Whether or not you know exactly what it is, we’ve all heard the team “hard water” thrown about. Essentially, it’s water with a high level of minerals in it – usually magnesium and calcium that comes from limestone and chalk deposits. It can have some moderate health benefits, but can also cause some potentially serious problems to your plumbing.
That’s where your water softener comes in. Its brine tank fills up with water, where it saturates the untreated water with salt – also known as sodium. This newly saturated water passes through the resin tank where millions of polystyrene beads pull in the sodium molecules before any excess salt water is cleared out of the tank. Following this, the brine tank fills back up with hard water that passes through the resin tank. The polystyrene beads switch out the sodium currently attached to them with the magnesium and calcium found in the hard water until all of the sodium molecules are gone. This is when the whole process restarts – but not until the polystyrene beads are scrubbed clean and the wastewater is drained. Here are a few simple steps to make sure that your water softener is running at full strength:
- The Brine Tank: If you’ve been adding too much salt to your water softener, or if you’ve been adding it too often, a hard crust or dome of salt could form inside your water softener’s brine tank. Take a stick and break it up, then throw it away. You can clean up any remaining sediment with a shop vacuum, and use soap and water to give the rest of the tank a good scrub. Be sure to rinse it out before using it again.
- The Resin Bed: Depending on what minerals you have in your water, you may or may not face this issue. However, if your water contains iron, it will eventually foul up your resin bed and ruin its ability to remove hard water particles. To fix this problem, run some rust stain remover through the system, following the listed directions along the way. After this, clear out the wastewater by running your water softener through a manual regeneration – you can do this by finding the regeneration nob under the cover over the control valve. Take something like a flathead screwdriver to depress and turn the knob into the “Service” position.
- The Resin Tank Injector: Dirty salt can build up in the injector over time, and that sediment needs to be cleared out before the water softener is back in commission. First, shut off the water by engaging the machine’s bypass valve. After that, run the softener through a manual regeneration to relieve the water pressure. For the last step, take both of the caps off the softener’s head and clean out both the injector screen and injector.
If your water softener still won’t work properly after cleaning it out, it’s time to call in the professionals. Replacing the whole machine can cost upwards of $1,000, but a repair may only cost a fraction of that amount. At bluefrog Plumbing + Drain, our plumbers are ready to help any time of the day, any day of the year. You can find your nearest bluefrog Plumbing + Drain location through our map, or you can call us at 888-794-0341 to schedule your free home consultation.
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