The Importance of Water Softener Maintenance

the importance of water softener maintenance

Like any machine, water softeners can experience problems. Homeowners can keep their appliances running smoothly for longer with just a bit of routine maintenance. It not only saves money but also ensures a happy and stress-free home.

When problems occur, however, they can be challenging to detect. That is why having your water softener serviced by a professional is essential.

Regular Maintenance

Water softeners help to protect your home from challenging water-related issues like scale buildups, dry skin and hair, clogged pipes, soap scum residue, and more. These devices work well in the background, with little to no direct intervention from you, making them easy to forget until there is a problem. Like any equipment in your home, your water softener requires regular maintenance to work correctly.

A water treatment professional can help maintain your water softener, extending its lifespan and ensuring optimal performance for your family. A preventive maintenance plan can save money by identifying minor issues that might go unnoticed and become more expensive.

Having your water softener regularly recharged with the correct salt can help to improve its performance. A water treatment specialist can check the salt levels in your brine tank, ensuring they are never too low or too high – which could negatively impact your water softener’s regeneration process. They can also thoroughly clean your brine tank to eliminate any buildup that could create “salt bridges” if left unchecked, which can block the resin beads and limit their ability to regenerate.

Routine maintenance visits can detect such problems, allowing you to address them before they worsen and potentially shorten your water softener’s lifespan.

Other common indicators that you need to schedule a water softener maintenance service include:

  • Increased water bills without additional usage.
  • A buildup of white.
  • Chalky deposits on your fixtures and appliances.
  • A sudden decline in the quality of your home’s water.

A water treatment specialist from New Braunfels water softener repair company can diagnose these issues and perform any necessary services to restore the functionality of your system, keeping it in good working condition for as long as possible.

Clean the Brine Tank

Keeping your brine tank clean is essential to maintaining the function of your water softener. It’s important to clean it regularly to prevent the buildup of salt crystals and a hard crust known as a “salt bridge.” These bridges will not only inhibit the effectiveness of your water softener, but they can also cause damage to the resin beads inside.

The best way to avoid salt bridges is to clean the tank thoroughly before it gets too full. To do this, first drain the tank. The grid plate and brine well can be removed from the tank’s bottom, and the water can then be emptied using a bucket. When the tank is light enough to lift, please remove it from the connection and pour the rest of the solution down a drain.

It’s a good idea to empty the brine tank when it is about one-third complete, making it easier to clean. Next, follow your system’s manufacturer’s instructions for putting the water softener into a bypass mode. It will redirect water away from the tank and make it much easier to access for cleaning.

Once the tank is drained, rinse the salt and sediment using a garden hose. Remove as much of the sludge as possible with a hose to lift it easily when you’re ready to dump and scrub.

After rinsing the tank, it’s important to scrub it down to prevent any bacteria from growing inside. You’ll need a large bucket of warm, soapy water for this. Scrub the tank with a brush dipped in the solution, carefully getting into the tight spaces. After you’re done, rinse and repeat the cleaning.

If you notice that there is still a lot of iron and rust in the brine tank, you can use an iron-removing cleaner. These products will cause any iron and rust to become water soluble so that they can be flushed from the system. You can find these products at your local home improvement store. Follow the product’s instructions closely to ensure you use it correctly.

Change the Filter

Like the air and fuel filters in your home’s HVAC system, your water softener’s pre-filter should be cleaned or replaced regularly. The exact interval depends on the type of filter you have and household water usage, but most filters can be expected to expire in about 3-6 months.

When the time comes to change your water softener filter, make sure to contact a certified professional. They will recharge the resin beads, clean your brine tank, and sanitize the softener, but ensure that the valve settings are optimized to save you money. A water treatment specialist is familiar with every aspect of your system, so they can identify issues that may go unnoticed by non-professionals.

Your water softener uses an ion exchange process to remove hardness-causing minerals from your home’s plumbing, exchanging them for sodium or potassium ions. When water flows through your softener, it passes through a resin bed that attracts and retains calcium and magnesium. The softened mineral ions are then replaced by the salt molecules in the brine solution, and conditioned water exits the tank.

Water softeners that are not regularly serviced can experience a variety of problems. If the softener’s resin beads become contaminated or clogged, they can lose their ability to treat your water. This results in the symptoms you’re likely familiar with: spots on dishes, scaly skin, and irritated eyes, not to mention stiff, dry, and brittle hair.

The hardened minerals left behind in the softener can cause several problems for your home’s pipes, including rust and corrosion. They can even lead to elevated copper levels in your drinking water, which have been linked to health problems like dementia and heart disease.

Water softeners that are not properly maintained can also waste water and salt, leading to higher energy bills. Fortunately, you can avoid these costly consequences by regularly inspecting and servicing your water softener. 

Schedule an Inspection

A water softener is a device that removes minerals like calcium and magnesium from your home’s water supply. It does so by altering the chemical makeup of those minerals, making them unable to build up in your plumbing. Water softeners offer several other benefits, including cleaner laundry, healthier skin and hair, and more. However, your water softener can only be effective if properly maintained and regularly inspected.

A professional can help you maintain your water softener to ensure it works properly. Regular inspections can help prevent a major breakdown or even failure. Getting routine maintenance from an experienced technician can also save you money.

During a routine inspection, a professional will clean your water softener brine tank to ensure it is free of salt deposits and other debris. They will also check that the resin bed is clean and recharging correctly. The resin bed can become coated with mineral deposits that reduce its effectiveness. Cleaning the resin bed with a special resin cleaner can keep it in good condition.

Other essential parts of a maintenance plan include checking the venturi valve to ensure it is not blocked or clogged with debris. The venturi valve is an integral part of your water softener’s operation, and a blockage could cause it to fail.

It is also a good idea to read the user manual that came with your water softener and familiarize yourself with its controls and settings. Experimenting with the controls can indicate how your specific unit works, and it is a great way to learn about your water softener’s different features and functions.

Another critical aspect of a maintenance plan is ensuring you use a suitable water softener salt for your particular system. Using salt when dealing with your system is essential, as using the wrong type can cause damage. It may also lead to a buildup of minerals inside the plumbing that can restrict flow rates and decrease water pressure. Additionally, it can cause your plumbing to corrode and contribute to elevated copper levels in your drinking water.