If you’ve read our water softener reviews, you’ll know that there are a lot of different types out there. Luckily, no matter which water softener you choose, maintaining them on your own is easy! Take a look at these steps for easy DIY water softener maintenance!
How to Keep the Best Water Softener Salt Levels
The best water softeners use a process called ion-exchange that requires the use of salt. Some units can use table salt while other require specialized salts. Make sure you know what kind of salt is required for you unit. Either way, it is important to make sure you keep your water softener’s salt levels up so it can perform its best. Thankfully, this is an extremely easy task. Your water softener will come with instructions that tell you how much salt is required to maintain your unit, and how often it needs to be replenished. The more water your household uses, the more often you will need to replenish its salt. By checking the salt levels regularly, maintenance is easy! Luckily, there are many different kinds of water softeners that will suit your own household’s personal needs.
Inspect Your Water Softener
When you regularly inspect all components of your water softener, maintenance is easy! There are few key things to look out for when conducting an inspection. As discussed, it is important to keep an eye on salt levels. However, you also want to check for salt build-up and salt bridges. Check your water softener’s brine tank ever 2-3 months for salt bridges and build up. If you do find them, it is a very easy fix. Simply break up the bridges with a broom handle or long pipe so the salt can once again mix with the water and properly regenerate the resin, allowing for top quality water softening. If the bridges continue to form, make sure you clean your water softener.
Clean Your Water Softener
The best way to prevent salt buildup and salt bridges is to regularly clean your water softener. This should be done every 6 to 12 months, depending on what kind of unit you have or how long you have had it. Cleaning your water softener is quick and easy! Simply unplug and drain your water softener, then clean the unit with mild cleaners and water. Rinse it out well before refilling.
Not only is maintaining your water softener easy, but it will significantly improve its longevity. For those who prefer no maintenance at all, there are all kinds of water softeners out there to meet your needs. Some electric units prevent salt buildup on their own, while others are salt free and require no maintenance at all! Now that you know how to install and maintain any water softener, take a look at some the best water softeners online and the right one for you!
Installing A Water Softener is Easy!
Now that you’ve picked out the best water softener system, here is now to install it. You can hire a professional, or save yourself the money and follow these 5 simple steps to do it yourself!
1 FIND A GOOD SPOT FOR YOUR UNIT AND INSTALL THE BYPASS VALVE
- Find an area in your household that is properly suited for your water softener. Avoid direct sunlight (outdoors) and areas that are prone to freezing, as these conditions will damage your water softener. It will also need to be somewhere with access to your home’s plumbing, a floor drain or utility sink, and an electrical receptacle capable of handling the water softener’s amperage. A basement or garage is usually the best option for meeting these requirements.
- Once you have found a spot for your water softener, ensure that it is not installed downstream from your water heater. This will avoid damage from the hot water. If possible, it is a good idea to install a water softener before a water heater.
- In the location you have selected, position your water softener so that the INLET can be attached to the water supply pipe and the OUTLET can be attached to the heater. The orientation will be important as you hook up your water softener to you plumbing.
- If your water softener came with a bypass valve, assemble it and attach it first. Each water softener is slightly different, so make sure to follow the instructions included in your personal water softener for this step.
2 SET UP THE PLUMBING AND PIPES:
- Turn off your home’s water supply valves. You can turn of the water supply to individual appliances, or look for the valve that supplies water to the whole house. The latter is usually located outside and will typically have a distinctive red turn-valve.
- Once the water is shut off, drain the pipes of any remaining water. You can do this by opening any bottom-floor faucets or hose bibbs and allowing the water to flow out.
- Use a pipe cutter to cut your water supply line.
- Install elbow fittings for the INLET and OUTLET ports of the unit’s bypass valve. The INLET pipes will carry hard water to the water softener, while the OUTLET pipes will carry softened water to your home. This is why the orientation of your water softener is important. You can also set it up so that an outlet (such as a hose bibb) carries hard water, saving the soft water for you household use. To do this, all you need is a T fitting installed running to the desired outlet.
- Cut and install copper pipes for the bypass valve. This is easier than it seems! You water softener should come with instructions that will help you determine the length and size of pipes you will need. The materials you will need include a tubing cutter, round file, steel wool, wire pipe brush, soldering flux, and a soldering torch. With these tools, you do this task yourself without having to hire an expensive professional.
- Make sure all your soldering is done and the pipes are cooled before you attach them to the bypass valve. Once the pipes are installed, attach them to the water softener using the compression fittings (these parts are included when you buy your water softener). Now for the easy parts!
3 SET UP THE DRAIN VALVE and BRINE TANK TUBES
- Using a clamp, attach the drain hose to the water softener.
- Run the hose from the softener to the floor drain or utility sink.
- Ensure that there is at least 2 inches of space between the drain hole and the end of the hose to prevent water from back siphoning. The water softener will come with detailed instructions on the proper sized hose for your personal water softener.
- Keep in mind, the size of the drain hose depends on the distance of its run and its height compared to the inlet. A hose with an interior diameter of ½ inch can be as long as 15 feet if the end of the hose (its discharge) is lower than the INLET. If the discharge is higher than the INLET, or if its length is longer than 15 feet, you will need a hose with an appropriately greater interior diameter.
- Connect the overflow tube for the brine tank, making sure that the end of the tube is positioned lower than the fitting so the water runs downhill.
4 RINSE, BACKWASH AND REGENERATE YOUR UNIT
- Set the bypass valve in the BYPASS position.
- Turn the water back on and allow it run through the unit for a few minutes to flush out minerals and sediments.
- Open the water heater’s valves and check for any leaks as you do this.
- Now, plug the water softener into an electrical receptacle and set the bypass valve to the BACKWASH position.
- Hold the REGENERATE button and let go once the valve advances to BACKWASH.
- Do not let the valve advance further. You can unplug power if necessary.
- Rinsing and backwashing can cause air to build up, so make sure to release the air. Do this by opening the bypass valve to slowly, and watch the flow of the water. You will know the built up air has been release when the water starts flowing steadily .
- When the water flow is steady, open the INLET and OUTLET bypass controls.
- You can now fill your water softener with water and salt. Your water softener will come with directions as to how much water and salt (and what kind of salt) is required for your unit.
- You now want to run your water softener through a regeneration cycle. If you unplugged the power in a previous step, make sure to plug it back in.
- Press the REGENERATE button and allow it to proceed with a full cycle. Continue until the water softener reaches the SERVICE setting.
- Bullet Point 2
5 PROGRAM YOUR UNIT’S CONTROLS
Finally, program the controls to your water softener. This will depend on what type of water softener you purchased, and your own personal needs. Now is your opportunity to customize your water softener to serve you best.