Water softeners are your line of defense against hard water. Hard water possess various challenges when it comes to washing clothes as it does not lather easily, causes skin dryness and itchiness.
There instances where your only option of clean water is well water, this kind of water contains various hard water minerals like calcium and magnesium. It will also have significant amounts of sulfur that gives your water a foul smell. If there is iron present then you are going to experience water with a metallic taste.
Water softeners are your way to clean and odor free water. However, there moments they can develop issues. The basic mechanism for a salt water softener consists of resin tank, brine tank and control valve. Sodium ions will be exchanged for magnesium and calcium ions. This fill up in the resin tank which is regenerated occasionally with more brine. The control valve unit will monitor your water usage and initiate automatically the regeneration process.
Hardness level of output water
One of the first tests you perform on your water softener is the content of hard water minerals. You will need a tester to check for the presence of calcium carbonate. If the concentration is high then your softening unit is not working effectively. The recommended concentration of calcium carbonate in soft water is 60 mg/l. If you get a reading of 60-120 mg/l then you have moderately hard water while levels higher than 180 mg/l your water is considered hard. High levels could be an indication that your salt levels are low.
Before you can diagnosing for softener problems ensure that all connections are correctly paired together. Also, check that your digital unit is displaying something instead of reading blank. Your plumping should also be well connected to the softener systems.
Water softeners work through a system of ionization where the hard mineral ions are exchanged for salt ions. The brine tank is the one that feeds sodium/salt to the system. If the process is going as expected then first check whether your brine tank has enough salt. There also cases when the salt bridge settles at the bottom of the brine tank. If you find a hard salt crust at the bottom of the tank then use something string to break it.
Water softener is not regenerating
There many issues that can lead to your water softener from regenerating. If you have a timed meter then check whether the timer is misconfigured. Other problems will include motor failure, drain hose blockages, excess water in the brine tank, salt mushing or contaminated resin bed.
Blocked drain hose: A blocked drain hose will hinder the regeneration process. Firstly, it prevents your salt water from been properly washed. Check the hose and remove the hindrance. Also, check the position of the hose so that it is not in an elevated position.
Misconfigured timer: There two ways that regeneration occurs in water softeners. Timed and metered. In the timed one the regeneration process will be initiated during certain predefined cycles like days or weeks. In the metered one the control unit will check your daily usage and then automatically initiate the regeneration process. If you are having issues with the regeneration process check the timer or control valves. The only solution for this is to replace them.
Clogged brine Injector: There are various contaminants in the softener unit. These may find itself into the brine injector hence preventing the efficient supply of brine. Most of these debris are salt deposits.
Problems with water softener not filling
The regeneration process can be affected by the amount of water entering the brine tank. The problem is not the amount of water in the brine tank but the quantity that is flowing into the tank. This hinders your softener from reaching capacity. Your first culprit for this is your float switch. You should ensure that it is easy to move up and down. Changing this switch will solve your problems.
If you have too much water going into your softener unit then this will also influence the regeneration process. Too much water and you lack proper recharging. The solution is to manually drain your tank then cleaning it off contaminants. You should also check your household hose to ensure it is not supplying too much or too little water. If you have a pressure gauge then adjust it to the right one.
Having a water softener is your first line of defense against hard water. Through a process of ionization, sodium ions are exchanged for calcium and magnesium ions. Unlike electric softeners that require little maintenance the salt based ones come with a variety of complications. You should first check your connections before calling a technician. If you have more calcium carbonate in your soft water than the recommended rate then ensure that your unit has enough salt.