Why Do Water Softeners Need Salt?

Why Water Softeners Need Salt

A water softener is a must-have if you are living in a hard water area and if you don't have one you can buy one here.

This is because, even though hard water is good for consumption, it has several disadvantages especially if you are using it for purposes other than drinking. Hard water has several disadvantages. 

For instance, it speeds up the wearing process of hot water tanks and water heaters by leaving mineral deposits on such appliances.

It is also responsible for the damage that happens on water pipes. If you are using hard water to do your laundry, you will realise that you need more soap than usual.

The Role of Salt in Water Softeners

We need to understand the chemical process behind the water softening process to appreciate the role that salt plays in it. A water softener is made up of two chambers namely:

  • The Resin Tank
  • The Brine Tank

Ion Exchange Process

The resin tank is where the chemical reaction of the water softening process occurs while the brine tank is where the water softener salt is found. The chemical reaction in this process is referred to as ion exchange, and it occurs when the minerals in the water attach to the resin beads in the resin chamber thus resulting in the softening of the hard water. The ion exchange process comes to an end when all the resin beads in the resin chamber have been attached to the minerals from the hard water. It is after the ion exchange process that the water softener salt becomes necessary.

The Regeneration Process

The salt in the water softening process works in the regeneration process. This process takes place when the salt from the brine chamber is pumped into the resin chamber. This happens to wash away the hard ions that attached to the resin beads during the ion exchange process.

Salt contains sodium ions which are responsible for the chemical process that results in the transfer of ions from the hard water to soften it. Once all the sodium ions have been used up in the resin chamber, more salt is pumped in from the brine chamber to serve more sodium ions. This is a continuous process that ensures the water softener remains effective in removing the minerals responsible for water hardness.

In summation, the water softening process involves the ion exchange and regeneration processes. Salt is needed to keep the process going by supplying more sodium ions.

About the Author Harry Thompson

Gaining a BSc Honours in building/ property maintenance at the University of Portsmouth Harry went into the field of renovating properties. Along the journey, he has developed a wide variety of home & garden DIY skills such as installing new kitchens and landscaping gardens.