Understanding The Water Softener Regeneration

Three Phases Of The Regeneration Cycle

Water softener regeneration is the process which the softener system removes the existence of calcium and magnesium as well as other minerals and dirt from the water.

To understand the water softener's regeneration process, you first have to find out what are the different parts and how they work.

The water softener consists of three physical parts: the resin beads, the brine tank, and the mineral tank. Of course, there are also the pipes which connect these parts to the main unit.

The resin beads act as a filter, on which the calcium and magnesium ions stick to when the untreated water passes through it.

The mineral tank is where the filtered water passes to, and is then stored for further softening.

The brine tank is where the sodium-rich solution is stored. This solution is used to replace the calcium and magnesium ions with sodium ions.

The Three Phases of the Water Softener Regeneration Cycle

The regeneration process of a water softener involves three phases: the backwash, recharge and rinsing phase. Each of these phases performs a specific task for softening the water.

In the backwash phase, the dirt inside the mineral tank, which translates as residue from the previous regeneration process, is flushed out through the drain and outside the water softener.

The recharge phase involves placing sodium ions into the saturated hard water. Finally, the rinsing phase involves making the brine tank ready for the next cycle or production of soft water.

Backwash Phase

First the water enters the mineral tank from the main line. This untreated water is still hard, which means it still has calcium and magnesium ions in its constitution. Normally, this water would just flow into your faucets and showers but, with the presence of a water softener, it is diverted into the mineral tank. However, it passes through the resin beads first.

The resin beads cause the calcium and magnesium ions to stick to its surface as the water passes through to the mineral tank. In their place, the calcium and magnesium ions are replaced by the sodium ions found in the resin beads.

In this part of the water softener regeneration process, the water is rid of its calcium and magnesium ions and is instead infused with sodium ions. In essence, the water in the mineral tank is already softened.

When the mineral tank becomes full, the first part of backwash phase stops and the second phase begins. The water softener then reverses the water flow so that dirt is sucked into the drain and flushed out.

Recharge Phase

It is at this point that the recharge phase of the water softener regeneration cycle begins. The softener then transfers part of the brine solution into the mineral tank. This solution is made up of sodium chloride, or salt which is rich in sodium ions.

As this solution transfers into the mineral tank it passes through the resin beads again. The sodium ions then replace the calcium and magnesium ions found in the resin beads.

That is why this phase is called recharging. By definition, the water softener recharges the resin beads so that they have enough sodium to replace calcium and magnesium in the next cycle.

Rinsing Phase

Rinsing, the last phase of the water regeneration process, is fairly simple. The softened water is then transferred out of the mineral tank in order to make way for the next batch of water to be softened.

As fresh, hard water is transferred to the tank, part of it is used to rinse the brine tank and mix with salt in order to replenish the brine supply in the tank for the next cycle.

Related Articles on All Water Purification

Water Softener Supplies
Salt and Resin, and where to buy them.

Water Softener Troubleshooting
Find out what's wrong using these five easy do-it-yourself steps.

All Water Purification home page
Your journey to better water quality begins here.


Return from Water Softener Regeneration to the
Comparison menu