Ion exchange Water softener lasts for years with little maintenance, but regular check and cleaning can make the softener work efficiently and last longer.
What is that little maintenance that a water softener requires? Read this article from beginning to end to learn how to maintain water softener.
The new Ion exchange water softeners are easy to install with simple instruction you can do it yourself without hiring plumber or professional. They are also small in size do not require large space.
You only need a habit of checking the salt level once in a month, cleaning brine tank and resin tank yearly so that your system can work properly and improve lifespan.
Water softener maintenance guide step by step
Maintaining brine tank
Cleaning the brine tank
The brine tank needs to be cleaned at least once per year and this activity you can enjoy doing in a weekend.
Step by steps how to clean the brine tank
Set the system to bypass mode. In bypass mode, the water will not enter the water softener for a period so that cleaning can be done.
Disconnect all the lines (resin tank to brine tank) and electricity from the water softener.
Take the brine tank out
Pour all water out of the brine tank and remove the remaining salt.
If your system has brine grid pull it out.
Mix a few drops of dish soap with 1-2 gallon of water to form soap mixture
Pour the soap mixture into the brine tank and scrub the tank using a scrubbing brush or long-handled brush.
Dump and rinse the soap mixture with water
Pour one cup of household bleach and three gallons of water in the brine tank. Stir until the solution mix well, let’s it sit for 15 minutes to kill any pathogens (the bleach is used to sanitize tank) after that scrub the tank, dump the bleach mixture and rinse with clean water.
Put the brine tank in place and connect all lines of the water softener
Add water up to 5-gallons and lastly water softener salt. It is recommended to keep water softener salt levels at least six inches space from the top of the brine tank
Check the salt level at least once in a month to make sure it’s at a right point. For common rule fill the brine tank at least half full with salt and keep the salt levels at least six inches below the top to avoid overly salt or 2/3 full of salt.
Choose the right types of water softener salt to add to your unit. Make sure before adding a salt check whether brine tank has a salt bridge.
The salt bridge is one big block of salt which prevent the salt from getting to the bottom of the tank to form the brine solution, therefore, blocking your system to regenerate properly.
Ensure you break the salt bridge into small pieces.
You can manually break it by pouring warm water on it to loosen and break easily. Also, you can use a broom handle and gently hit the salt bridge until it breaks
another thing you need to check is whether there is salt mushing. Salt mushing is when the dissolved salt recrystallizes and form sludge in the bottom of the tank.
If the brine tank has salt mushing you need to clean tank and replace with fresh salt. Salt mushing prevent brine solution flowing in the resin tank
Maintaining resin tank
The resin tank is also another essential part of the water softener. From time to time they require to be cleaned and resin beads replaced. If your water has iron, the iron deposit can occur on the resin beads making it not operate properly.
Also, over the time your resin beads can be overcoated with silt, heavy metals and organic compounds they cause the resin beads not soften water properly.
In such a case, the resin beads need to be cleaned regularly to restore and peak their efficiency.
Just use the resin cleaner recommended by the manufacturer to clean the beads without having to replace it, but if they don’t solve the problem, you need to replace the beads.
Pour the resin cleaner in the brine tank and regenerate the system manually. The cleaner is flushed out of the resin tank use the drain.
Replacing the resin
Make sure you have bought the resin, gravel, distributor tube and funnel.
Put the tank into bypass and take off the resin tank.
Remove the distributor tube and pour the resin out of the tank.
Put the new distributor tube inside the resin tank and cut the correct height (an inch above the tank top). Tape the top of the distributor so that gravel and resin won’t get inside. Put the new gravel and then resin. Make sure gravel and resin do not get inside the distributor tube.
Return the resin tank in place and reconnect.
Cleaning resin tank injector/ Clean the venturi valve
This is the part of the water softener that people forget to clean. The tank injector creates the suction to move the brine solution from the brine tank to the resin tank.
Over time the valve gets sand and dirt which need to be cleaned to operate effectively.
The injector needs to be cleaned after every six months to prevent resin beads from contamination.
How to clean resin tank injector
Turn off the softener and disconnect the power.
Drain the water and release pressure from the tank. Unscrew the panel to get the injector line. Remove the injector and trace the filter panel. Use dishwasher detergent to clean before you return it.
Cleaning the venturi valve should be done twice in a year.
Check whether the o-ring is in good shape if not replace it. You can buy water softener parts here.
Water softener maintenance checklist
Always check salt and water level once in a month
Make a habit of checking the salt level every month. Make sure the salt level is at least half full and keep it 3 inches above the water
Check whether there are salt mushing and salt bridge. If any make sure you remove.
Clean both resin and brine tank once in a year.
If your water has a high presence of iron make sure you clean resin using resin cleaner after every four months.
Regular checking of your water softener helps improve the system performance and extend lifespan. Make sure you use the right salt.
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How do you maintain your water softener? Share with us in the comment section below.