A water softener represents a significant investment, and yet many homeowners don’t schedule regular annual maintenance for their systems. If your water softener is failing, it’s risky to use, the hard water will return and other systems in the home can be affected. In this article, we will take a closer look at how you can be sure that your water softener is working as intended.

How to Check if the Softener is Working?

Under normal operating conditions the water softener works virtually quietly in the background and you don’t tend to notice it working. So, it’s easier to check that the system is working rather than not working. Here are four signs to look out for to confirm that everything is working normally.

1.   Soap Lather

Soft water is easy to lather, and if you’re using more soap, this is a good indicator that something is wrong. To test this theory, add a couple of drops of pure soap to a clear plastic bottle and shake it vigorously. If the bottle is filled with soap suds, the water is soft, and the system is working as intended.

2.   Laundry Results

When you wash fabrics in soft water, you can use less detergent and set the temperature lower. But, if your clothes are feeling stiff and scratchy, this is good evidence that the water softener has stopped working.

3.   Limescale Formations

One of the more annoying characteristics of hard water is the formation of limescale on plumbing fixtures, inside pipes, bathroom tiles, sinks, toilets, and other locations. Limescale is a hard and dirty looking mineral compound that’s tricky to clean without white vinegar soaking. If you’ve noticed that these areas are harder to clean, this may demonstrate that you’re using hard water.

4.   The Taste Has Changed

When you drink soft water, it has an unusual taste that lacks the mineral grit that you find in hard water. After they’ve been drinking soft water for a while, many people notice that hard water has a harsh and salty taste. This is caused by the presence of dissolved minerals, and it’s a good indicator that the water is hard.

Adopting Maintenance Routines

To avoid an unexpected switch to hard water, it’s a good idea to adopt a proactive approach toward routine maintenance and regularly scheduled servicing. The water softener filters need to be changed regularly, and the system should not run out of regenerate. In the brine tank, look for signs of salt bridging. This salty crust prevents the water from reaching the salt, and brine is not produced for the regeneration cycle. Only refill the salt when it’s around ⅓ full, and use good quality water softening salt.

How Long Does a Water Softener Last?

If your water softener is regularly maintained, it can last 10-15 years. But, in reality, it’s pretty rare to encounter a water softener that’s still working well with a double digit age. If you want to keep your system working at optimal performance, you need to schedule annual maintenance.

If you’re concerned about the performance and efficiency of your water softener, contact your local water treatment specialist.

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