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Water Softener Installation Tips

You got the best water softener and you are ready to buy it right away? Pause for a minute and think about installation. Will you install it on your own or use a professional. The bottom line is that you want the machine to perform optimally, deliver high quantities of water and make you and entire family happy. Here are some useful installation tips that every water softener buyer should know.

Installation Tips For Best Home Water Softeners

Never leave the point of sale until the softener is tested

Water softener just like other electronics or electrical devices should be bought with assurance of performance. If you buy from the nearest store, insist on getting assurance the machine will wok at home. Where possible, get demonstrations. For others purchasing the machine online, insist on knowing the seller’s quality assurance policy. This will give you a guarantee that after installation, the prescribed targets of water hardness removal will be met.

Follow installation manual if doing it on your own

The process of installing a water softener is not as complicated as many people tend to think. You only need to get a room or part of a room that will be free of disturbance in most of the times. To install the softener, manufacturers include an easy to follow manual so that a home owner can install the device, get better attachment and learn more about it. When installing the device on your own; the following two things are very crucial:-

  • Prepare the right tools to make drilling, joinery, and fitting easy
  • A helping hand to lift and position different parts at the right pace. Some parts especially the brine tank can be heavy.

Take advantage of support services to get clarifications

While the printed manuals are truly amazing, make sure to utilize other manufacturer’s support services. They usually have toll free numbers for their clients to call and get confirmation on any issue about installation, use, or even maintenance. You are sure of getting top notch guidelines and getting a perfect installation.

If uncertain about DIY installation, seek assistance of a professional plumber

Plumbers have wide knowledge about functionalities of different softeners and will complete the task within a short while. Unlike DIY, the plumber is sure of making all the necessary adjustments, and leaving the system in top condition. In addition, they can easily tell you when there is a problem so that you seek immediate remedy. At the end of it all, the plumber will also give you importance maintenance tips to make the softener work better and last longer.

If the seller has professionals installation experts, ensure to use them

Nothing gives a client assurance like having an expert assigned by the manufacturer of a device that one has just bought. The professional understands the company’s recommended standards and will ensure they are followed in every step. Besides, the company’s installation expert must do a good job to win more clients and grow the business that pays him.

Never lose contacts of an installation professional

When you get a good installation professional, chances are that you would like the same person to assist in case the system develops issues. Such experts develop greater attachment with clients because they understand their home settings and can therefore give a more practical solution. Note their numbers, email addresses and other contact detail that can make reaching them easy and fast.

Make installation the starting point to stay with the manufacturer and other fans

While the installation of your water softener marks the beginning of a happier home, make it a commencing point to reach others with similar devices. Joining the community provides one with an opportunity to learn new things about the machine, latest news, and better maintenance tips. One will also be informed when newer models are available and make the decision to upgrade.

Conclusion

Installation tips provided above are meant to help you have the best machine fixed at home and run optimally in delivering soft water. Installation of the softener should however not stop at that; it should map a new beginning and a changed way of liaising with others using similar equipment. No matter what your expectations are, make the installation a unique moment to understand the device and learn how to take care of it.

Clu In participates in the Amazon Associates affiliate program as well as other affiliate programs. If you make a purchase from a link on this site, we may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support!

Do Electronic Water Descalers Work? You may be surprised

Do electronic water descalers work? In the world of home water purification and softening hard water, you will find many people purporting to have super solutions to all the problems in the world with their new shiny product.

For this reason, it’s not surprising that many of these products are often touted as shams and the science behind them pseudoscience, at best. Or at least it seems that way when you read it!

Eddy Electronic Water Descaler - Water Softener Alternative

Do electronic water descalers even work?

The ClearWave, for example, is a very popular electronic water descaler. In their product description, they state that the product uses electromagnetic waves to change the chemicals(specifically, calcium, magnesium, and manganese) that are responsible for hard water in a way that they no longer stick to your pipes and appliances.

Industrial solutions are strong enough to actually knock the calcium loose from inside your pipes but the models usually made for home use are nowhere near that strong.

ClearWave even presents a detailed study in which they asked an independent lab to test their product. The lab findings were optimistic about the product’s effectiveness.

How to tell if the electronic water descaler is working

Here’s the tough part – let’s say you’ve installed an electronic water descaler – how are you going to know if your ~$200 investment is working?

First off, before installing the descaler, it’s important that you remove any existing scale from your pipes and fixtures and make a note of how often you usually need to clean your pipes

Once the scale – or most of it – has been removed, install the descaler and let it run. Ideally, you should see scale build up much slower than usual, and even when it does build up, it should be a lot easier to remove.

Another good indicator of how effective the descaler is to check your dishes after they’ve been washed in the dishwasher – how many white spots are left on them?

If you live in an area with very hard water, chances are there will be a lot of white spots. If the white spots become less or smaller, your electronic descaler is working.

Note: Pelican Water Softeners

Pelican is one of the leading water softener and descaler manufacturers in the United States.

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Managing expectations

It’s important to note that the electronic descaler will not clean up your existing fixtures and pipes from hard water damage, and it will only limit the amount of new scale that gets deposited.

If you live in an area with extremely hard water, even a descaler will not do the trick because household descalers are simply not strong enough to handle so many dissolved metals.

Additionally, the descaler will not completely eliminate scale. At best, it will slow down the rate at which scale is deposited.

So let’s say you originally cleaned up all your fixtures once every 2 months. After installing the electronic descaler, you may need to only clean up your fixtures every 6 months.

What electronic water descalers will NOT do

During the course of my research I found that many people were not happy with their electronic water descalers because:

  1. Their electronic water descaler did not remove iron from the water
  2. Additionally, if there is a lot of iron in your water, it will interfere with the action of the electromagnetic field and the descaler won’t be as effective
  3. Even after running the water descaler for a while, the ppm of dissolved substances of the hard water remained the same
  4. Fixtures that already had scale did not lose the scale

First off, water descalers will NOT remove iron, period.

If you need to remove heavy metals such as iron from your drinking water and household water, I’d suggest just sticking to a good ol’ reverse osmosis system or get a specialized iron filter.

RO filters have very, very tiny filters that are great at keeping almost everything besides the water molecule itself out of the final product. The disadvantages, of course, are that a lot of water is wasted and the water then becomes kind of tasteless and dull, as it has lost some of the taste-producing minerals too.

There are even certain all-in-one filters that have a reverse osmosis stage and a water softener stage.

Also, you need to keep in mind that the PPM will remain the same even after turning the unit on. This is because the electronic water descaler will only prevent the ions from sticking and building up.

How to get truly soft water

Finally, if these solutions don’t seem enough for you, then the only thing I can suggest is getting a proper salt based water softener. Salt-free water softeners and electric water descalers are just not as effective as the original salt water softener, simply because of the underlying chemistry.

The only way to truly remove the scale-causing chemicals from hard water is using a water softener. There are many kinds of salt-free water softeners but they don’t remove the chemicals – they only make them not stick to your pipes, and that too only to a certain extent.

Water softeners are not that expensive and in fact are quite common now, so it’s definitely worth checking out some systems. It’s worth noting that you need to install a larger system that will soften the water in your entire home rather than just one or two taps.

Related

Conclusion

Unfortunately the science behind electronic water softeners is not quite as ironclad as it should be and there are only a few varied studies across the board, with little peer review and confirmation of findings.

There are so many variables in play (iron, overall hardness, existing scale on your appliances) that it becomes difficult to control variables and see which situation really gets solved by these products.

You’ll see people happy with the product, and a nearly similar number of people unhappy with the product if you search around. However, after reading through what some people had to say I’ve realized that folks who were unhappy were usually so because they expected the product to do something it was not designed to do.

The manufacturer of the Eddy Electronic water descaler, one of the most popular models on the market, actually have a very nice 12 month guarantee so it may be worth checking the product out and giving it a shot.

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Water conditioner vs water softener: When to use each one

If you find your sinks and bath tabs riddled with stains and drains clogged with scale, you’re probably dealing with the effects of hard water. Living in a house plagued with hard water can be a headache for homeowners. Hence, they need to invest in water softeners. But is there a difference in a water conditioner vs a water softener?

We consider water with a higher than average amount of dissolved solids, especially calcium, silica, and magnesium as hard. It is difficult to use this type of water since these minerals cause severe problems on pipes and water fixtures.

Scaling shower heads, bathroom and kitchen faucets, clogged pipes, and wearing out in household hold metallic items often results from the minerals in hard water.

While it is not harmful to drink the hard water, chances are you become frustrated when using it. Soap and detergents form a thick scum on washing basins, and the sight can become an eyesore. Hard water will discolor your whites and leave your dishes foggy and streaked with unsightly spots.

The good news is that water softeners can address the problem of water hardness, but getting the right option for water softeners will depend on the level of hardness in your water supply.

Whirlpool WHESFC Pro Series – Softener/Whole Home Filter Hybrid, Gray

Water conditioners vs water softeners for hard water

As you hunt for options to solve your hard water problem, you’re likely to come across two standard solutions: water conditioning and water softening systems. The two systems can provide a solution to your water problem, but you need to pick the right softeners to suit your need.

A water conditioner is a salt-free water softener that alters how the minerals in water behave in a liquid solution. It only reduces the harmful effects the water has on your water systems. We measure the scale of hard water by grains per gallon-GPG. When you use a water conditioner, the amount of grains remains the same.

What that means is that a salt-free water conditioner does not act as a water softener: instead, it makes the minerals in the water lose their ability to adhere to water pipes and plumbing systems. Calcium, magnesium, and silica are beneficial to humans and animals.

Water conditioning doesn’t remove these minerals, which is a good thing as long as your drainage and plumbing system is safe from damage. This makes a good option for most hard water challenges.

On the other hand, the traditional water softening system- as we are going to discuss later in the article- removes the minerals that cause hardness and gives you the best option if you need an adequate water softening system.

When deciding between a water conditioner vs. water softener, your choice should provide a protective solution to your water pipes and drainage.

How a water conditioner functions

Typically, there are various kinds of water conditioners. This depends on the method it uses to change the behavior of minerals and contaminants in the water. Some water conditioners work better than others do.

A standard water conditioner should provide a solution for scale build-up and pollutants.

We have three common types of water conditioners. These are carbon filtration, salt-free water softener, and electromagnetic or magnetic water conditioners.

The carbon filtration system:

The carbon filters in the filtration system remove harmful bacteria and eliminate unpleasant odors and taste from water. If your well water smells of sulfur or if you’re worried about contaminants like lead or pesticides, a water filter is an excellent option.

It can also remove the taste of chlorine from tapped city water. It’s imperative to note that these are water purifying systems and don’t make water soft. You will commonly find carbon filtration in water filter jugs and the water dispenser of your refrigerator.

Magnetic or electromagnetic water conditioners:

This system makes use of magnets to initiate a molecular movement in hard water. As a result, it displaces the minerals and reduces the concentration of the magnesium and calcium ions. Your water will be softer and is less likely to form a scale on pipes.

This is among the cheapest options you’ll find in the market, through its effectiveness, is not a guarantee. It’s also not ideal for large scale use since the magnetic field only covers the immediate area where the magnets are on the device. Besides, water from this system doesn’t stay soft for more than 48 hours after conditioning.

Salt-free conditioners:

Lastly is the salt-free conditioners also known as catalytic media conditioners, use a physical process known as Template Assisted Crystallization. (TAC) What this process does is changing the shape of the minerals to make hard crystals that do not stick on the pipes and plumbing surfaces.

Benefits of investing in a water conditioner

A water conditioning system can solve a myriad of issues in your home, from improving water quality to prolonging the life span of your appliances. This addresses the most significant problems of hard water without using salt.

Role of water conditioners in your home

Since most of us rely on municipal water supply, it doesn’t guarantee that the water is safe. While the contaminant levels might be too small to cause immediate illness, repeated exposure might be a cause of chronic health issues.

A water filter system at the main water line ensures all the water getting in your house is safe before it enters the pipes. Investing in a water filter improves the taste and removes odor in water. Installing water filters guarantees you of better water quality by eliminating contaminants and rotten egg odor.

You will likely notice a change in the water’s taste and clarity as it passes through the filters. Water conditioners get rid of dirt, sand, silt, and any sediment in your water, giving you clear water in every faucet in your home.

Can water conditioning make water safe for drinking?

A water conditioner is ideal if you want to deal with other contaminants, including algae and bacteria, which collect on water systems. While chlorine is a useful chemical for treating tap water, it can be harmful to your health, especially to the skin and lungs.

Installing a carbon filter in your home removes chlorine from the water making safe use. Your water conditioner will reduce the formation of limescale, slow down the rate of scale formation, or change the makeup of the scale, so it doesn’t adhere to the surfaces.

It will also improve the lifespan of your appliances. If you’re experiencing clogged drains and corroded pipes, you could benefit from a water conditioner. It can remove stains and prevent heavy limescale build upon surfaces. The TAC media in a salt-free conditioner can last for up to five years without needing a replacement. This makes it easy to operate and maintain.

Besides, the water conditioners are easy to install and do not need tanks for regenerating brine or control valves to monitor flow and cycles. These systems rarely require any service of a plumber.

When to install a water softener in your home

A water softener is a system that removes excess minerals like calcium and magnesium from the water and exchanges them with sodium ions in an ion exchange process. Water softeners have many benefits to homeowners and eliminate all the frustrations that come with using hard water.

No more frustrations in your laundry and shower

Water softeners can solve all issues with lathering when washing clothes and showering and reduces the cost of soap and detergent. If you ever noticed your white clothes taking on a yellowish look, you need to buy a water softener. Softened water also allows your other colors to remain vivid and bright as opposed to appearing dull and faded.

If you didn’t know, the calcium and magnesium in hard water negatively impact skin and hair, causing them to look dry and lifeless. A water softener is a remedy to this menace since you will have soft water flowing in your pipes.

The best water softeners remove the minerals in the water supply and improve the quality of your tapped water. Any high-quality inline water softener saves you on repair cost since you’ll no longer experience scaling in your pipes. Additionally, yellow or white spots on your drains will be a thing of the past if you invest in a water softener for your home.

Challenges of a home water softener

The downside for water softeners is that they are not easy to maintain and waste a lot of water. To understand this, let me explain to you how water softeners work. Water softeners have two compartments; a mineral tank full of resin beds, tiny beads, and a brine tank that stores and dissolves salt.

When hard water passes through the mineral tank, it releases the salt ions and replaces them with calcium and magnesium ions. The water flowing out of the system contains dissolved sodium chloride, which flushes out. That’s how you get your soft water.

To maintain the process, you have to regularly add salt to the water softeners to recharge the beads, and the ion exchange process can go on. Consequently, your water bills might go up since you must flush out the waste from the water softener.

The excess minerals put more sodium into the environment, which poses a hazard to the surrounding. Salt-based water softeners require regular maintenance and supervision. You must monitor the salt levels for the water softener to continue the softening process.

Conclusion

You don’t have to wait until hard water corrodes on your water systems. Replacing damaged or clogged plumbing lines can cost you a lot in terms of time and money. Again, a water conditioner vs. water softener decision doesn’t need to be complicated.

Ensure you get the right water treatment since not every system is fit for all households. As a rule of thumb, a water softener is perfect for your home if the hardness level is over 25-50 GPG. This kind of water is very hard and causes a lot of limescale, and adverse wearing out of your plumbing system.

You can use a hardness test kit to determine the GPG level for your water, and you can get the right system.

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You might need to use a water conditioner for waters with hardness levels of up to 25-50 GPG. This system is ideal for low to medium water hardness. If your main concern is something to protect your pipes from corrosion and scaling, you can go for a water conditioner.

Since the water filters do not remove the calcium and magnesium, you might encounter problems with lathering and scum on your bathing water. Salt-free water softeners will, however, make your drinking water safe. It is an appealing option for water treatment because of its low maintenance and is more economical than conventional water softeners.

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11 Water softener problems and solutions to try before calling a technician

You wake up one morning, and as you take your shower, you realize that your soap won’t lather and the water pressure is very low. You later you notice that your dishes look foggy after a thorough rinse. That’s when it hits you that your water is hard again, and you’re experiencing water softener problems.

Many cases of hard water coming from pipes result from an unidentified water softener problem. Before calling your technician, you might need to inspect the resin tank for any signs of a failed regeneration cycle. The drain hose should not be leaking, and you might need the check your salt levels.

Don’t panic. We are here to help you get your water softener running again. I hope this guide helps you answer some of the most common water softener problem questions.

Before we discuss on what could be causing issues in your softening system, you need first to understand the components of a water softener. You also need to know how these parts work harmoniously to give you soft water. This knowledge will help you know whether any of the parts is malfunctioning and what you need to do before thinking of repair or replacement.

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Parts of a water softener

Standard water softeners have three components which includes a control valve, a resin tank, and a brine tank. The whole system works together to remove minerals from water, control the flow of water, and clean the unit in what we’d call a regeneration process. Here are the major components of a water softener.

Resin tank

This is a chamber where the ion exchange process takes place in a water softener. Your main water supply feeds the mineral-laden water into the tank. The water then flows through a resin bed that exchanges the water minerals for sodium ions and soft water exits and flows to your pipes.

The control valve

The control valve consists of a meter that tracks the amount of water getting into the mineral tank and out into your pipes. Besides, it automatically initiates are generation process to clean the water mineral deposits on the resin beads.

When these beads reach their maximum capacity to soften water, a pre-programmed setting in the control valve initiates the cycle.

This is a small tank adjacent to the resin tank holding a high concentration salt or potassium solution to restore the charge on the resin beads.

You must add salt regularly since the water passing through the unit will not soften  if the brine tank runs out of salt. When the softening capacity of the resin beads reduces, heavy brine solution flushes through the beads and recharges the beads.

How a water softener works

Water softeners work through a process called ion exchange, which gets rid of calcium and magnesium from the hard water. When the water enters the mineral tank, it slowly moves through a bed of spherically shaped resin beads.

These polystyrene beads consist of sodium ions. These ions carry a negative charge while the calcium and magnesium ions carry a positive charge. So here is the deal, since opposite charges attract, the negative charge on the resin beads attracts the positive charge on the minerals.

As the water passes through the resin bed, it takes the sodium ions and leaves behind the calcium and magnesium ions on the resin beads. The resin bed strips all the minerals in the water and gives you soft water. The salt in the sodium ions then goes out as waste.

Water softener problems and troubleshooting

If your home water softener is faulty, it doesn’t give you access to soft water, and it also causes the pipes and plumbing to form scale. You need not worry since water softener troubleshooting is often easier than you would ever imagine.

This article aims at helping you identify the most common issues in water softening systems and how you can fix them quickly yourself. Here are the most frequent problems with a water softener.

1. Your salt tank is full of water

If your tank is full of water, you might be facing a problem with clogging or overflow, though there could be other related factors. When water gathers in your salt tank, check the water entry valve to make sure it’s not broken. A broken water valve stops water from flowing into the salt tank and causes the water to flood.

Again, if the float valve’s position is too high, excess water builds up, making it hard to release the water. You might try adjusting the valve to fix the problem.

2. Water is not flowing through the brine tank

If water fails to flow into the brine tank, your pipe water will not be soft. Your softener requires brine for regeneration. will not take place. You might want to find out what is preventing water from flowing through the brine tank.

Often, you will find scaling inside the tank and within the unit’s lines caused by the water minerals. The build-up can form salt bridges in the tank preventing your system from softening water. Salt bridges are hard crusts of salt that form in the brine tank.

You can sort out the issue by breaking salt bridge with a hard object.

3. Brown water flowing from the pipes

Brown water flowing out of your pipes can be alarming, especially if you’re already using a water softener in your home. Apart from a worn-out plumbing system, the accumulation of bacteria in your water softening system can be a cause of brown water.

You can sterilize the unit with hydrogen peroxide or chlorine if you have already checked your plumbing system to rule out the possibility of accumulated contaminants. You can call in the plumber for softener troubleshooting advice if these options fail.

4. Low water pressure

If you experience low pressure in your pipes, there could be sediment build up in any part of the water softener. You need to make sure you inspect the piping if you suspect blockage and allow the water to flow smoothly. Additionally, resin beads can sometimes break down.

If they don’t flush out of the tank, they can clog the system and reduce water pressure. You can replace the resin beads or flush out the entire system to remove those causing a blockage.

5. Salty taste in water

The taste for good drinking water should be plain and pleasant. If your tapped water has a yucky salty taste, it’s time to do a check on your water softener. While most water softeners use salt to remove the hardness in water, the processed water should never taste like salt.

There are myriad reasons why you could still have salt in your water. You might want to check whether the drain hose is clogged, meaning the system doesn’t flush out brine in the regenerating process. Also remember that if your water is very hard, it will most likely have high sodium content even after softening.

Besides, you need to make sure that the water softener timer is reading the correct time since wrong time setting might affect the regeneration cycle for your softener.

6. The motor doesn’t start

Like any other machine, the motor in a water softener can break down, causing the unit to stop working. Before you conclude, you might need to rule out any issues with your cables, and power source. If they’re functioning and still the motor doesn’t start, you can opt to replace the motor or buy a new system.

You can confirm whether the warranty that came with your unit still covers the machine before purchasing a new set.

7. Your softener fails to regenerate

A water softener can fail to regenerate for several reasons. The most common cause is if your timer is not functioning. If the regeneration timer is faulty, the machine can’t tell when it’s time to run its cycle. To check whether this is the issue, set the timer at a particular time and wait to see whether the system regenerates at the arranged time.

If it doesn’t, it means your timer needs replacing. If your machine has clogged parts, it might also fail to regenerate. You need to be sure that the tubes and drainpipes allow water to flush through the system.

8. Your softener makes an unusual noise

Water softeners should run quietly without any noticeable noise. The only noise you’re likely to hear is some humming sound during regeneration. However, the humming should be soft and consistent.

Any other strange inconsistent noise might signal that something is wrong. Most of the sounds coming from a softener result from clogged water valves, broken air valves, or a worn-out timer.

9. Make Sure The Bypass Valve Is Open

The bypass valve ensures water is always flowing through the system. If it is not open the flow of water will stop and the system will shut down. If your system stops running check to see if the bypass valve is closed.

10. Check The Power

Sounds simple but sometimes things aren’t properly plugged in and that can lead to the system not working. Check to make sure the unit is plugged into a live outlet and that it is getting enough power to operate the machine.

11. Make Sure There Is Enough Salt In The Brine Tank

This one is pretty self explanatory. If there is not enough salt in the brine tank it will not be able to do it job.

How do I reset my water softener?

When a water softener removes minerals from the water, the system regenerates by flushing sediments out of the tank and down the drain. Among other factors, the timing of the regeneration cycle depends on the hardness of the water. Your technician can calculate how often the system needs to regenerate and program it to run at scheduled times.

If you’re doing it yourself, follow the instruction on the user manual to reset the time. Typically, the system default is 2.00 am, but the clock should always read the current time of the day and not the regeneration time. This is something many people forget.

So if your system is supposed to regenerate at 2:00 am, the only way it knows it’s time to regenerate is if the timer is correct according to the current time. However, there are times when a water softener could require you to initiate a manual regeneration.

For instance, if you’ve had periods of heavy water usage in your house, it might be necessary to begin a manual regeneration of your softener. This will help your water softener to backwash and then recharge the salt treatment in the brine tank.

You need to remember that after a power outage or if your softener has been off for a cleaning session, your water softener’s clock could read the wrong time, and so you need to reset it. To set the softener to start a regeneration cycle, find the manual regeneration control button and press or turn it to ‘regen.’

If you can’t locate the button, take a look at the manual for your softener brand and model. The manual should indicate the location and function of each button and this may help you set your machine for regeneration.

You need to make sure that your brine tank has enough salt, if it doesn’t, fill it with salt and wait for at least two hours before regenerating. This waiting time allows the salt in the brine tank to dissolve and create the brine needed for regeneration.

How to maintain your water softener

Like any other machine, your water softener will work the best with the right maintenance. However, most of the modern water systems are mostly automatic, and they’re likely to operate for long without needing a lot of maintenance.

Perhaps the most basic way of maintaining a water softener is by adding the right kind of salt to your system. The amount of salt you need for your tank depends on many factors, including water usage in your household. There’s more to water softener maintenance than merely adding salt.

You need to maintain the levels of salt in the brine tank. As a rule of thumb, your tank should at least be halfway full with salt. Check the manual to make sure you’re using the salt that the manufacturer recommends for your machine.

When maintaining your brine tank, make sure you check for any salt bridge present. A salt bridge occurs when layers of salt form in your brine tank and prevent loose salt from mixing with the water below it.

Ensure you regularly check for any salt bridge since it affects the functioning of the softener. You can break this hard layer using something hard like a rubber mallet or pour hot water to make the breaking easier.

A water softener typically lasts for 15 years, but can last longer if you do proper maintenance. Ensuring your brine tank doesn’t run out of salt extends the life of the unit. Protecting the resin bed from over clogging with calcium, and magnesium ensures that your softener works without failing.

High levels of these wastes on your resin bed might give your water some foul odor and lower the ion exchange process’s performance.Resin cleaners enhance the regeneration cycle by removing the hardness-causing minerals covering the resin beads.

It’s good to note that if you’re working with heavily chlorinated water, the beads will exhaust quickly and might need regular replacement. It’s crucial to note that water with hardness levels of over 14 GPG might need more regular maintenance than moderate hard water.

Cleaning your water softener is a crucial part of protecting this precious gadget. Regular cleaning can solve most of the issues in the brine tank. The frequency for cleaning your system depends on how modern or old your softener is.

Some softeners need annual cleaning for proper functioning while others can go up to 10 years and still run smoothly. Additionally, it’s a good practice to adjust the bypass valve once in a while.The bypass valve is a rod that you can push to block the water flow.

Occasionally, you can twist the outtake and intake valve to the off position and turn them back to their default position. This helps ensure the valves remain in good condition. Remember, you need to check the nozzles and valves in the brine tank and in the resin system to avoid any clogging issues.

Bottom line

The most important thing you can do to ensure things run smoothly at home is making sure your softener is working properly. The good news is that most of the water softener problems you come across are easy to fix and don’t require a technician.

Remember a softener saves you costs on detergent and soap as well as protecting your appliances. Regular maintenance of the unit ensures it gives you service for years to come.

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Water Softener Maintenance Guide and Checklist

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How To Maintain A Water Softener System

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When it comes to maintenance water softeners tend to be very low key. After entering in your water hardness levels, setting the timing parameters for regeneration and making sure the salt is properly refilled, there really isn’t much else for you to do. The system will continue to do its job on complete autopilot.

Although water softener systems are considered low maintenance, there are a few things you can do to ensure the system continues to run smoothly for many years to come.

Test For Salt Bridges On A Regular Basis

Overtime, as water moves through the system, salt bridges start to form. A salt bridge is a hard crust that forms in the brine tank. Once the hard crust has formed it creates an empty space between the water and the salt.

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When this happens the salt is no longer able to dissolve in the water to make brine. As a result the resin beads will no longer be able to soften the water.

There are three main things that can cause bridging. Using the wrong type of salt, humidity and constant changes in temperature. If you know your water isn’t soft yet your salt tank is full, chances are you have a salt bridge.

The quickest and easiest way to test for a salt bridge is with the handle of a broom. Take the handle of the broom and push on the top of the salt. Be sure to use a bit of pressure so any salt that has solidified will break up.

Another more serious problem you may encounter is salt mushing. Salt mushing occurs when a sludge forms at the bottom of the brine tank due to dissolved salt recrystallizing. The sludge is a very thick layer of salt that prevents the system from properly going through the regeneration process.

As a result the water will remain hard and the tank will have a serious blockage. If you find you don’t have a salt bridge chances are your problems are being caused by salt mushing. In order to fix this issue you will need to drain all the water out the softener, dig out all the old salt and replace it with fresh salt.

The best way to avoid these salt issues is to invest in high quality salt pellets. Doing so will greatly reduce the potential for problems that have to do with salt bridging or salt mushing.

You should also avoid overfilling the brine tank with salt. By keeping it half full old salt won’t be able to stick to the walls of the tank. Last but not least make sure you keep a close eye on the humidity levels around the water softener. Too much humidity will lead to condensation which can cause a salt bridge to form.

Choose The Right Salt

When it comes to the type of salt you put in your water softener system you have three basic options to choose from. The first and least expensive option is rock salt. Rock salt has higher levels of impurities and can cause your tank to become muddy. When the tank becomes muddy the system will become less efficient.

The second type of salt is solar salt. When compared to rock salt, solar salt is much more soluble. It can be found in both crystal and pellet form. The third type of salt is evaporated salt. Of the three, evaporated salt is considered to the be the best option. It is the purest form of salt and is obtained through mining and evaporation.

When it comes to choosing the right salt, look for those that have higher purity. Higher purity salts don’t leave as much residue in the storage tank which means salt mushing and salt bridging are less likely to occur. High quality salts will help eliminate most bridging problems.

If you find you are having specific issues such as rust stains, look for salt products that address that specific issue.

Flush The Resin Bed A Few Times A Year

While salt will recharge the resin beads on a regular basis, it is still a good idea to flush the resin bed every few months using a water softener cleaner. This will ensure the system is always in top form and performing at optimal levels.

Over time, as you continue to use your water softener day in and day out, heavy metals, iron and a host of other organic compounds will pollute the system and cause it to become less efficient.

The best way to prevent this from happening is to manually regenerate the system by pouring water softener cleaner down the brine well. During the normal flushing process the cleaner will automatically get discharged.

By manually flushing the resin bed the resin will remain “clean” and able to properly do its job which is to absorb as much calcium and magnesium as possible.

Clean The Venturi Valve

The last thing you can do to maintain your system is clean the venturi valve. The venturi valve is responsible for creating the suction during the regeneration cycle. Because of this it’s easy for the valve to get clogged up with dirt and sediment making it impossible to do its job effectively.

Cleaning the venturi valve is imperative if you want the water softener to work properly. The good news is it’s quite easy to do and there are no special tools needed. All you have to do is unscrew the valve cover, remove all internal parts that are removable, wash them in soapy water and reconnect them to the system.

Do this twice a year and your system will continue running smoothly for many years to come.

How To Keep Your Water Softener Healthy

Let’s close out this guide by sharing a few simple tips that will help you keep your water softener running for a very long time. Knowing these for things will ensure your softener will continue operating and optimal levels for many years to come.

#1 – Know How Often You Need To Add Salt

In order for a water softener to work it must have some form of salt. It will either be sodium or potassium chloride. In or for the regeneration cycle to work you will need to add one or the other to the tank.

If the manual doesn’t tell you how much salt to add, look at these 4 key factors to figure it out:

#1 – What size is the brine tank?
#2 – What level of water hardness is in your area?
#3 – How many people live in your home?
#4 – How much water does your household consume on a regular basis?

If you have a large family chances are your household will use quite a bit of water on a regular basis. As a result you will need more salt than someone who has a smaller household. To help make this process easier newer model softeners have a control panel that tells you when you need to add salt and when you need to put the system through a regeneration cycle.

#2 – Know How Much Salt Should Be Kept In The Brine Tank

The brine tank must be filled a quarter of the way at all times. And for optimum efficiency you should be a maximum of six inches below the top of the tank. You always want the salt level to be a few inches higher than the salt level.

If the salt level seems low, the first thing you want to do is check to see if salt crust is sticking to the edges of the tank. If salt crusting is the case, find a stick to loosen it up and then remove them from the tank. If salt crusting is not the problem, add more salt to the tank.

#3 – Know How Much Salt Your Water Softener Needs To Function Properly

How much salt your water softener needs will depend on several things including what type of softener you are using as well as how much water your household uses. When buying a water softener make sure you use the tips outlined in this guide to ensure you get the right size softener. The average size family will use about 10 pounds of salt in a 7 day span.

#4- Know How Much Water Should Be In The Brine Tank

Generally speaking there will always be some water at the bottom of the brine tank. Keep an eye on it as it should never be more than 12 inches high.

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What size water softener for family of 4? Which do you need?

When deciding to buy a water softener one of the first things you should consider is size. The last thing you want to do is install a system that doesn’t meet the needs of your home.

To ensure this doesn’t happen to you, here are 4 steps that will help you get the right size water softener for your home.

#1 – Figure Out The Hardness Of Your Water

As previously stated, there are several different ways you can go about determining the hardness of your water. And while experts will often recommend test strips, there is a better and more accurate option.

The colorimeter is a very accurate instrument that can be used to determine water hardness. It works by allowing a light beam to pass through an optical filter. Once the beam passes through the filter it transmits either a color or a certain group of light wavelengths to a photodetector.

The photodetector will measure the information it receives and compare it with the amount of light that comes from a colorless sample. After all is said and done the colorimeter will be able to determine the hardness concentration in the water.

The great thing about a colorimeter is that it is very precise. The disadvantage however is that it is very expensive.

#2 – Figure Out How Much Water Your Household Uses

The next step in figuring out what size water softener you need is to determine the daily water usage in your home. The easiest way to do this is to look at the detailed section of your water bill. Look for the line that shows you how much water was used at your home during the current billing cycle.

Take that value and divide by the number of days in the month. This will tell you how much water is being used in your home on a daily basis.

Note: Consider looking at a bill for winter months when you would not have used water outside your home. This will give you a more accurate reading of water consumption.

If for some reason you are unable to find this information on your water bill, you can get a rough estimate by multiplying the number of people in your home by 80 gallons.

80 gallons is the average consumption of an individual in the United States.

1 gallon = 3.785 litres

#3 – Figure Out How Much Water Needs To Be Softened On A Daily Basis

Now that you know the hardness of your water and how much water your family uses on a monthly basis, the next step is to determine the daily softening needs of your home so you’ll know how big of a water softener you will need. The good news is figuring out this information is quite simple.

All you need to do is multiply your household’s daily water usage by the level of hardness in the water. The number you come up with will determine how much water in your home needs to be softened on a daily basis.

Keep in mind this measurement is in grains per day or GPD.

So for example, if your family of 4 uses 240 gallons of water and the level of hardness is 17, that means your system would need to be able to soften 4,080 grains per day, or 28,560 grains per week.

#4 – Choose The Right Water Softener Capacity

While most water softeners recharge anywhere between 16,000 and 64,000 grains per week, the exact number will vary based on model and manufacturer. Choose a softener that has a capacity closest to the one you calculated. If the value falls between two capacities, choose the one with the higher capacity.

When it boils down to it, what size water softener you need will depend on 4 key factors. How often you will use the system, what you will be using the system for, how many people will be using the system and how often the system regenerates.

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5 Water Softening Methods(Chemicals and ion exchange)

When looking at how water softeners work it is very important you also get an understanding of the various type of water softeners available on the market. Keep in mind there is no one size fits all. You have to choose the one that will work best for your home and your personal situation.

#1 – Salt Based Systems

Salt based water softener systems are the most popular systems on the market. For the most part they are designed to meet all of the water needs in your home. A typical salt based water softener system will use a principle known as ion exchange.

Ion exchange is a process in which the minerals that cause the water to be hard, usually this would be calcium and magnesium, are removed and replaced with other ions such as sodium and potassium.

Generally speaking there are two tanks attached to this kind of water softener. The first tank is the mineral tank, which is responsible for storing resin. The second tank is the brine tank and it is responsible for storing the salt. There is also a control system that can control everything.

In order for this system to work you will need to connect the main water supply line to the control valve. The control valve should be located at the top of the resin tank. As soon as water enters the tank it will be saturated with the resin beads.

Resin beads are able to attract mineral ions due to their negative electrical charge. Once the mineral ions have been attracted to the resin beads they will adhere to the surface and sodium ions will be released.

When the water reaches the end of the beads it will officially be soft water. It will then be pumped back into your home and ready to be used.

Over time the resin beads will become fully saturated with mineral ions and will need to be recharged. Once they are recharged they will be able to continue attracting mineral ions and exchanging them for sodium ions.

The good news is your water softener’s control system automatically controls the recharge cycle for you. Some systems which schedule it based on the amount of water that has passed through the system while others will schedule it based on a certain number of days that have gone by. Either way it’s not something you have to worry about manually doing.

Pros

With this type of water softener you would be able to produce enough soft water for your entire household. Since the main water source is treated every faucet in your home will have access to soft water.

As soon as you install this type of system you will immediately be able to see the difference in the quality of your water.

Cons

The biggest disadvantage to using this type of system is the salty water. When the system catches the minerals it also pushes salt into the main source of water. As a result the water will taste a little salty. For some people this is a problem.

Another disadvantage is the price. Even though they are some of the most popular systems available on the market, they are still quite pricey. You might just change your mind after seeing the price.

#2 – Salt Free Water Softener Systems

If having a high amount of salt in your water is a big concern, you may want to consider investing in a salt free water softener system. Salt free systems use potassium instead of salt.

And though salt will be replaced with potassium chloride, the process of removing minerals is the same. The minerals that cause hard water will attach to pellet beads and the beads will release potassium instead of salt.

Potassium chloride is an important mineral that occurs naturally in nature. It plays a huge role in the various functions of the body. Without it your muscles, organs and nerves will not function properly. However, being that potassium chloride can be found in a variety of different foods including fruits, vegetables and meat, people rarely find themselves in a deficit.

Pros

Similar to the salt based system, this system can also be used to soften the water for your entire home. This water is also considered healthy since it contains potassium chloride. If you are into health and fitness, this is the type of water you want to drink.

Cons

Potassium chloride is very expensive. Using it instead of salt can end up costing you three times as much. In some cases it will cost you even more than that. Another disadvantage, just like with the salt based system, is taste.

Potassium chloride has a very distinct taste. For some people the salty water is a much better option.

#3 – Magnetic Systems

Chances are you have never heard of magnetic water softening systems. That’s because these systems are very controversial and have yet to be proven as an effective way to treat hard water. Even still they are available on the market and something you should know about.

The goal of this type of water softener is to make lime molecules precipitate as round crystals. This will prevent the molecules from leaving deposits on surfaces.

Pros

With a magnetic system lime stains will be a thing of the past. Being that the system will make the minerals in the water unable to deposit, lime stains would not be an issue you would have to worry about.

Cons

Magnetic systems are not whole house systems. That means you will need more than one to meet the water demands of your home. They systems are also very controversial. Keep in mind they don’t actually remove hardness from the water.

#4 – Electronic Systems

These systems are very similar to the magnetic systems in that they create an electromagnetic field around the water pipes. This electromagnetic field will change the shape of the minerals in the water and prevent them from sticking to the surfaces they touch.

Pros

Electronic systems are both inexpensive and small. So not only will they save you money, but they will also help you save space.

Cons

This type of system does not completely remove lime scale buildup. It simply reduces it which means it can be a problem later on down the road.

#5 – Chelation Systems

There is a good chance you have never heard of this type of system. And that’s because they aren’t all that popular. Even still, we thought it was important to include it in this guide.

Chelation systems bind mineral ions in the water using a chelation agent. This causes the minerals to be suspended in the water and unable to stick to any surfaces.

Please note this type of system does not reduce the level of hardness in the water. It does however protect your faucets and appliances from free deposits. Just know scale deposits will form if water sits for too long.

Pros

With a chelation water softening system you don’t have to worry about scale forming on surfaces. This means all of your appliances will look and work better. They will also require less maintenance. Another advantage to using this type of system is price. Chelation systems are very affordable and great for those who are on a serious budget.

Cons

While this system prevents scale from forming on surfaces, it does not prevent scale from building up in areas where water just sits. This type of system can also be dangerous to your health because it uses chelation agents. When not stored properly some chelation agents can lead to health issues.