A water softener is a piece of water treatment equipment that removes hardness minerals from the water using an ion exchange process in which the hard water minerals, normally calcium and magnesium, are exchanged with a sodium (salt) or potassium mineral.
The main water softener component will have a control valve attached to a mineral tank. The salt is stored in the second tank called the brine tank. The mineral tank will be enclosed and will be under pressure; this is where the exchange media (tiny beads) is contained. Some water softeners come as one unit (mineral tank inside of brine tank, or as 2 separate units.
The brine tank should always have salt in order for a water softener to be able to continuously soften the water. We recommend our residential customers check their salt monthly, or weekly if you have high hardness and high usage. If you are using a lot of salt, we suggest a service call to see if you might have a bigger issue.
We always recommend a professional quote, by a reputable company.
Water Conditioners are not Water Softeners
Salt-less Water Conditioners, Electronic Anti-Scale Units, Magnets, any of the equipment that falls under this category is NOT a water softener. These units are designed to perform scale control, not to soften. Read our blog going into detail about scale control, what scale does and types of Water Conditioners.