For those who have hard water, water softeners are important pieces of equipment to have in the home. However, these machines are complex systems and some things can go wrong. Many problems can be easily solved, but a few are bit more complex. With proper care, maintenance, and usage, you can prevent some of these problems from occurring.
Common Problems For Water Softeners
Blockages: Any system, including water softeners, that has something flowing through it can have the potential for blockages to occur. Since hard water is full of calcium and magnesium, which can accumulate and create deposits in the plumbing system, it can also do this in the water system. Deposits will block the line and the path through the tank. Two of the common areas for blockages are the filter screen and the brine line. You can tell there is a blockage if there is a difference in water being softened. Blockages are a problem that can easily be fixed and the user manual of your specific water softener system can tell you how to fix blockages.
Salt Bridges: Salt can form in the lines as well as in the tank. In extreme cases, a salt bridge can occur. A salt bridge is a hard crusting of the salt that is in the brine tank and covers the water. This occurs because of sodium forming hard piles of deposits at the base of the tank. If the softener is operating but not softening the water, this could be due to a salt bridge preventing it from working right. A salt bridge can also prevent the system from going through a regeneration cycle. Once identified, this problem can be easy to fix. You can buy different solutions to fix the problem, or you can use something sturdy, such as a broom handle, to reach down in the tank and break up the salt. Then clean up any salt that has formed around the edges. Once you have gotten rid of any salt bridges in the tank, the soft water should flow into the plumbing system again. It should only take a day or so for it to be working properly.
Resin Beads: These beads are only used in salt-based water softener systems. These beads are designed to last within the appliance as long as the system lasts, but sometimes they break and don’t work to the full potential. One way to determine if your resin beads are causing any issues is to look for any particles that are floating in the softening water. If the beads break in the system, then the water will often transport any small parts of the bead. The solution is to either clean the beads or replace them. You can find out how to do this in the user manual.
Motor Failure: The motor is essential to the water softener, just as it is to a car or some other system. Maintenance is key to making sure the motor continues to run for years. If the system fails or is dying, then it is usually related to the motor. However, before you blame the motor, be sure to check that all cables aren’t damaged. If the rest of the system passes inspection, then it’s either time to replace the motor or get a new system. Motor replacements can be expensive, so you have to weigh the cost of getting a new one versus replacing the system instead.
Iron Content: There is only so much iron that can be in the water of a water system. If there is too much iron, you have to check the filter and possibly replace it. Look at the position of the bypass valve, as well as the plumbing lines, to make sure there are no leaks.
Problems with the Brine Line: Issues with the brine line are fairly common problems. In order to diagnose any problems, start by flushing the brine line. While doing this, look at the injectors and the filter screen and replace them if you discover any problems or defects. Check the lines for any damage or breaks that can affect pressure in the lines. Note that particular pressure needs to be maintained, in order for the brine line to work properly. This pressure will be listed in the owner’s manual, as well as how to adjust it.
User Error: Sometimes user error can be a problem. Some water systems are much easier than others to use. Some have a lot of settings that need to be applied to different circumstances, and even the smallest change can result in your water not being softened. Refer to the troubleshooting section in the manual and, if you are unsure about any issues with your water softener, look for a professional to help you out. It’s worth getting a professional’s help instead of doing the work on your own and risk damaging the system, which will cost more money in the long run.