If you live in an area with hard water, you may have invested in a water softener to combat the effects of limescale build up. A water softener is one of the few appliances that not only pay for themselves over time, but require very little day to day maintenance. Although little day to day maintenance is required, adopting a regular maintenance routine will help you prolong its lifespan significantly. In this guide, we’ll provide you with some tips on how to maintain your water softener, ensuring it operates effectively and lasts for years to come.
1. Keep It Topped Up With Salt
This is often the most overlooked, yet crucial step to maintaining your system. You should check the salt level in your water softener regularly (at least once a month) and top it up when it is low. The salt level should be kept above the water line. If your water softener runs out of salt it will not be able to regenerate, which is an important part of the cleaning process. If you water softener is unable to regenerate properly, then it will be supplying your home with hard water.
We recommend the use of Water Softener Tablet Salt for our systems. There are other models available that use either granular or block salt instead of tablets. If you are unsure which type of salt your water softener needs, you should check the manual or contact the manufacturer.
2. Break Up Salt Bridges
Salt can form a solid layer in the brine tank, otherwise known as a ‘salt bridge’. When this happens it prevents the loose salt on top from mixing with the water below and can stop your water softener from regenerating properly. To break up a salt bridge use the end of a broom handle to gently dislodge any solid layers of salt that have formed. If the salt bridge is particularly stubborn, it can be loosened using warm water before attempting to break it up.
You can help to prevent salt bridges by not filling the salt up as high and letting the level run down lower before topping it up again. If possible you should avoid having your water softener installed in a warm environment (such as next to an oven) as it can cause the salt to dry out and lead to salt bridging.
3. Use A Resin Cleaner
The resin inside your water softener is cleaned using a brine solution when regeneration occurs. Over time the resin bed can become ‘fouled’ with sediment and iron, which makes it more difficult to clean during a normal regeneration. Using Water Softener Resin Cleaner every 6-12 months helps to keep the resin in good condition and operating efficiently. The use of a resin cleaning agent is recommended more frequently if your water has a high iron content, or if you have a private water supply.
When using a resin cleaning solution you’ll need to note the resin capacity for your water softener. This can usually be found in the product manual, or by contacting the manufacturer for your system. Our resin cleaner requires 100ml of solution per 10 litres of resin, which should be added into the brine well when the salt level is low or empty.
4. Install A Sediment Pre Filter
Sediment in your water can build up inside your water softener and can damage important components like the valve if left to accumulate. Installing a sediment pre-filter before your water softener helps to remove particulate and prevents it from entering the water softener in the first place. This is particularly important for non-electric systems, as the intricate mechanics of the valve make them more prone to damage from sediment build up.
We recommend the use of a Wound Sediment Filter which is designed to trap a broad range of particulate. These can be installed within a filter housing before the feed into your water softener, keeping it free from sediment build up.
5. Test Your Water Hardness
Testing your water using a Water Hardness Test Kit is one of the easiest ways to be sure that your water softener is working properly. Test kits are quick and easy to use and give you an instant water hardness reading in parts per million (ppm). We recommend testing your water once a year to give you peace of mind that your softener is working properly. If working correctly, you should see a reading of 100ppm or less.
If you find your water softener is not working correctly then you should consult the product manual. Inside the product manual you should find diagnosis steps relevant to your system, which could include the use of a resin cleaner to clean the resin bed.