Water softeners remove hard calcium, magnesium, and other minerals from water. They are the least costly solution for treating hard water. Other common water softening treatments include distillation and reverse osmosis. Water softeners work by replacing the calcium and magnesium ions in hard water with sodium ions. Sodium ions do not precipitate out of the water, eliminating the problems of scale inside pipes that can form when using hard water.

Differences In Water Softeners

Water softeners differ in terms of complexity and cost. A complete water softener system consists of a small bed of plastic beads or a chemical composition matrix called zeolite that contains the sodium ions. When the water passes through the matrix or the bed of beads, the sodium ions change places with the calcium and magnesium ions. When all of the sodium ions are expended, the matrix or beads are soaked in a salt solution to regenerate the source of sodium ions. Water softener salt is usually one of three types: rock salt, solar salt, or evaporated salt. Generally, water softener salts are added directly to water softeners.

Installation and Maintenance

Water softeners are relatively easy to install and maintain. Typically, water softener installation involves connecting the device directly to the water supply. Professional water softener installers may also provide water softener repair. The importance of selecting a proper water softener part is an additional consideration. Examples of water softener parts include pipes, connection fittings, valves, and other components.


Suppliers of water softeners are located across North America and around the world. They conform to a variety of quality standards. Water softener comparison may be necessary to determine which device is most useful for solving a hard water problem. For example, an industrial facility with 6000 employees will use more water than company with 2000 workers, and may need larger, more powerful water softeners. Also, water hardness can vary from one location to the next. In many cases, reading a water softener review in a consumer or industrial publication is a useful way to find the right product.