amount of mineral deposits present in the water. Dissolved calcium and magnesium are the two main minerals present in hard water. While some minerals in the water can be beneficial for health, too much can lead to mineral deposits in pipes and on glass. The minerals in hard water can also react with things like soap to create filmy residues on glass, clothing, even skin and hair. This makes everyday cleaning products like laundry detergent and shampoo far less effective. The hardness of water can be measured by how many milligrams of calcium carbonate per liter are present in water. For nearly all of the state of Utah, the levels are between 181 to 250 milligrams of calcium carbonate per liter, which is considered very hard.

The Process of Softening Water

Taking hard water and converting it to soft water involves a little more chemistry magic. Most water softeners are placed near the source of water entering a home, so that all the water for drinking and indoor use can be softened, while leaving irrigation water alone. When water enters the softener, it passes through resin beads, which work to absorb the mineral content. Here is where the chemistry kicks in: the resin beads have a negative electric charge, so that hard water particles (which have a positive electric charge) are immediately drawn to the beads, and attach to them. The newly softened water leaves the softener and flows into your home’s water sources, leaving the mineral particles attached to the resin beads in the softener tank.


To maintain negatively charged resin beads, the water softener must regenerate to clear the mineral ions. To regenerate, the water softener uses a solution of sodium and water to rinse the resin beads, detaching the mineral deposits and flushing them away in excess brine water. The process of regeneration is the reason for adding salt to your water softener, and the frequency will depend on factors like how hard your water is, the size of your water softener’s salt tank, and how often regeneration cycles occur.

Other Methods

The process of softening water described above is the most typical, but there are other ways to soften or condition water, such as using potassium chloride instead of sodium, electronic signals that work to change the bonding properties of minerals, and reverse osmosis. Some systems use a combination of these methods for optimal results.

Choose Stubbs Soft Water

We are Southern Utah’s experts in water softeners. Our team will work with you to find the best water softening solution for your home, and we won’t be satisfied until you are. Contact us today to get started.

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