Discover 7 helpful tips for properly maintaining your water softener system. Get softer water now; find out how.
7 Tips for Properly Maintaining Your Water Softener System
Water softener systems are relatively low maintenance, but with a few simple maintenance tips, you can help your system last even longer and run better.
1. Choose the Right Salt for Your Water Softener and Make Sure It's Topped Up
One of the best things you can do to keep your water softener well maintained and working properly is to use the the right kind of salt. There are 4 different kinds of salt that you can choose for your water softener system:
Rock Salt: This type of salt costs the least, however, it probably isn't the best choice for your system. This is because it contains impurities that, over time, can result in a very muddy tank. Your water softener will be less efficient and you will get more impurities in your water.
Solar Salt: Solar salt is a lot more soluble than rock salt. Solar salt is made by evaporating seawater to get the salt it contains. You can get solar salt in both a pellet and crystal form. Pellets are the better option as they are larger and they don't clog up your system like the crystals can.
Water softener salt pellets are much larger than
normal table salt
Evaporated Salt: You get evaporated salt by either mining it or evaporating it. This is the purest form of salt and is your best option for you water softener system. Evaporated Salt is 99.99% sodium chloride, so it is the purest salt you can buy and has almost no impurities.
Potassium Chloride: Potassium Chloride isn't really salt, however, it will work like salt in your water softener. It is the most expensive type of softener salt. It may still be a good option for people who really need to restrict their sodium intake in their diet.
When purchasing salt, look for a purity level that is the closest to 100%. The purer the salt, the fewer maintenance issues you will have such as salt bridges, salt mushing, and sediment build-ups.
Top it up: It is a good idea to check your salt levels about once per month. You should always have at least one quarter of a tank of salt in your system at all times. Don't fill it up too full though. Fill it only to about one half to three quarters of a tank.
2. Break up Salt Bridges in Your Softener
Sometimes you may get a hard crust forming in your brine tank which makes a empty space between the water and the salt. This is known as a salt bridge.
Salt bridges stop your salt from dissolving into the water to form a brine that is necessary to coat your resin beads and soften your water. To learn more about how your water softener works, click here.
To get rid of a salt bridge, do the following:
Take a long broom handle or other long piece of metal or wooden object and push it down to the bottom of the tank, through the bridge
Move the handle around the centre of the tank, breaking up the bridge
Pour hot water over the bridge if you find that it is difficult to break up
Tip: Using less salt and allowing the salt to go down lower before you fill it again, may help to decrease salt bridges.
3. Dissolve Any Mush the You See
You may notice that you get a mushy pile of salt collecting at the bottom of your tank, This "mush" can cause the water around it to rise instead of mixing in. There are a couple of things that you can do to help get rid of this mush.
Break it up: Using a long object or broom handle, break up the mush
Dissolve it: You can also scoop out the mush and then add some hot water to it to dissolve it. Once it is dissolved, pour it back into the tank.
Break up any mush or salt bridges with a broom or other long handled object - Image Source: This Guy (youtube video)
4. Schedule Regular Cleanings
If you own a modern water softener, you will only need to clean it once every 5 to 10 years. Older units, however, should be cleaned every year. If you find that your water has turned hard and clearing out salt bridges and mush doesn't fix the problem, clean out your tank by doing the following:
Empty the Water and Salt from the Tank: You need to either siphon or dump all of the water out of your tank and then discard any excess salt. If you have any remaining blocks or bridges, dissolve them with hot water. If your softener has a brine grid (a mesh platform at the base of the brine tank) remove it before you start cleaning.
Clean the Interior: Pour 4-8 litres of water with lots of dish soap in the tank. Take a brush with a long handle and scrub all the sides and bottom of the inside of the tank.
Rinse the Tank: Dump out all of the soapy water and then rinse the inside with clean water.
Disinfect with Bleach: Next, mix 1/4 cup of household bleach with 8-11 litres of water and pour it into the tank. Carefully stir the bleach solution around and then let it sit for about 15 minutes. Dump out the bleach solution and then rinse the tank again with clear water.
Refill Your Tank: Fill up your tank with salt and water as normal. It is a good idea to wait for a few hours before starting the regenerating cycles again, as the salt will need time to dissolve into the water.
Clean the inside of your water softener every 5 to 10 years.
5. Exercise the Valves in Your Softener
To keep the valves in your softener in good working order, you should "exercise" them once a month.
There is a rod on your softener that you can push in to block the water flow. This is called the bypass valve.
Twist the intake and outtake valves to the off position and then back again to its original position. Moving the valve in this way will keep them functioning properly.
6. Check to See if the Power is On and if You Have the Time Set Properly
If your water seems to be hard, check to make sure that your water softener’s power is still on. It may have come unplugged, or a breaker might have switched off and you may need to reset it.
You also may have to adjust the time for regeneration if you find that your water usage has increased. Your water softener system may need to regenerate more often to compensate for the increased demand for water.
Call the experts at WaterSmart if you are having trouble with your water softener system
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