Softening water is a 4-step process.
1) The body of a water softener is a tank filled with resin beads. These beads are covered with sodium ions. As hard water passes through, the resin beads act like a magnet, attracting the calcium and magnesium ions (hardness) in exchange for the sodium ions.
2) Eventually the resin beads become saturated with mineral ions & have to be “re-charged”. This process is called regeneration, and is conducted by the control valve on the top of the tank. The control valve is the brain of the system.
3) During the regeneration, a strong brine solution is flushed through the resin tank, bathing the resin beads in a stream of sodium ions which replace the accumulated calcium and magnesium ions (hardness).