Why do I need a water softener and how does it work?

If your water has a hardness of 3.5+ gpg, you need a water softener. Hard water is the result of calcium, magnesium and other minerals dissolved in the water. Hardness can leave deposits on dishes and clothing, scale in water heaters and soap in sinks and bathtubs. Clothes can look gray/unclean, and hair and skin can become dry.

Water Tender softening systems consist of a resin tank and a brine tank. The resin tank is full of tiny cation resin beads. As water flows through the tank and past the beads, the sodium ions found in the resin swap places with the calcium and magnesium ions found in the hard water. After a while and depending on the level of hardness of your water, all of the sodium in the beads is replaced with calcium and magnesium and the unit can no longer soften the water. This is why you load up your brine tank with salt. The water softener "regenerates" the hardness removing capability of the resin beads by soaking them in a salty solution drawn from the brine tank. After regenerating, the water softener flushes the remaining brine, which now includes calcium and magnesium, down the drain.