Water softeners are commonplace in industrial and institutional settings. These units utilize salt to ideally eliminate the hardness of the incoming water. Since salt usage is essential for softener function and has associated environmental and financial costs, it is important for its consumption to be monitored and optimized.
Water softening is a process in which water flows through a bed of resin to exchange the hardness ions, calcium and magnesium, for sodium ions. When the resin has reached its capacity for holding hardness ions, the water softener initiates a regeneration cycle. During this cycle, a sodium chloride brine solution flows through the resin and effectively reverses the process by exchanging sodium ions for hardness ions, and flushing the hardness ions down the drain.