Basically a water softener is a vessel containing a media, better known as the resin or mineral bed. All types of water softener use this. Having established that all types of water softener system are similar, what actually are the differences?
Different types of water softener systems are-
- Semi automatic
- Fully automatic
1. Manual water softeners
The manual types of water softener are very cheap and simple in operation, yet time consuming and complicated to use.
These are essentially are single vessel water softeners containing the water softeners’ mineral. Hard water will enter the water softener at the top of the vessel, pass down through the mineral and leave the bottom of the water softener vessel as softened water. Depending on the volume of the mineral bed, the hardness of the water and the amount of water that has passed through the vessel at some point the mineral will become exhausted. At this stage the mineral has to be regenerated or recharged. This is a process whereby common salt is added.
2. Semi automatic water softeners
Unlike the manual water softener above these types of water softener have two extra components. Namely, a brine tank and a very basic time controlled electric valve. (There are in fact some very rare clockwork valve that do not actually connect the electric supply.)
The brine tank is where salt is stored, behaving as a reservoir for salt and area where some of that salt can be dissolved into brine. The job of the control valve is to enable this brine (salt water) to be injected into the water softener vessel to aid the regeneration of the water softener mineral. The trigger for this regeneration is via a time clock that is set up so that the water softener regenerates once every day, once every two days, once every three days, etc.
These types of water softener are generally rare to install in the majority of homes. Although they are cheap to buy they can be very expensive to run.
3. Fully automatic water softeners
These types of water softener are more expensive than the other types, but are very cost effective to use. These types of water softener utilize a very effective and efficient water metering system. This is whereby the water softener measures the water usage in the home and reacts to the actual volumes of water used. Much better than the two types of water softener system mentioned above. The basic components are the same as the semi-automatic types of water softener above, but now the control valve is triggered as a result of the water that is softened.