A WATER SOFTENER WORK? All water softeners use a
synthetic resin to soften the water. The beads contain
sites which hold sodium ions (or potassium). As hard
water passes through the resin, the calcium and
magnesium ions (the "hard water ions") are attracted to
the beads, and exchanges itself for the sodium or
potassium ions ("soft water ions"). This process is
called ION EXCHANGE. It continues until there are no
longer any sites for the exchange to take place, at
which time the resin is considered "exhausted". It now
must be recharged (or regenerated). During this process,
sodium or potassium brine solution is rinsed through the
resin. Calcium and magnesium ions are bumped off and go
down the drain, while the sodium or potassium ions
sodium (or potassium) does a softener add to the water?
On 10 grain per gallon water, 78 mg/l of sodium is
added. At 15 grains, it is 119 mg/l. At 20 grains it is
158 mg/l. The FDA definition for sodium in drinking
water is: Sodium Free: up to 28 mg/l, Very Low Sodium:
up to 197 mg/l, and Low Sodium: up to 789 mg/l.
POTASSIUM CHLORIDE SALT SUBSTITUTE FOR SODIUM-FREE SOFT
WATER: Until recently, a major objection to
water softeners was the sodium they added to the water.
Now, potassium chloride salt substitute is widely
available. Instead of exchanging hardness for sodium
(which most people get too much of in their diets), it
exchanges for more healthful POTASSIUM (which most
people don't get enough of). Fruits and vegetables are
naturally high in potassium. It also exchanges most
naturally occurring sodium in your water for potassium.
People trying to watch their sodium intake can now have
the benefits of a water softener, and drink SODIUM-FREE
soft water! Learn more about potassium chloride at these
Softouch/Morton Salt ,
K-Life/Nature's Own or
Cargill/Diamond Crystal. It is available in most
areas at many hardware stores, home improvement centers,
or grocery stores. Ace Hardware also sells it under
their own "WaterShed" brand name. The part number is
71572. You can even order it online and have it
delivered to your local Ace store if they don't stock
HERE to order online. Other home-improvement stores
may carry it under private label as well - just ask for
their "sodium-free" or "potassium" softener salt. Our
softeners require no adjustments when using potassium
chloride, and you can switch to it at any time.
recharging occurs depends on the quantity of resin used.
One cubic foot of resin allows 32,000 grains of hardness
to be removed. If your water is 10 grains per gallon
hard, it would mean 3,200 gallons of water can be
softened before it is exhausted.
softener recharges (or regenerates) itself, it is
designed to automatically take itself out of your water
system. Any water used during a recharge is
automatically "by-passed" - it doesn't pass through the
softener resin and so it is hard. Virtually all
softeners are designed to recharge at 2:00 AM, a time
unlikely for anyone to be using water. To enable a
softener to wait until this more convenient time, a
"reserve capacity" must be used, usually an estimated 50
gallons per resident.
SOFTENERS WITH CLOCK-TYPE (TIMER) CONTROLS regenerate
according to a fixed time schedule (every 3 days, or 6
days, etc.) regardless of the amount of water actually
used in the home. This is based on a "guess" of how much
water you might use daily. Often these units regenerate
too soon, wasting salt. Or too late...sending hard water
into the home. The reserve capacity is also estimated,
providing another opportunity for hard water to enter
your water system. NOTE: Don't be fooled by hi-tech
looks! Some softeners say "solid state electronics" and
have an LCD clock. These may be just a timer with a more
modern clock mechanism!
SOFTENERS WITH SIMPLE METER-TYPE CONTROLS regenerate
after a fixed amount of water has passed through the
meter. This is a better method than the timer softeners,
since it is based on actual water usage. However, these
units have a preset calculated reserve capacity to carry
through the day until the unit regenerates at night. If
your usage increases, the reserve capacity may not be
enough and you can run out of soft water. Again, don't
be fooled by hi-tech looks, check to see how the reserve
is set. If it must be manually programmed, it's still
just a meter!
SOFTENERS WITH SENSORS have an electronic sensing device
imbedded in a fixed point low in the softener resin.
Since the resin exhausts from top to bottom, when the
sensor detects hard water, it signals the valve to
recharge that night (again, usually 2:00 AM). This
design, like the meter, is using actual water usage to
determine recharge intervals so it is an improvement
over the timer type. The "reserve capacity" is the
amount of resin left below the sensor. Since the sensor
is in a fixed position, the reserve capacity is a fixed
Water usage in a home can vary as much as 400%
day-to-day. What's more, major changes in water usage
can occur for many reasons: vacation, company, a change
in family size, a new appliance, changing seasons, just
to name a few. A mechanical meter or a sensor does not
adjust the reserve for these changes.
The 460i doesn't operate on a fixed time or water volume
basis. Nor does it have a "fixed" reserve level.
Instead, the 460i combines a meter with a
MICROPROCESSOR. Every day, the computer measures how
much soft water your family actually uses. It "learns"
your usage patterns, continually monitors changes in
usage, and regenerates only when necessary.
SELF-ADJUSTING RESERVE CAPACITY. The 460i knows exactly
how much soft water you use each day, and it analyzes
and adjusts the reserve capacity daily to meet your
actual changing usage. As a result, the reserve is never
too high (causing it to recharge more often, wasting
salt), or too low (which can cause hard water
break-through). It is kept at optimum level for maximum
efficiency. Your family will enjoy a continuous supply
of soft water - the chance of ever putting hard water
into your water system is virtually eliminated! You will
realize SUBSTANTIAL SAVINGS IN SALT AND WATER - UP TO
50% LESS THAN OTHER SYSTEMS!
RELIABILITY. You can depend on the Autotrol 460i for
years of trouble- free performance. The Autotrol valve
uses a unique non-friction, non-wearing "flapper valve"
design to change cycles. Its metering system has only
one moving part...a rotating turbine that measures water
usage by sending magnetic impulses to the electronic
computer. Competitive valves use either a "piston and
seal" or a "rotary disc" to change cycles - both are
wear-prone as they involve friction as they operate.
Most competitive meter systems use reduction gears and a
cable, which can bind, or wear. The Autotrol valve
carries a 5 year warranty.