PureEarth Water Softeners

HOW DOES 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 attach.

How much 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 web sites: 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 it. Go to 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.

How often 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.

When a 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.

WATER 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!

WATER 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!

WATER 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 amount.

REMEMBER: 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!

DESIGN 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.


Changes last made on: January 30, 2003