Plumbing  Information

How does a water softener work?

A water softener uses an ion exchange column.
Inside the column is a cross linked plastic resin in the form of beads.
The beads contain sodium ions. When hard water flows through
the column, the hard water ions (calcium and magnesium ions)
get stuck to the plastic beads and are replaced by soft water sodium ions.

In time, all the sodium ions get used up and the column needs to have new
sodium ions put in to it. This is done by adding salt to a container of salty water.
Salty water is flushed through the column and this introduces new sodium ions.
The water softener needs to be connected through a waste pipe to a drain
to allow the salty water to flow away after passing through the column.
It is more expensive to install than a scale inhibitor (see below).

Is it safe?
Yes it is safe. Water softeners have been used safely for many years.

Will it affect my health?
The amount of salt in the water is very small compared to the amount
which is often eaten in food. However, the increase in sodium ions in the water
may not be suitable for people who are on a low sodium (low salt) diet.
When a water softener is installed, it is considered good practice to allow
unsoftened water to be available at the cold water tap of the kitchen sink.

Is it better than a scale inhibitor?
There are advantages in having an electrolytic scale inhibitor.
For more information about how a scale inhibitor works, please click here.

Does it work for stored water in a tank or cistern?
Yes. The removal of hard water ions from the water is permanent.
The water softener will be effective for water which is stored before use.

Does it require maintenance?
Yes. It needs salt to be added periodically (see above).
Salt can be purchased in 25Kg bags.

How long will it last?
If the water softener is well maintained, it will last for many years.
Please contact a manufacturer for details of their guarantee.

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