How Water Softeners Work – Plumbing Tips

Posted by in Plumber Talk, on May 13, 2017


This video explains how a water softener works. Including their components – Valves, brine chamber and salt top up, resin chamber and beads.

We explain the regeneration process and the installation of a water softener.

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Welcome to this video. On today’s video I’m gonna give a bit of information about water softeners. How they work, why they work and also why they are probably the best way to get rid of hard water in your area and beat all those inline scale reducers and electric wires that run around and pipes, because their all useless. The only thing that’s ever gonna do it is a water softener. So what we’ve got here is a little outdoor water softener, that’s in its own insulated case. Just look at the small components first of a water softener and we’ll go back to the office to see a little bit of a drawing of how they actually work. Here is the main crank valve. This here is the discharge outlet. So when it regenerates and it needs to discharge water that’s regenerated, it comes out of here and goes off to the drain.Now here, are utility isolating valves. Your flame return. Here, is your hot water in. And there’s your soft water out. And in here we have the brine chamber. This is where you put your salt to create brine to wash out the resin chamber, during regeneration.
Let’s think about the other alternatives there are to water softeners first and find out really why they don’t work very well. First you have those magnetic scale reducers that have the wire that wraps around, around, around, around, around the pipe. You often see them on the inlets or combi boiler. Now they don’t work very well because they don’t get rid of flush out of calcium and magnesium, which is what is in hard water. All they do is break it down so it tries to flow out of whatever outlets you’re using like your taps or your washing machine, stuff like that. And still gives you dry skin after a shower. And it doesn’t really help your washing. And also still does get stuck in components. That’s the same small tube of the ones you have that have got the springs wrapped and wrapped and wrapped around inside. So create like a kinda of filter effect. Right, so let’s have a look at why a water softener is the best way to remove sodium and calcium ions from the water.
So we have our cold water and our hot water in. Now in a water softener we have our resin chamber which has got loads of small beads that have sodium ions on them. Now the water, the hard water, passes in through all these beads. Now what happens here, the process that happens is the calcium and magnesium ions swap places with the sodium ions. Now the water leaves and goes off to your taps as soft and that would just be sodium ions in there, okay? Now after a while, these beads will get clogged up with magnesium and calcium ions and that’s when it needs to regenerate. Now a water softener knows when it needs to regenerate because it has a small computer on it. It’ll analyse when your using water and therefore do it like two in the morning, when you’re all asleep. Or you can actually set a time to do it and that will usually be roughly the same time if you know what you’re doing. When this needs to regenerate and all these small beads are filled up with calcium and magnesium ions, we have a separate chamber full of salt. Now this is the brine chamber. What happens here is brine flushed through the resin chamber and cleans all that out and then it’s flushed out to a drain. And that means then, the resin chamber is regenerated. And that’s basically what that valve, that crank valve does at the top, is at a certain time when it’s required,
it will move around, allow water out the brine chamber to regenerate this, then force it out through the drain, and then go back to its previous standing working procedure which is hard water in, go in through your resin chamber, and then going out as soft.
So a water softener removes the magnesium and calcium ions and flushes them away where as any other product, that isn’t a water softener, doesn’t do that. That’s why they’re so much better. Now there’s a few problems that you can sometimes have. There’s sometimes the valve assembly doesn’t work. All this is controlled by a large crank valve.
You need to have one that’s controlled, all the different parts of the valve are opened up by a disc that’s on a small motor that moves around slowly and opens and closes different parts of the valve at certain times. They’re really, really simple things. The way they work really, is by timing this valve to allow water to be directed to the different components of the water softener.

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