Water Softener Maintenance
Purchasing and installing a softening system is the first step in eliminating the effects of hard water in the home. While products generally do not require a lot of upkeep, there are a few water softener maintenance requirements that should be performed in order to ensure that a salt-based product continues to function. The systems that are commonly being used today have been designed to be relatively hands-off and should not require a significant amount of time or effort to operate.
There are numerous salt-based and salt-free softening systems presently available on the market today. In general, a product that uses salt to remove hardness causing ions such as magnesium and calcium will need to have the salt replenished every couple of months in order to continue working properly. Most systems that do not use salt require little if any ongoing water softener maintenance. Because of the variety of products being used, it is recommended that homeowners ask a certified installation specialist about the upkeep during the purchase and installation process. Most companies will also provide the client with ongoing support in the event that something goes wrong with the product or the homeowner is in need of troubleshooting assistance. The product’s user manual is also an excellent source of information that may answer the questions that an individual has.
Salt is an important component of most softening systems that is used to pull dissolved ions out of the water so that they cannot exert their hard water effects in the home. A surplus of salt is typically stored in a tank that connects directly to the tank containing the resin bed and controlled by the computerized processing head. Since salt is consumed during the regeneration process, it needs to be replenished before it is depleted for the system to continue working. It is often recommended that salt be replenished at the point when water is visible in the brine tank. This water softener maintenance requirement is usually one of the only steps that must be performed in order to continue enjoying the many benefits of softened water. It is very important to purchase salt that is specifically designed for softeners since it is free of foreign particles that could damage the product. Grocery and home supply stores across the US sell bags containing 40 pounds of salt designed for softening systems.
Filter Cartridge Replacement
In addition to salt replenishment, there are a handful of other water softener maintenance activities that may need to be performed on a less frequent basis. Most salt-based systems are installed along with a filter that is separated from the two main tanks and is designed to remove solid materials in the water before it reaches the softening system. This is meant to prevent damage to the system, but it may also require that the filter be switched out on an occasional basis.
Households that use a large volume of water or that have relatively high concentrations of particles coming from the source will likely need to replace the filter more often than those using less water or who have fewer particles coming from the source. Replacement requires that the feed water be switched off and the system depressurized. Once this has been accomplished, the old cartridge can be replaced with a new one and the system can be reset before turning the feed water back on. Due to variations in system requirements, it is recommended that the owner’s manual be reviewed in detail before changing of the cartridge.
Iron and Salt Bridge Removal
Some other important points about water softener maintenance that should be addressed include the cleaning of iron from the resin bed, removal of a salt bridge, and sanitizing the system in the event of a compromised bacteriological source. Homeowners who do experience high levels of iron in their water will need to be aware that iron can prevent the resin bed from functioning properly over time. In order to counteract the effects of iron, it is usually recommended that salt containing an iron cleaning additive be used in place of the standard softening salt. Alternatively, an iron cleaning agent in powder form can be added to the brine tank along with standard softening salt.
Professional installers and sales companies can provide additional insight for those who are having problems with iron. Another important point of interest for homeowners is the bacteriologic safety of the water supply. Most softening systems have been designed to work with safe water supplies and should be bypassed in the event of a local boil alert or positive bacteria test. Once the safety of the water has been confirmed, the water can be redirected through the softening system and a qualified technician can be contacted to learn more about the need for sterilization of the product following the exposure to a bacterial contamination.
A salt bridge occurs when salt in the brine tank solidifies and prevents the system from regenerating. Situations that may encourage the formation of a bridge include high levels of humidity, use of potassium chloride, or low levels of salt and water use. Homeowners who have discovered a salt bridge in the brine tank might be able to resolve the problem by breaking up the salt with a stick or handle. The systematic replenishment of salt along with constant water usage should minimize the chances of a bridge and a professional can be contacted in the event that this situation occurs. In the event that the storage tank completely runs out of salt before being replenished, a manual regeneration cycle might need to be completed after replacing the salt in the brine tank. Since this process varies from one product to another, it is important to consult the manual before taking action.
Saltless Softening Systems
Individuals who plan to use a salt-free product should consult the user manual to learn about ongoing water softener maintenance. Systems may use a filtration mechanism that requires the homeowner to replace the cartridge on a scheduled basis, but many products have very few moving parts. Problems that occur outside of those listed above may require the attention of a certified softener specialist and it is highly recommended that the owner avoid a complex maintenance or repair project.
January 15, 2015 / Brian / 0
Categories: Water Softener Maintenance