What is the purpose of the salt and why does the water feel “smoother” when softened?
Water softeners are special machines that help to make hard water softer. Hard water has a lot of minerals in it, like calcium and magnesium, which can make it difficult for soap to suds up and can also leave spots on dishes and glasses.
A water softener works by using little beads called “ion exchange resin” to filter out the minerals in the hard water. The water softener has a tank that is filled with these beads and when the hard water flows through the tank, the minerals in the water stick to the beads instead of staying in the water.
After the minerals are stuck to the beads, the water becomes softer and doesn’t have as many minerals in it. The water softener also has a special salt solution that helps to clean the beads and get them ready to filter more minerals out of the water.
Water softeners are really helpful because they can make it easier to do things like wash dishes and clothes, and can even make your hair and skin feel softer and smoother.
There’s a second unit to the water softener besides where the salt goes. This contains the actual filtration system. However every now and then the filtration system needs to be cleansed, and a salt water bath is just the ticket. All the filtered crap gets flushed out and just goes down the drain with the excess salt.
Water softeners work by removing minerals that cause the water to be hard, such as calcium and magnesium, from the water supply. When hard water is used for things like washing clothes or dishes, it can leave behind deposits that can be difficult to remove and can cause problems such as soap scum and spots on dishes.
Water softeners use a process called ion exchange to remove the minerals that make the water hard. The softener has a tank filled with small plastic beads called “ion exchange resin.” These beads have a negative charge, and the minerals in the hard water, such as calcium and magnesium, have a positive charge.
When the hard water passes through the tank of beads, the minerals are attracted to the beads and stick to them. The beads now have a positive charge, so the softener introduces a salt solution (usually made of sodium chloride) into the tank. The salt has sodium ions, which have a negative charge. These sodium ions are attracted to the beads and replace the calcium and magnesium ions, which are then washed away down the drain.
The water that comes out of the softener is now free of the minerals that made it hard and is considered “soft.” It should feel smoother to the touch because it is no longer leaving behind the deposits of calcium and magnesium that can make the water feel rough or slippery.