Water Blog

The Role of Resin in Water Softening

What is water softener resin, and why is it important to your water softener?

Resin Comparison: Fine mesh resin versus traditional resin

If you have been researching water softeners, you may have heard about something called resin. Resin is the material used in water softeners to facilitate the process of ion exchange that collects the hard water minerals from your water. The proper functioning of a water softener depends on the effective use of its resin. When comparing water softener options, it is helpful to understand the role of resin, as well as how the type of resin and tank design used can make a big difference in performance.

How Water Softeners Work

Most people who are shopping for water softeners are aware that softeners use salt. What it boils down to is that the resin is needed for it to function properly. Examining the role of resin in water softening is helpful for understanding how a water softener works and why it needs salt. Resin consists of small, bead-like plastic spheres, which are packed in a "bed" inside the tank of a water softener.


These little beads hold a negative charge that will attract any positively charged ions. The pre-charged resin beads are initially coated with sodium ions, which naturally hold a positive charge. Ion exchange occurs when the calcium and magnesium ions in the supply water, which are hardness minerals that naturally are positively charged, knock the sodium off their spot and instead attach to the resin beads. The sodium ions are in turn, released into the water. Once all of the resin beads are holding as much hardness as possible, the water softener needs to have a way to get rid of the calcium and magnesium it captured in order to continue collecting more.


During a process called regeneration, the water softener flushes out the hardness mineral ions using a brine solution that is created when salt, or sodium chloride, is added to the water softener. The brine serves to replenish the sodium ions back onto the resin beads. The positive charge of the resin is strong enough to break apart the sodium chloride compound coming in from the salt water, so they are ready to begin the ion exchange process again. There are misconceptions about the level of sodium in softened water because water softeners require the use of salt. In reality, the trace amounts of sodium in softened water are virtually unnoticeable. On the plus side, the absence of mineral ions that cause hard water problems is pleasantly noticeable in many ways.

Fine Mesh Resin vs Standard Resin

What makes Hague Quality Water products special is the use of "fine mesh" resin beads. Fine mesh resin is much smaller and therefore can fit more beads in tightly packed spaces than regular resins. Hague's unique vacuum packing process ensures that all of our water softener models have the greatest capacity for hard water treatment in the smallest space possible. While fine mesh resin has greater softening capability than a traditional softener, the fine mesh resin alone is not the key to optimal effectiveness. How effectively the water softener is designed to use the resin is also critical for selecting a softener that will deliver the best performance.

Hague Softeners Are Better By Design

WaterMax Signature Series showing resinWhen William R. Hague first envisioned an effective water softener design, he wanted it to be based on upflow soft water regeneration for more effective use of super fine mesh resin. The conventional approach to water softener design typically leads to an issue called channeling or tunneling within the resin. This occurs when the hard water creates a path or channel through the resin that become oversaturated with mineral ions. Hague water softeners are engineered to assure that the water is distributed more evenly through the resin bed, thereby maximizing the use of all of the resin. Since the sodium ions attach to the surface of the resin, the more resin beads that come into contact with the water, the more effective and efficient the cycle becomes. With our super fine mesh resin and patented water softener designs, we deliver unmatched quality in the water treatment industry.


Contact your authorized Hague dealers to discuss how we can meet your water treatment needs!

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