Are you asking yourself, “How do I know my water softener is working?”
Then you’re in the right place. A water softener can be a valuable part of your household. It improves the taste of your water, as well as protect your pipes from overexposure to certain harmful minerals. However, while many homeowners have their own water softener today, they’re not fully sure how these systems work, or how to determine whether or not the tool is working properly.
Today, we’re going to look at the signs you need to watch out for that indicate your water softening system isn’t working properly. We’re also going to cover some of the simple troubleshooting techniques that will address the most common issues people have with their devices.
How Does a Water Softener Work?
To know if your water softener is working properly, the first question you need to answer is, “How do water softeners work?”
Water softeners work by removing the calcium, magnesium, and other minerals present in your water through a process called ion exchange. The resin beads within your softener pull the mineral components from the water and keep hold of them so that the water you get from your faucets or in the shower is completely pure and softened.
Eventually, these microscopic beads become full and can no longer hold any more deposits. When that happens, you need to regenerate the system. Regeneration involves using sodium to remove the buildup of residue from the resin.
If your water softener isn’t working as it should be, then there’s a good chance that there’s something wrong with the beads, the regeneration cycle, or the various moving components within your device.
How Can I Tell If My Water Softener Is Working?
Understanding which signs indicate that your water supply is still hard can be an excellent way to get the most out of your water softener investment.
One of the first things you’re likely to notice if your system isn’t functioning properly is that there are hard water spots on your shower door and faucets, which look like white blotches of minerals. Hard water spots usually come from periods of exposure to water with high mineral content instead of soft water.
You may also find that your water feels harder too. If you notice that you experience itching or dryness on your skin after a shower, this could be a red flag that’s something wrong. You could also find that your skin feels “squeaky” after you’re done washing. Magnesium leaves a sort of film on your skin that leaves it feeling dry, sticky, and itchy. Other signs that your softener isn’t working may include:
1. Sudden Changes to Your Home’s Water Pressure
If your water pressure drops, that could be because there’s a build-up of salt in your brine tank that’s causing problems with your water supply.
2. Change in Water Taste
If there’s too much salt in your water softener, you might notice a salty film on the inside of your dishwasher or your faucets. Your water might taste saltier too. Do remember that the salty taste increases as the levels of minerals in your water increase. To fix this issue, you might need to clean the brine tank and replace the water and salt. Remember, just as you can have too much salt in your softener, you can have too little too.
3. Nothing’s Happening to Your Water Quality
If your water seems just as hard as ever after having water softening systems installed, this indicates that they are not working at all. At this point, you may need to check that all of the components of your water softeners are set up properly.
What Factors Affect Water Softener Performance?
As a piece of man-made machinery, your water softener will be prone to damage over time. Eventually, the system will stop working completely, and you’ll need to replace it. Even the best water softeners don’t last forever. However, knowing the risk factors that can damage water softeners in your home could make it easier for you to avoid exorbitant repair costs.
For instance, think about the quality of your water when you’re purchasing a softener. Remember that your water softener needs to contend not just with the demands of your home and your family. If you buy a cheap softener or something that’s too small, then it’s more likely that your water softening system will break faster.
Additionally, it’s important to make sure that you’re willing to perform regular maintenance on your water softening system if you want it to keep working too. Taking the time to clean salt pellets and salt bridges out of your tank is a good way to keep your product in good condition. You’ll also need to frequently regenerate your water softener so you can refresh the resin beads used to remove mineral deposits from your water.
If you use your system regularly, it might even be helpful to pay for a professional to come out and check your water softener from time to time. This will give you an insight into whether any components could be breaking down or need replacing.
How Do You Troubleshoot a Water Softener?
If you’re still wondering, “How do I know my water softener is working?”
If your softener isn’t working as it should be, then you can troubleshoot the cause of the problem. Start by unplugging your softener. Remove access to the water so that you don’t accidentally flood your home either.
Look inside of the softener and find out whether there are any salt build-ups or bridges that could be preventing the system from working properly. If there is an excessive amount of salt, then you’ll need to clean out your system and refresh it so that you can begin to create soft water again.
If there aren’t any salt deposits to worry about, press the regeneration button provided with your water softener to see whether you can clean out the system this way instead. Sometimes, you will be able to set your product up to regenerate automatically. However, if you use a lot of water one week, you may need to regenerate your water softener faster than usual.
You can also take steps to eliminate any iron that might have built up in your system. There are various rust remover products and softener cleaning solutions on the market that can help to clean your resin bed if it is been overly exposed to iron deposits.
Once you’ve finished cleaning and recharging your water softener, restart the system and see if it works. If there’s still a problem, then it’s likely an issue with either the electrical systems within your softener or the plumbing itself.
Should You Call a Professional?
eNow that we have answered the question, “How do I know my water softener is working?” for you, it is time to determine if you should call a professional.
If after trying everything to reduce the hardness of your water, you’re still noticing spots on your dishes, problems with your valve performance, or other problems, then it’s best to contact an expert.
Although we understand why most people prefer to avoid the expense of calling a professional, there will be times when you will need to get expert assistance, especially if your problem isn’t related to any of the issues we mentioned above. Professionals can check the plumbing and electrical components of your softener that you can’t access yourself due to safety reasons.