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Water Softener Maintenance – The 9 Must Do’s

water softener maintenance
Written by Warner Levit

Water softeners don’t require a great deal of maintenance, but it’s better not to take it for granted. You can follow some basic water softener maintenance rules to keep the softener going smoothly. The right method of water softener cleaning will help it operate at high efficacy. If you’re wondering how to clean and maintain a water softener, keep reading to know the most efficient ways.

Water Softener Maintenance: 5 Tips on Prolong Your Softener’s Life

Prolong Your Softener’s Life

You can enhance the efficiency and longevity of your best water softener very easily if you comply with the right care and maintenance activity. A water softener may malfunction for many reasons. Go through the following steps to learn how to clean a water softener and get rid of these unexpected issues as soon as they appear. Besides, you can adopt a preventive maintenance task to avoid such troublesome situations.

1. Clean the Salt Tank

Most of the modern water softeners are very low-maintenance, and the brine tank needs through cleaning roughly once or twice a year. Clean the tank when there is no significant amount of salt in the tank. Thus, you don’t need to worry about scooping the salt out to make it lightweight.

Break up the hard crust or dome that grew strong inside the tank. You can use a broomstick to get rid of the sediment. You can follow the user manual of the respective company to avoid any further nuisance. Rinse the brine tank with soap and water once the sediment is cleaned thoroughly.

2. Clean the Resin Bed

Untreated water often comes with a higher level of iron which must undergo the water softener system. For this reason, the resin bed gets attacked with the iron as it replaces the iron compound with sodium. Resin beds are more at risk and need to be checked every other month for good quality water.

The prolonged exposure of iron, heavy metals, silt, and other organic chemical compounds are threatening to the water softener, and they harm the efficacy of the softener.  You can prevent this potential problem by regenerating the system manually with the help of a water softener cleaner.

Pour the water softener cleaner into the salt tank and flush the resin bed accordingly. Thus, the resin bed becomes competent to absorb and clean iron, magnesium, and calcium to a great extent.

3. Clean the Venturi Valve

Dirty salt can cause the development of sediment in the resin tank injector. The venturi valve and nozzle perform the suction process to move salt from the salt tank to the resin tank when the regeneration cycle goes on. Sometimes, this valve gets clogged with sediment, sand, and dirt.

Decrease the water force by controlling the water flow at first. Then, unscrew the venturi valve cover then remove the inner parts to give them a thorough cleaning with soapy water. You don’t need to clean this tank injector more than twice a year unless an issue arises in between this time period.

4. Remove Salt Bridging

Salt bridges may form in your water softener with the passage of time. This depends on some common reasons, such as using the wrong type of salt, variety in temperature, the humidity level of the atmosphere. If you don’t get soft water despite having a functional water softener, chances are there the softener have developed a salt bridge.

Break up the solidified salt with gentle pressure using a long and sturdy stick. Inspect the brine tank to find out if there is any salt mushing. It occurs when a thick and soft viscous mixture of liquid and solid components develop in the brine tank. You can repeat the process, as stated in step 1 of cleaning water softener to get rid of all these nuisances. And, choose a premium quality salt to avoid such potential problems.

5. Sanitize the Water Softener

Sanitizing a water softener is very important as it is directly related to our health. The salt tank and resin are likely to get contaminated with different biological organisms such as bacteria and other microbes. They can penetrate the water supply at any stage of the water softening process before reaching the core softening unit.

Moreover, sulfur, iron, and other contaminants promote infestation. You can determine these issues by examining the color, taste, odor, and density of the water.

That’s why one should sanitize the water softener after cleaning it thoroughly each time. You will have your question, “Can I put bleach in my water softener?replied here. The best way to sanitize a softener is to use two ounces household bleach along with three gallons of normal water. You should use unscented bleach if possible.
Keep the mixture uninterrupted for fifteen to twenty minutes to demolish any mildew or mold. Then rub the surfaces with a soft brush. Dispose of the mixture and clean the inside of the softening unit with soap and clean water.
The bleach can produce complete sterilization if you let it deal with the resin for an extended period of time. Don’t forget to clean the residue from the resins bed to avoid further contamination. You should use at least seventy-five gallons of clean water for each cubic foot to eliminate the disinfection byproducts.

Regular Water Softener Maintenance Tips

Water Softener Maintenance

Regular maintenance is the key to have a fully functional effective water softener. One can get the best out of their softening unit by maintaining the following simple steps minutely.

1. Check the Salt Level Regularly

Salt works as the striking force to soften the hard water. So, checking the salt level is the prerequisite to having an effective water softener. Check the inside of the brine tank after each four or six weeks. Don’t keep the salt too full. We recommend keeping it less or equal to the half level. Don’t wait for any issues to arise to check the salt level. Do it on a regular basis to prevent any potential problem.

2. Choose the Right Kind of Salt

Try to use the salt dedicated to being used in water softening task. There are many types of salts available out there. Any kind of it won’t work well for the softening job. Rock salt, solar salt and evaporated salt are the main variants of water softening salt which comes in the shape of pellets, cubes, or crystal.

Rock salt contains more dirt that may result in a filthy tank. Solar salt is better than the rock salt being more soluble and cleaner. But evaporated salt is the best to be used in water softening. It comes in both crystal and pellet form with more than 99% sodium.

You can use any of the pellets, crystal, or cubes as per your preference. But, it’s better to use a compatible type of salt as per directed in the manual by the manufacturer. So, take help from the user manual for the best result.

3. Inspect the Softener Every Few Months

It’s not enough to check the salt level and salt type only, the whole water softening unit needs to be inspected every few months for better performance. Especially, look for the salt bridging and contaminating element during the inspection. Take action if If any issue arises regarding these things.

4. Add a Pre-Filter

The untreated water may contain sludge and sediment in the water and consequently affect the efficiency of your water softening system. It may clog the gaskets, seals, and other small ports. You can install pre-filtration to enhance the longevity and performance of your water softening unit. This is a crucial part of the water softener maintenance process.

Water Softener Maintenance: Call in a Professional When Necessary

Don’t opt to do it all yourself if you aren’t confident and sure about what you are doing. You can contact licensed plumbers who are expert in plumbing, sewer and drain needs. You can choose from the top-notch plumbers certified by your state who wouldn’t drain your money. There are also 24/7 plumbing services available in some states. You can easily get them at your doorstep when needed.

A brine tank and resin bed are the basic components of a water softener. If you clean these two parts regularly, you are halfway done for the water softener maintenance activities. Try the steps as mentioned earlier when you see any malfunctions affecting the efficiency of your water softener. Consult a professional if the problems seem to be complicated for you.

About the author

Warner Levit

Water Filtration Expert

As a trained chemist and an independent researcher I started working on a portable water filter project as part of my business plan. While carrying out my research, I got involved with FaucetsReviewed. My fields of expertise include environmental science, biochemistry and water purification chemistry. Apart from contributing to this website, I’m currently working on my book “Water Filtration Science”. It will be published soon. I grew up in California, and completed my postgraduate degree from the University of California-Berkeley. I also work as a private counselor on the household water management system.

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