Water Softener Resin

water softener resin guide

To the left is how the sodium ions will prevent the calcium and magnesium from leaving the tank while to the right it's the way the tank will clean itself of the hard metals it previously collected. The cleaning is an important step to preserve your softener system's effectiveness

The water softener resin is very important for the overall functioning of your water softener. The resin is responsible for replacing the magnesium and calcium ions with sodium ions from the salt. When you setup your water softener salt after choosing the salt you want to use in your system the resin should be full of sodium ions if you recharged the water softener resin beads properly by following the instruction manual. As water is diverted and passes in the mineral tank the sodium ions are slowly removed and over time the resin beads will lose its effectiveness.

This is when you want to use water softener salt which will basically recharge the resin by replenishing it with sodium irons that can attract and “soften” magnesium/calcium. You will have to divert the water to a “brine tank” that will contain the previously trapped magnesium and calcium ions. If you’re not clear on the many different water softener parts make sure to read on them!
The water softener resin should last 15+ years so when the water softener is starting to not properly do its job it’s most likely because the resin needs to be recharged with salt. If you notice the resin is starting to last less and less long before it needs to be recharged it’s a good sign that it might be time to change it.

There are different types of resin that are used in water softener systems currently. Some of the more popular ones are: standard cation and fine mesh resin.

  • The standard cation, sometimes called hi-cap resin, is best used with water that has less than 3-5 parts per molecule ( p.p.m.) It has a 8% cross link which is basically a number that explains how “tight” it is in allowing magnesium or sodium to pass. Higher is technically better but 8% should be fine for most users.
  • Fine Mesh Resin is even more concentrated and will work better with hard water that has a higher p.p.m. If you live in a rural area and your water does not come from a municipal water system you might be a likely candidate in using a fine mesh resin.

If your looking to change your softener resin than make sure to consult the manual that should come with your system in case it differs from the following general steps. Turn the water off before and unplug the power. You then disconnect the plumbing and remove the resin filter to replenish it with new “resin”/sodium. After you simply put back the control head on top and reconnect everything.

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