How Does a Water Softener Work?
A water softener needs to do two jobs:
It needs to soften the water by removing the calcium minerals from the water, and then when it cannot soften any further, it needs to go offline and flush the calcium minerals down the drain.
It is true to say that this cleaning process (known as a ‘regeneration’), takes place normally at night when no or little water is used in the home.
However, should a washing machine or dishwasher be running, or someone flushes a toilet or briefly turns on a tap, then if the softener is on bypass all incoming hard water will mix with your stored soft water, creating a blend of softened water which will become gradually harder over a period of time.
This blend of soft water with a mix of hard water will over time result in the soft water unsatisfactorily diluted. The run-on effect of this is that you will always use more detergents and soap with a single cylinder water softener than you would with a twin cylinder water softener.
Single cylinder electric water softeners generally require annual servicing in order for the machine to operate at its best as the valves and circuit boards can become corroded over time. It is typical to expect an electric water softener to give you anything from 7 – 15 years of softened water, depending on the quality of the machine, before you may expect to replace it.
Single cylinder water softeners are either Timer Controlled or Meter Controlled.