Many of us live in hard water areas where the water contains high concentrations of hardening minerals, such as calcium, magnesium, and others. Hard water can cause a buildup of limescale in your plumbing system, and it will affect how well your soap and detergent can form a lather. If this sounds familiar, you may be considering or have already installed a water softener. This appliance works hard, and like any piece of complex equipment, it will need some occasional maintenance to work efficiently. Here are three ways that you can keep your water softener working well.
What is a Water Softener?
This is a fantastic appliance that will save you money because you will need less detergent and it will reduce the build up of limescale in your plumbing fixture, pipes, and water using appliances. It exchanges softer sodium ions for the ions that make your water hard and difficult to use. People that install a water softener report that they use less soap, their appliances use less energy, their water using appliances and systems have longer lifespans, and even their hair and skin feel better after showering. A water softener has two main components, the resin tank, and the brine tank. Certain models combine both tanks together, and others have separate tanks, and both of them require regular maintenance to work well.
- Maintain Salt Levels
It’s essential to maintain the correct levels of brine in your tank. The salt should not be overfilled, and it shouldn’t be allowed to run out of salt. If the salt is overfilled, it can create a salt bridge or clog inside the brine tank. This is a buildup up of caked salt that is located above the water level, and we will look at this in more detail next. When you look at your salt level wait until it’s gone down to about a fourth of a tank and then top it up. The water softener manual will tell you which salt you need to add, and this should be carefully followed. The most common type of salt used is granular because it’s easy to dissolve in water.
- Break up Salt Bridges
As we mentioned above, an excessive amount of salt in the brine tank can form a salt bridge. The loose salt above cannot mix into the water below, and then water softener cannot work correctly. Breaking up the salt bridge is easy; get a long broom handle and carefully use it to break apart the caked on salt. Move the handle around carefully and go right down to the bottom of the brine tank. This will make the water rise, and then the salt can mix in and dissolve.
- Clean the Tank
The tank needs to be kept clean; a modern system may only need to be cleaned every 5-10 years. It’s only necessary to clean these models if the water has become harder and some basic maintenance has not fixed the problem. Older water softeners should be cleaned annually to keep them working well. Simply empty out the water, then scrub the tank with a soft brush and dish soap, then rinse it with clean water and then refill it.
If you’re interested in installing a water softener or you need some essential maintenance, get in touch with a local water treatment professional, and they will be able to help.
By EcoWater Systems.
EcoWater Systems of Nebraska is the largest water treatment company in the state and is a member of Water Quality Association.