How Do Water Softeners Work?

Here in Odessa and Midland, one of the most common problems plumbers deal with is how to handle hard water. Water is considered “hard” when minerals and other contaminants such as calcium deposits, etc. infiltrate your water as it makes its way from the source, through the ground, into your home, and eventually out of your faucet. Those minerals aren’t necessarily dangerous, but they do impact the taste and smell of your water. One telltale sign of hard water is that chalky build-up you may have noticed on your faucets and showerheads. If the build-up is not cleaned regularly, it can lead to stained fixtures and sinks, and faucets not working properly.  This is where water softeners come in.

There are two common solutions to battling hard water: reverse osmosis, commonly called R.O, for short, and water softeners. These two systems function differently and can be installed separately, but they are highly recommended to be used together. Also, though some R.O. units can “soften” your water, that isn’t their true function and it can lead to their filters wearing out more quickly than they should. In this post, we’ll specifically take a look at water softeners.


Water softeners use what’s called an ion-exchange unit. Without getting too scientific, it removes the minerals that make the water hard and substitutes them with sodium (salt), which neutralizes the minerals and makes the water feel (and taste, and even smell) softer. Systems can include single or dual tanks depending on the need in your home. For example, a two-tank system can continuously deliver soft water to the home, while a single-tank system contains brine that needs to self-clean once a week.

Salt-free alternatives are also available, which modify the minerals instead of actually removing them to make the water soft. The alternatives do help prevent visible buildup around fixtures and faucets but don’t protect piping and appliances like a traditional water softener.


The Bosworth Company offers both state-of-the-art water softeners as well as reverse osmosis systems. Remember, for the cleanest, safest water, you’ll want to get both! Make an appointment online, or call us today at 432-570-5233. Our certified professionals can provide full details and help you diagnose your home or business to determine the system that works best for you. It’s Worth the Call. Always.