Every complex appliance requires regular maintenance to perform efficiently, and water softeners are no exception. But, although a water softener works hard, it has relatively low maintenance requirements. With regular maintenance, you can keep the system working efficiently for longer and avoid an earlier than expected replacement. In this article, we will look at three ongoing maintenance tips for water softeners.
1. Check and Clean the Venturi Valve
The venturi and nozzle system is used to create the suction required to move the brine solution from the brine tank to the resin tank during regeneration. This valve is prone to clogs from contaminants in the water, including dirt, sand, sediment, and more. The valve needs to be clean or the water softener will not work as intended. To keep this component working properly, it should be checked and cleaned every six months. To start, unscrew the valve cover, remove the parts, clean them in softened, soapy water, dry them, and reassemble them.
2. Remove Salt Bridges
If a hard crust is formed in the brine tank, it can separate the water from the salt, and this is known as a salt bridge. The salt cannot reach the water, it doesn’t dissolve to create the brine, and this prevents the recharging of the resin media beads. An ion-exchange water softener cannot soften water without the brine solution. There are several possible causes, including temperature changes, high humidity, and using the wrong water softener salt. There can be a salt bridge even if the brine tank seems full, and you need to check inside the tank if your water is hard after softening. To remove a salt bridge, push on the salt layer with a long blunt object and break it apart. Work slowly to prevent damage to the brine tank, and swirl the salt around to dissolve it quickly.
3. Check for Salt Mushing
This is more serious than a salt bridge, mushing occurs when the salt recrystallizes on the bottom of the brine tank where it forms a thick sludge. This layer of salt prevents the water softening from regenerating properly, and a significant blockage is caused. If you check for a salt bridge and it won’t break apart, the root cause is probably salt mushing. To deal with this problem, you need to drain the water, dig out the salt mush and replace it with fresh water softener salt. The best way to prevent salt bridges and mushing you need to use high-quality salt pellets that are designed to dissolve quickly. Don’t overfill the tank with salt and if you keep it half full it will prevent the old salt from sticking to the brine tank walls. Finally, keep the humidity in the comfortable range to prevent a buildup of condensation in the brink tank, which causes salt bonding.
Using evaporated water softening salt is more expensive, but it’s worth the extra cost because it’s 99.99% sodium chloride and it’s extremely pure. This creates less residue to reduce salt bridges and mushing and to make maintenance easier.
Contact your local water treatment specialist to schedule regular maintenance to keep your water softener system working smoothly.
By EcoWater Systems.
EcoWater Systems of Nebraska is the largest water treatment company in the state and is a member of Water Quality Association.