If you have problems with an elevated level of minerals that cause water hardness, a water softener can change your life for the better. Softened water is better for bathing, washing, showering, laundry, and cleaning task because it doesn’t leave behind that hard mineral residue that’s hard to clean. Water using appliances are more efficient when they use soft water, they are less likely to break down, and they typically last longer. A water softener needs regular maintenance like any piece of equipment to keep it running well. Many of these maintenance tasks are easy to do yourself, but if you notice discolored water or low pressure issues, there may be a problem in the water softener drain line.

What is the Water Softener Drain Line?

The water softener removes the minerals that cause hard water, such as calcium, magnesium, and to a lesser extent, iron. This process involves removing a tiny quantity of this material from the incoming water supply. This mineral material is trapped in a bed of resin in the water softener, and the debris eventually settles at the bottom of your brine tank. After a set number of gallons has been cleaned, the water softener will regenerate or clean itself by flushing away this mineral content. This dirty, mineral rich water is then flushed away into the water softener drain line and out of your home.

A Drain Line Blockage

As the mineral rich water is flushed away, it will leave behind a residue of debris on the interior surface of the drain line. Over time, more mineral content will be added to this debris as the water softener undergoes repeated regeneration cycles. The drain line will become progressively smaller and draining the water away will become harder. Eventually, the water softener drain line will become blocked, and the water will back up into the home and cause flooding inside your water softener. This can damage the resin bed resulting in a repair bill and in extreme cases, the entire bed may need to be replaced.

Inferior Drain Line Problems 

Most drain lines are made from polypropylene with a ½” diameter making it flexible and yet rigid enough to maintain a connection. Some people choose to save money by purchasing a Big Box Water Softener and the requisite installation kit. Unfortunately, these products use a very soft plastic clear or green colored drain line that is simply not good enough for a water softener drain line. These drain lines typically fail after a short time, and this can result in some of the problems discussed earlier in this article.

What is the Solution?

It’s a better idea to plumb the water softener drain line with a PVC or UPVC line that will stand the test of time. These drain lines will not collapse, and they are hard to knock off their drain connections. This type of drain line could even last for up to 25 years, and it’s a far better solution in the long term. Finally, it’s a good idea to schedule some regular annual maintenance for your water softener to ensure that it’s working efficiently.

By EcoWater Systems.
EcoWater Systems of Nebraska is the largest water treatment company in the state and is a member of Water Quality Association.