Water softeners are one of the first things people think of when they hear water conditioning. Hard water refers to water containing calcium carbonate and other minerals that are deposited as water is heated or dries on surfaces. Water softeners work on the principle of ion exchange, meaning that the hard water mineral are exchanged by a material called cation resin for a salt, typically either sodium chloride or potassium chloride. Does that make the water salty, in a word, no. For every 17.1 milligrams of hardness minerals, only 7.8 milligrams of sodium or potassium are added to the water. To put that in perspective, a popular brand of potato sandwich roll has about as much sodium in one roll as a quart softened water that was 22 grains hard, which is comparable to some of the hardest municipal water in our area.
We assemble our own water softeners from components from the leading manufacturers in our industry. The softeners we are installing today are the evolution of the softeners that we installed 50 years ago. We use Autotrol valves, Structural Fibers tanks, Pentair brine tanks and Lewatit Resin, while these names may not mean a lot to the average consumer, these names are all well-known to those of us in the water treatment industry.