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3 Common Questions about Water Softeners


As a leading source for water treatment systems in Ontario, Water Depot gets a lot of questions about water softeners. How do they work? How much do they cost? Do they require a lot of maintenance? Where can I purchase a water softener? Is a water softener right for me?

In an effort to clear up some of the confusion surrounding water softeners, we’re answering three of the most frequently asked questions:

How does a water softener work?

Water softeners remove calcium and magnesium ions from hard water and replaces them with sodium ions. Why? Basically, calcium and magnesium ions make it difficult for cleaning products, like dish soap and clothing detergent, to work effectively. When your water softener replaces calcium and magnesium ions with sodium ions, you’ll be able to use less soap as it will lather more easily.

This ion exchange happens inside the resin tank of your water softener. When water flows through the tank, it comes in contact with small beads that are covered in sodium ions. As the water passes through these resin beads, the calcium and magnesium ions trade places with the sodium ions.

How do I maintain my water softener?

Over time, as larger volumes of water flow through your water softener, the sodium ions in the resin beads will dissipate. In order to replenish the sodium ions in your water softener, all you have to do is pour salt into the brine tank. The brine tank is usually beside the resin tank or packaged together with the resin tank as a single unit.

Aside from refilling the brine tank, there isn’t very much maintenance associated with water softeners. Occasionally, you should check for salt build-up in the brine tank. If a crust has formed, you can remove it using a vacuum, soap and water. If your water contains iron, you might also want to look out for iron deposits in the resin bed (these can be cleaned out using an iron-removing product). We also suggests an annual maintenance checkup to make sure your softener lasts as long as possible.

How much will a water softener cost me?

The price of water softeners varies depending on the type and sophistication of the machine. Our water softeners range from $500 to $3,000 in price. There are also typically installation fees of approximately $250 per unit.

Do you have more questions about water softeners? Talk to the professionals at your nearest Water Depot location. Water Depot carries a wide variety of water softeners as well as other water treatment systems including reverse osmosis systems, iron filters, water coolers and more. To browse through our inventory, visit us online at