In an effort to save money wherever they can, many people are taking the DIY approach to fixing their water softeners. If you’d like to attempt this yourself, you should first inform yourself about the three most important water softener parts and how they function together to improve the quality of your water. With this information, you’ll be better able to determine whether you should take on the task of fixing your water softener or whether you should leave it to a licensed professional.
The first, and perhaps most straightforward water softener part is the control valve (although this will be different on most portable water softeners). This is the point through which water enters the water softener and makes its way toward the resin bed. The control valve is also generally the point where you first go before performing any maintenance on the softener unit. This is the place where you can turn off a water softener so that is not attempting to operate while you’re servicing it.
The second and most important part of the water softener is the resin bed. This is the part that contains lots of charged sodium ions that make up the coding on hundreds of tiny beads that sit in the resin bed. When unsoftened water comes in through the control valve and enters the resin bed, the charged sodium ions are attracted to the water which itself releases calcium and magnesium ions back into the resin bed. These calcium and magnesium ions are the prime offenders behind hard water, causing lime scale buildup on your dishes and laundry and clogs in your plumbing.
The last main part of the water softener is the brine tank. The brine tank contains salt water which acts as a regenerative supply of sodium ions that are backwashed through the resin bed when it has run out of sodium. This process is generally performed automatically, although some softeners may very well require the user to manually start the backwash procedure.
So there you have it, the three main parts of the water softener: the water goes into the control valve, passes through the resin bed where it is eventually softened, and then moves out to the various points of use in your house. The brine tank holds sodium ions in the form of salt water which is occasionally backwashed through the resin bed when it has been exhausted. With this bit of basic information under your belt, you should be better able to determine whether you’re going to be up to the task of maintaining your water softener or whether it would be better left to an experienced friend or licensed professional.