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How Water Softeners Work

Keeping Your Family Happy & Healthy

Water Drop

The Pro Water Solutions website has demonstrated some of the problems associated with hard water — you avoid these problems by using a water softener to treat the water coming into your house. Where it’s legal, self regenerating softeners are a viable option however because the water will still have chlorine, ammonia, chloramines and other chemicals in it Pro Water Solutions recommends a Carbon filtration system in conjunction with a softener.

Remember, hard water is caused by excess dissolved mineral content, namely calcium and magnesium. A water softener works by removing these minerals and replacing them with common salt ions, either sodium or potassium. There are a variety of different water softening systems — whole house water filters, reverse osmosis treatments, potassium based water softeners, etc. But normally, a water softener is 2 devices that are plumbed into your water system.

The tanks are about 4 feet tall, cylindrical in shape. The first part is the mineral tank, which connect directly to your incoming water supply pipes. The tank is filled with little resin beads that are negatively charged, allowing them to interact and “grab” the positively charged calcium and magnesium deposits. Sitting nearby is the second component of the water softener system, the brine tank. The brine tank is filled with water and salt, either sodium or potassium salts. When its contents are flushed into the mineral tanks, the positively charged sodium ions washout the calcium ions, resulting in saltier but softer water, without the heavy mineral content.

This whole process is done day after day and is controlled by an automatic timer. First the incoming, untreated water is brought into the mineral tank, where it sits as the beads grab onto the minerals. The backwash phase then flushes out any dirt particles. Next is the recharge or regeneration phase, in which the brine tank salt-rich water is brought into the mineral tank to get rid of the minerals. In the rinse phase, the excess brine (containing the minerals) is flushed away down the drain, allowing the softened water to go into the homes water system. The cycle constantly repeats to provide a continuous supply of processed water.

*Please remember that salt and potassium based softeners are harmful to the environment, require maintenance, have an ongoing costs, and cities in California have the ability to ban these units, Los Angeles has already done so and many other cites may make the independent decision to follow the example.

Why get a water softener?

Installing a water softener in your home benefits you in many ways. First, since soap products work better, it can decrease your cleaning supply costs by 50% or more now that dishwasher and washing machines work better. Secondly, you and your clothes and your dishes actually get cleaner, since soap and mineral no longer cling to your surface. Third, your water heater, coffee maker, dishwasher, and washing machine will all last longer and require fewer repairs. Fourth, you’ll have better water flow and water pressure in your pipes. One thing you’ll notice with soft water is a kind of slimy, slippery feeling when you bathe, shower, or wash dishes. The saltier water has that natural characteristic, and it will taste saltier if you drink it without using a water filter. Most homes with water softeners also install water filters for drinking water.

Buying the Best Water Softener

A good water softening system can last for a decade or two with maintenance required. The regular work needed is refilling the brine tank with salt pellets. You can buy water softener salt pellets at most hardware or home supply stores except in brine restricted areas like Los Angeles — they come in plastic tubs or bags that you simply dump into the brine tank to the specified level. As the salt is consumed each month, you check the level in the brine tank and refill as needed. Salt is cheap and costs only a few bucks a bag (for 40 lbs). You can buy water softeners that are timer controlled or water meter controlled (i.e. operating depending on the measured flow of water rather than on the clock). How much do water softeners cost? A water softener system can cost from about $1100, while installation charges can be an additional $300-$500. By adding a Carbon filtration unit to remove chlorine and other harmful contaminates your water should no longer be problematic and you water will have fresh good taste. After that, the ongoing costs are just electricity to run the system and monthly salt expenses which should not exceed about $2.50 per person in the household, or about $10 for an average family. Pro Water installs water softeners. They are priced and sold based on their processing capacity, with the top of the line being the Super Capacity with a 45,200 grain capacity, made for families of 5 or more. It can handle up to 200 lbs of salt at a time. The slightly smaller Water Softener System (39,300 grain capacity) sells for about $750. Pro Water can advise you on the best water softener application for your needs and home or business size.

Don’t Pay for a Name!

There are only 4 major components of a Water Softener: Control Valve, Resin Tank, Brine Tank and Resin. There are only a few manufacturers of each of these components. Fleck or Clack control valves are on our water softeners and on the majority of water softeners. Why pay $3,000 to $7,000 for a product that has the same components as an Alamo Water Softener.

Get Back Washing Carbon With Your Softener.

Pro Waters Recommendation:

This may seem like another expense or sales tactic however if clean, fresh, good tasting, contaminate and chlorine free water is important to you, Pro Water Solutions can do it at an affordable cost.


Be aware of internet companies selling water softeners. These companies are unable to provide you with local service. They all show great reviews and testimonials. However, the people we talk with are often disappointed with their decision. The high profile brands of water softeners go completely the opposite in order to justify their high price. They make you think you will need service on a regular basis. In reality, in my 20 years in the business, a very small percentage of quality water softeners need more than 1 service call every 5 to 8 years.

How can we sell for so much less?

  • The Pro Water Solutions Company and manufacturer are locally based in Los Angeles so service and shipping costs are reduced.
  • Low Overhead Expenses (Home improvements are done in your home after a site survey, not in a fancy showroom.)
  • Low Cost Targeted Advertising ($200-$300 per unit is the industry average)
  • No Shipping Cost, Our units are manufactured here in Los Angeles.

Have an existing water softener which needs service? Don’t be fooled.

All water treatment companies claim to work on all models. In reality, the service company wants to get face to face with you in order to sell you service costs and a new water softener. They know you do not know anything about water softeners and you are at their mercy.

Most water softeners can be repaired and we can help. A quality water softener should last approximately 10 to 12 years. Beyond 12 years, the repairs become too frequent and too expensive with no guarantees. However, there is no reason to replace a 5 year old, quality water softener. If you are told your unit is not repairable, get a small service company to give you a second opinion. Your repairs might be as low as $200 and probably not higher than $500.

Pro Water Solutions does these types of repairs. Of course, another option is replacing your water softener with a quality Pro Water Solutions Water Softener. Most water treatment dealers would much prefer to sell you a new unit than repair an old one. This is routine in this industry. The exception is department store units. They last 2-5 years and are not worth repairing.

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