Water Softening Q & A

How Water Softeners Work

For most of us, our home is our most valuable asset. Taking care of your Phoenix area home can be costly and time consuming. Most of the things we purchase for our homes do not preserve or protect them. Conversely, a quality water softening system is an investment in your home that will save you time and money! Installing a Clear Water Concepts water softener is like having a security system to protect against harmful hard water. Soft water shields your water using appliances and fixtures from hard water scale build-up, making them more efficient, thus allowing them to last longer.

The process of water softening works by connecting your main waterline or available, "loop" into the inlet side of the water softener. The outlet side of the water softening system is connected back into your home's plumbing. This ensures that all the water in your Phoenix area home will be treated. The incoming hard water then passes over the softening resin beads, which are made of polystyrene. These resin beads are contained within the resin tank (sometimes called a mineral tank). Water softener resin beads have a negative charge. Calcium and magnesium, which make water hard, have a positive charge and adhere to the resin beads when they pass over them. Eventually, after several gallons of water have passed over, the resin beads become completely saturated and water cannot be softened further.

Next, the water softening system will go through a regeneration process, which will re-charge the resin beads. During this process, a strong brine solution of chloride dissolved in water and held in the brine tank, will be slowly introduced into the resin tank and will pass over the hardness saturated resin beads. The chloride solution will be exchanged for the hardness minerals. The resin beads now have a positively charged chloride ion attached to them.

Finally, the water softener system will then go through a fast and settling rinse; the brine tank will re-fill with water and go back into service to start producing softened water again. This process continues over and over in the water softener.

Chemical vs. Mechanical

There are two ways to soften water - chemically and mechanically. Chemical water softening includes the use of phosphates and other compounds in soaps to treat the water so it can actually be used to clean. Without these chemicals, soap would be ineffective when used with hard water. Try using a "pure" soap with hard water and see what the result is. All of the detergents and soaps that you purchase have chemical water softeners in them.

The other option is to use a mechanical water softener. In this process, the hard water is passed through a water treatment system that actually removes the minerals in the water. When these minerals are removed, detergents and soaps are more effective. There are several benefits to using a mechanical water softening system over chemically treating the water. Mechanical water softening eliminates the problem "hard water" whereas chemical water softeners merely "mask" the minerals in the water. Consequently, detergents and soaps do not rinse clean from your hair, skin, clothing, and dishes.

Hard Water

Water is essential to life. Without it the biosphere that exists on the surface of the earth would not be possible. Nicknamed the "water" planet, Earth is nearly covered with one of our most precious natural resources. More than 60% of the earth's water is groundwater. As water falls to the earth, it percolates into the ground. As it is absorbed, it picks up minerals like calcium, magnesium, and lime. These 3 minerals make up what is traditionally referred to as "hardness" in water. Water hardness is measured in grains per gallon or parts per million. Water hardness above 7 grains per gallon is considered very hard, over 10.5 grains per gallon is considered extremely hard.

The water in the Phoenix metro area is considered extremely hard water because the grains per gallon varies from 12-22 grains on average! Hard water is the most common water quality problem in the U.S. High water hardness causes scale and build-up in water heaters, eventually forming an insulation barrier inside, making water heaters inefficient because, before your water can be heated, the crusty build-up must be heated. Additionally, hard water builds up in components of washing machines and dishwashers. You may also notice soap scum residue in bathtubs, on shower doors, and on hair and skin. Furthermore, hard water causes soaps to be less effective, leaving clothing dingy and colors faded. Hard water is abrasive and "etches" dishware, glasses, and silverware. Hard water also causes the fabrics in clothing to deteriorate quickly. The bottom line? Hard water costs you money!

Sodium Free vs. Salt Free

Several Phoenix water softener installers make claims that you can enjoy soft water without using salt. Reputable testing agencies and independent research labs deduce that no conclusive evidence confirms these claims. Tests performed on various brands of "salt free water softeners" found no removal of water hardness or scale. Sadly, despite the test results, these deceptive claims have gained a greater audience in recent years. Contact the Arizona Water Quality Association for more information on this topic.

All water softeners use either sodium chloride or potassium chloride. Chloride being the determiner in each compound, both are considered salt. However, consumers often get confused because sodium and salt are not the same. All water softeners, in essence, can be sodium free, if you use potassium in exchange for sodium.

Sodium doesn't have to be scary! Sodium is fairly abundant in most water supplies in the Phoenix metro area. A water softener using sodium chloride adds very little additional sodium. In most cases, increased sodium levels in (1) gallon of soft water are equivalent to (2) slices of bread. According to Dr. Andrew Zweifer, director of the Hypertension Clinic at The University of Michigan:

"Drinking water represents a very small part of sodium intake in most persons. Even water softener systems don't introduce enough salt to be of concern."

Similar views are expressed by the New England Journal of Medicine and the U.S. EPA. However, if you are on a sodium free diet or are still concerned with your sodium consumption, there is an effective alternative to softened water. A reverse osmosis filter system will reduce the sodium content of your drinking water.

Soft Water Benefits

Softened water enhances the quality of life throughout your entire Phoenix area home. Soft water refines the lifeblood of your home by eliminating mineral build-up and scale in water heaters and appliances and by eliminating troublesome water spots and 'etching' of dishes and fixtures. The soft water difference is evident in how your hair, skin, and clothes look and feel and in the performance and longevity of water-using appliances. Quality soft water improves the effectiveness of detergents, shampoo, and other soaps by 50 to 70 percent. With conditioned soft water, everything rinses clearer and cleaner. Clear Water Concepts water treatment systems enhance the quality of life through the quality of water. Treat yourself to treated water!


Clear Water Concepts is your clear source in Phoenix for hard water filters and hard water filtration systems. Proudly serving Mesa Tempe, Scottsdale, Mesa, Chandler, Peoria, Tempe, Goodyear, Anthem, Cave Creek, Carefree, Apache Junction and all of Maricopa County.

 Clear Water Concepts hard water filters of Phoenix, has hard water softeners and hard water filtration systems for Maricopa County, Scottsdale, Mesa, Chandler, Peoria, Tempe, Goodyear, Anthem, Cave Creek, Carefree and Apache Junction.

Clear Water Concepts is your professional supplier and installer for water filters, water softener units, whole house softner systems, hard water softening, reverse osmosis systems and kinetic water softeners. We are a excellent alternative choice to Kinetco and H2O Concepts water purifier and water treatment purifying systems. Whole home water filtration and purification, residential water purifiers and whole home water filtration system for all of Maricopa County, including Scottsdale, Mesa, Chandler, Peoria, Tempe, Goodyear, Anthem, Cave Creek, Carefree, Apache Junction and the greater Phoenix metro area and valley.