If you’ve ever had the pleasure of vacationing or visiting somewhere with soft water, you surely noticed the difference come bath time. Softer skin and more manageable hair were surely the byproducts of your hair and skin products’ new-found, luxurious lather. So, what’s going on behind the scenes that can provide such a total transformation? Understanding the role that resin plays goes hand in hand with understanding just how your water is going from unbearably hard to sumptuously soft.
Resin plays one of the most important roles in water softening. The resin, in the form of small but strong acid cation plastic beads, is essential to the water softening process. These beads, containing sodium ions from the salt you add to the brine tank, attract the magnesium and calcium minerals from the hard water. The sodium ions are exchanged for these hard water minerals, letting the sodium free and holding the magnesium and calcium. After trapping the hard water minerals, the regeneration process takes place. A briney mixture rinses the resin, releasing the hard water minerals from the resin and down the drain, while charging the resin beads with sodium once again.
These resin beads have a tough job, but luckily, in the high quality water softeners, their cross-link percentage helps them to withstand the tests of water and time. Think of the crosslink as what holds the resin beads together. Stronger crosslinks are needed to battle areas with high iron and chlorine content in their water. For example, a 10% cross-linked resin bead should last twice as long as an 8% bead. That’s the difference between a water softener that lasts 20 years and one that needs replacement after 10 years. When purchasing a water softener or replacing an older system’s resin, ask your water softener experts about the best options for resin based on cross-link percentages and the quality of your area’s water.
Teamed with sodium, your water softener’s resin is the MVP of removing hard water minerals. Without those little plastic beads, those pipe, laundry, hair and skin-damaging minerals would flow freely instead of being trapped and rinsed away. So, while you’re enjoying a nice, hot shower with blissfully soft water, give a mental high-five to those little beads for a job well done. For lasting benefits to your hair, skin, plumbing and appliances, invest in your very own water softener at home. You can bring the soft water, and those healthy, desired results, to your hard water area and make soft water a part of your everyday routine.