How a Water Softener Works

Water is known as ‘hard’ if it contains a lot of Calcium or Magnesium.

Hard water causes many problems:

  • ‘Limescale’ (also known as ‘furring’) forms on the inside of pipes, boilers, cylinders and appliances as Calcium and Magnesium precipitate out of the water when it is heated. Limescale also forms when water evaporates, leaving stains on sink surfaces, granite worktops and around toilet bowls.
  • Limescale does not conduct heat well because it is a very good insulator. Not only does scale reduce the flow through pipes causing excessive pressure on water pumps, it pushes up energy bills because it has to be heated first, before heat can reach the water.

A water softener will not add anything to the water, it merely takes out the calcium and magnesium particles which make the water hard.

Inside a Kinetico water softener, there are two tanks  containing  resin beads. Calcium and Magnesium enter the tank and stick to the resin beads by a process called ion exchange. Lovely soft water then exits the softener softening the water throughout your property.

After a while, the resin beads become saturated with calcium and magnesium and need to be flushed out. The softener automatically switches to the second tank to ensure you have a continuous supply of soft water. A brine solution enters the first tank and the calcium and magnesium prefer sticking to this than to the resin beads. The calcium and magnesium (now stuck to the brine particles) are flushed out via a separate tube to the waste. The tank is then rinsed through with soft water to ensure you never get any salt in your system. This whole process is called “regeneration” and takes approx 11 minutes and uses about 21 litres of water to do this.


Kinetico water softeners are fully automatic, non electric, and only regenerate on demand. If you are on holiday nothing happens, no water or salt is being used up; if you have lots of guests, the regeneration process will happen more often. As long as you keep an eye on your salt, you will never run out of soft water.

So that’s it – not rocket science just a clever, tried and trusted process. Once you get a softener, you really won’t regret it.


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