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Mechanical water softening units can be permanently installed into your plumbing system to continuously remove calcium and magnesium. Water softeners operate on what is called ion exchange process. Water passes through a bed of beads made of sulfonated polystyrene. The beads are supersaturated with sodium. Hard water passes through the softening material, and the hard minerals attach themselves to the resin beads. Sodium on the resin beads is released simultaneously into the water. This is a great hard water solution, but the water does have sodium added. Those with high blood pressure should consult with their physician before drinking this water.