Water Softener Parts
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What is a softener made up of?
Water softeners are not complex machines, and they all have the same basic components which can be bought individually if they need replacing.
The most important of all water softener parts is the mineral tank. This is where the softening process takes place. Hard water contains positively charged calcium and magnesium ions picked up as the water moved through rocks in the environment. The mineral tank contains a negatively charged resin bed and as the water passes through the mineral tank, the calcium and magnesium are drawn out of the water and held on the resin bed. Soft water then flows out of the tank and into the house.
The other major part of a water softener is the brine tank. The brine tank contains a salt solution, topped up regularly by the owner. Once a large amount of water has been softened, the brine tank is triggered to flush out the mineral tank with sodium water. As sodium is highly concentrated, it knocks the calcium and magnesium ions off the resin bed, leaving it free to continue picking up particles. This brine water is then released down the drainage pipe together with the calcium and magnesium ions.
The brain behind the operation is the meter, timer and valve assembly which sits on the top of the mineral tank. The former two are responsible for monitoring the ion level and initiating the recycling phase; the latter regulates the flow of water at each phase of the regeneration.
Although water softener parts from different systems can be interchanged, the best place to begin is with the manufacturer of your particular model. If you need to replace a water softener part, ensure you know the particular make and model number. Most companies have a breakdown service which will cover the system for a year or so, and a maintenance service which covers the system for around ten years. After that, you will be responsible for purchasing and paying to have the new part fitted, which could run to hundreds of dollars depending on what you are replacing.