Water Softener FAQs

Q. What do water softeners do?
A. A water softener has a tank that holds resin. The resin in the tank removes the lime and calcium from hard water through an ion exchange process.

Q. What is an ion exchange process?
A. A water softener functions on the basis of ion exchange. This means that the resin in the water softener tank has the opposite electrical charge of the hard water particles. Since the hard water particles and the resin in the tank have different electrical charges, the hard water particles will be attracted to the resin in the tank. Once the water passes through the tank, the hard particles in the water will be left behind. This makes the water soft. The resin in the tank can only absorb a limited amount of hard particles from the water, so the resin has to be regenerated periodically.

Q. Does a water softener make water safe for drinking?
A. No. Water softeners do not remove bacteria from water. If there is bacteria in the water, the water must be treated prior to the installation of a water softener. In the event of questions about the safety of your drinking water, contact the local water authority for water analysis.

Q. How often do I need to change the resin in the water softener tank?
A. Most water softeners last about 20 years. The resin in the tank usually does not need to be replaced during that time frame, although there are a variety of factors that affect the rate at which the resin degrades.

Q. How do No Salt water softeners work?
A. In some cases, a No Salt water softener simply uses potassium chloride, which is a salt substitute, instead of salt (sodium chloride). This really does not offer an advantage over a regular water softener, since potassium chloride tends to cost more than salt. There is a new form of technology used in water softeners that is known as template assisted crystallization (TAC).TAC converts the calcium ions that are present in the water to crystals.The crystals cannot bind to surfaces or cause scaling.The crystals are then flushed out of the softener with the water.

Q. How often will I need to add salt to the water softener?
A. On average, homeowners need to add salt to the water softener tank about once every eight weeks. Your particular salt needs will vary based on how much water you use and how often the tank needs to regenerate. The quantity of salt that you use will vary based upon the quality and quantity of the water, but the average is around 60 pounds per month.

Q. Why am I seeing iron stains when I have a water softener?
A. It could be that your system has run out of salt or that the water softener tank isn’t large enough to handle the quantity of iron in the water. The system may not be regenerating as often as necessary or using enough salt.

Q. Will a water softener get rid of the bad odor from my water?
A. The scent of rotten eggs that some homeowners notice in their water is caused by hydrogen sulfide, and it will not be eliminated by using a water softener alone. However, using a water softener together with an activated carbon filter will get rid of that egg odor.

If you have hard water, call Scott English Plumbing. We will help you to select the water softener that is best for your needs and install it at a reasonable cost. Contact Scott English Plumbing to schedule service today.