If you have hard water and are thinking about installing a water softener, you may find that installing one yourself is cheaper than getting it done professionally. The good news is it is possible to install one yourself with the right tools and knowledge. If you haven’t had any experience with home improvement projects, you might want to call a professional, since it does require some work with pipes.
Pick a System: The first thing you need to do is pick out a softener system. You aren’t going to be able to install anything without a system. Be sure to do some research so you find the right one for your needs, budget, and space. There are systems that require salt and there are salt-free options. Both types of systems have the same difficulty to install, depending on the way the pipes connect and what types of pipes you have. Salt and salt-free systems are comparable in price, but if you are using salt, you will need to factor that into your cost. Magnetic systems aren’t as common as systems that use salt, but they are easy to install and many can install these without any problems.
Pick the Right Location: Once you know what type of system you are going to be installing, you will need to choose a place to do so. This might need to be done while picking a unit, since some water softeners are quite large and you want to make sure it will fix in the designated space. The best location is one that is dry, level, and doesn’t have any direct sunlight or extreme temperature changes. If you are putting it in the basement where it can tend to get cold, it’s fine as long as the area doesn’t get below freezing. You don’t want your water softening system to freeze up during the cold months. Many water softener systems will have two tanks, so you will need space in order to accommodate both of them side by side. Most units will also need electricity, so you will need to have a space that is near an electrical outlet. Also choose a space that allows for water waste to be drained. Once you have chosen the right spot, measure to make sure you can leave about 10 inches between the water heater and water softener system. Be careful of installing the system too close or downstream from the water heater, since the high temperatures can damage the softener system. Depending on where you live, installing a whole house system will require you to conform to building codes and you may need a permit. Check with your city before you begin, in order to get the right system and get a permit if necessary.
Install the Bypass Valve: Now that you know the perfect space, install the bypass valve. You need to turn off the water line and the power to the water heater for safety. Turn on the faucets in the home, so you can clear the water lines in the house. Then you can install the bypass valve. This valve is used to divert water flow from the water softener if needed. The process involves pushing it into the right place and securing it with clips, so with a few videos you should be able to do it.
Connect the Water Supply: Next is connecting the water softener to the water supply in the home. This can be done using a hard pipe or a flex line. If you use a flex line, it will be easier to remove it in the future if you need to.
Connect the Drainage: When it goes through a regeneration cycle, the water softener will need to drain the wastewater. You can set up drains to your preference. Many people will either choose a floor drain or standpipe, or have it drain into a utility sink. Use the valve drain fitting that you bought with your water softener and then connect it to the small drain tubing. Then take the drain elbow from the salt tank and connect it to the overflow drain hose. The two hoses will need an air gap, and you will need to position them so that they can properly drain. You will also need a trap for the discharge.
Power It Up: Once installed, it’s now time to make sure it is working properly. You will need to put salt in the unit before starting it up if you are using a system that requires salt. Once you have the salt in, slowly turn the water supply back on. You want to do this slowly to avoid any sudden pressure changes, which can damage the unit. Make sure you follow the user manual for your specific unit and follow any steps it requires when setting it up for the first time.