How a water softener works

How a water softener works

Soft water is naturally free from hard minerals because it falls on rock.  Hard water occurs because water has passed through  limestone or chalk and picked up minerals that cause problems like lime-scale. The more minerals in the water the harder the water.

Areas of Eastern England suffer from extremely hard water, but vast areas of England also suffer from the abrasive nature of hard water, as indicated by the blue area on the map.

hard water areas in England

Softening water

Tapworks softeners remove the calcium and magnesium, the hardness minerals that cause troublesome lime-scale.

Hard water enters a Tapworks softener and passes through a bed of tiny resin beads which are charged with sodium ions. The hardness minerals are exchanged with harmless sodium ions, in a process called ion exchange.

Once the beads are covered with calcium and magnesium, a brine solution is used to wash them away and reintroduce sodium ions – this is called regeneration.

The Tapworks water softener is automatic, it will monitor water use and decide when best to carry out the regeneration.  It will only clean the resin that has been used, using a soft water proportional regeneration process.

During the regeneration process (about 1 hour) only hard water is available, but it carries out the regeneration process in the early hours of the morning when water is not being used.

The Tapworks water softener will make sure softened water is available when its needed.

If properly sized, a Tapworks water softener will probably carry out a recharge once or twice a week.  In fact the main calls we get from customers is expecting it to recharge every day or because it doesn’t seem to be using much salt.  That’s because our softeners have a high softening capacity and are extremely efficient to run.

Running Costs

The main running costs of the water softener, is the salt and water used in the regeneration process.  Running costs will vary depending on the amount of water used and the hardness of the water.  A rough guide for a family home would be approximately £60 a year.