Water softeners help reduce calcium and magnesium levels in hard water by using softener salt which ends up softening the water. A water softener is comprised of several parts, the most important being the central processing unit, the mineral tank which contains the very important resin filter, and the brine tank.
The central processing unit acts as the brain of any water softener. The CUP is comprised of three main parts: a timer, a water meter, and a valve assembly. Each of its individual segments must work together to soften water effectively. The timer controls when the water softener activates and begins work. This can either be set to a strict schedule or done on notice. The meter evaluates the ion level in the softener’s resin filter and will automatically start a brine wash when levels are low. The valve assembly is in charge of adjusting and regulating water flow to the other water softener parts.
The mineral tank is the home of the water softener resin filter. As the filter draws the minerals out of the water, it becomes permeated with mineral ions. These mineral ions, calcium and magnesium, are displaced and then swapped with sodium ion. After this process the water that passes through is “soft water” which has all the hard metals taken out in exchange for a higher density of sodium.
The brine tank is very important in order to cleanse the resin filter of the accumulated hard water minerals after a while. This is important for the water softener to self-maintain itself by cleaning the resin beads of all the hard water minerals who get pushed from the mineral tank to the brine tank. Also, the brine tank will effectively recharge the resin beads with more sodium ions as it pulls the hard metals from the mineral tank. The mineral ions segregated by the filter stick to the sodium ions in the brine, and the water is rinsed out of the softener.
Water softener parts require regular maintenance, as preservation of the water softener’s inner workings will result in prolonged use gleaned from it. Keeping tabs on the levels inside the brine tank and making sure it’s filled frequently is a must. The resin filter won’t usually provide problems, and stays in working order for the duration of the water softener’s life. The resin filter may only need to be changed in cases of forgetfulness or negligence. However you do have to “recharge/regenerate it” every so often using salt of course, but the actual resin should last a long time. If water was left sitting for an extended period of time, bacterial buildup can occur, and if the mineral tank is exposed to sunlight, algae growth may crop up, which can cause damage to the water softener. You should regularly check, maintain and replace any water softener parts that require support.
Your best bet if you’re trying to find how to replace a part of your system is to contact the manufacturer. You don’t want to order a part not made for your model that breaks everything else after a short period of use right? There’s also the advantage that the manufacturer will probably give you a warranty as long as everything you’re using is provided by them.