The water softener resin is an integral, non-expendable part of a water softener.
In fact, it is the central factor that is crucial to the softening of what was once hard water so that it can be used by the household.
To summarize, the resin is responsible for removing the calcium and magnesium ions from the hard water. It also does the job of swapping sodium ions into the water that is now saturated of its calcium and magnesium ions.
The resin acts like a pseudo-filter that prevents the magnesium and calcium ions from remaining in the hard water that flows into the mineral tank.
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As an owner of a water softener, you probably understand now that there are three phases in a water softening process. These are the backwash, recharge and rinsing process. This section will elaborate on the resin's role in each of these three phases.
In the first phase, the resin is at the beginning soaked with sodium ions. Since it is a cycle, the first phase is always the end of the last phase hence the soaking of the resin with sodium ions is done during the rinsing phase of the last cycle. More on that later, though.
First, hard water is diverted from the water line and into the mineral tank. As the water passes through the water softener resin, the sodium ions in it are removed and are mixed with the hydrogen ions in the water.
The ions are then replaced with the calcium and magnesium ions that stick into the surface of the resin. Technically, the resin saturates the water of its magnesium and calcium ions in this phase.
The recharge phase involves the transfer of the brine solution in the brine tank, and into the mineral tank. In a reverse of its previous role, the resin now acts to trap sodium ions from the solution, as it gets rid of the trapped calcium and magnesium ions.
This new batch of sodium ions will be used in the next regeneration cycle and will be swapped for a new batch of magnesium and calcium ions when the new water passes through the resin.
In the rinsing phase, part of the fresh water is transferred to the brine tank. This water serves two purposes: first it rinses the brine tank, and second it is mixed with salt in order to come up with fresh, sodium-rich brine.
There are two types of resin that are in use with
most water softener models today. These are the standard hi-cap resin,
and the fine mesh resin.
The hi-cap resin is the one that is employed in most models of water softeners. Chances are, you could check the manuals for water softener and you'd find that it uses a hi-cap resin.
The fine mesh resin is more effective in trapping certain minerals than the hi-cap resin. It is capable of trapping metals such as iron. It is ideal for use in houses that take their water supply from private wells, instead of the water distributed by the municipal water system.
However, not many models use this type. To convert a water softener that uses the hi-cap resin into a fine-mesh resin softener takes quite an effort to do so.
Like all things in this world, nothing lasts forever. This includes resin. Typically, softener resin can last about twenty to twenty-five years before it needs to be replaced.
Follow these five quick and easy steps to find out what's wrong with your softener system.
Does a Water Softener Work?
Learn how the softener removes dissolved impurities that harden your city water supply.
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