Water Softener Care Tips For New Owners

Hard water can be damaging to your plumbing, your fixtures, and even your skin. The residue left behind creates mineral deposits which can discolor your fixtures, potentially clog your pipes, and dry your skin. If you've installed a water softener to combat this, it's important to keep it maintained for optimal function. Here's a look at what you need to know to care for the softener on a regular basis.

Know How To Shut The System Off

One of the most important things you need to learn is how to turn the softener on and off, because you'll have to turn it off any time you clean or maintain it. You'll also need to shut it off if it's malfunctioning or you need to inspect it.

On the pipes directly below the brine tank on your water softener, there should be a couple of valve handles. They're usually covered with a blue rubberized grip, but they may just be exposed metal. When the softener is running, the handles will be vertical, running in a direction that's away from the pipes. Usually, they end up pointed down toward the floor. To turn the system off, turn the handles so that they are parallel to the pipes. That bypasses the softener, shutting it off and letting the water flow directly into the house without cycling through it.

Learn How To Check And Clean The Salt Tank

Once you've shut the system off, you need to open the salt tank and check the condition of the salt. You should be able to put a wooden rod into the tank and go straight through the salt to the bottom of the tank. Don't push hard, though. You don't want to crack the tank. If you hit something hard before you reach the bottom of the tank, that means you've got a salt bridge, or a hard formation of salt. You need to break it up and then clean all of the salt out of the tank and replace it.

Once salt bridges in the tank, even just breaking it up won't completely resolve the problem. It will be more prone to bridging again because it's already saturated and clumped once. Clear all of the salt out, then flush the tank and refill it with fresh salt. Once you've done that, you need to clear the valve. Move the valve through all of its settings a few times to help flush out anything that may be built up in it. Then, you can restore your softener to its normal operation.

If you're not comfortable doing it yourself, you can talk with a water softener repair and maintenance company or your local plumber about doing the work for you.