Professional Ways to Troubleshoot Water Softener Problems

Water softeners work behind the scenes silently to transform your home’s hard water into the soft water you need to use. Proper installation and regular maintenance are necessary for your system to last its full lifespan of up to 15 years. However, when you start having issues with the water softener, fix them quickly to avoid affecting the lifespan.

Some problems are easy to fix, while others require the help of a professional.  Therefore, when facing issues with your water softener, consider the tips and tricks discussed below. If the issues are too advanced then you need to contact a professional to fix your water softener.

Clogging or Blockage

The magnesium and calcium in the hard water leave chalky deposits on the fixtures and pipes. The same residues can be left on your water softener. Over time, the accumulation of these mineral deposits clogs the water line running through the water softener tank.

You know you have a clogging or blockage issue if the water softness changes. For instance, you can see chalky deposits on the fixtures or dishwasher. This is a sign of clogging on the water softener.

Solution

The clog can occur in the valve injector which makes it difficult for the water softener to create the required suction for the brine cycle. Inspect the injector using a pair of needle-nose pliers. Use a safety pin or needle to push the debris clogging the injector. If the brine line is clogged, inspect the line for signs of clogging. A clog blocks water flow. In this case, you need a professional to clean that line without causing damage to your system.

Salt Mashing/ Salt Bridges

A salt bridge is when there is a hard crust in the brine tank. The hard crust blocks salt from dissolving into the water to give you the brine. This happens if there is high humidity or because of seasonal weather changes causing it to clump. Low-quality salt has impurities and can cause clumping. This affects the performance of your water softener as the salt recrystallizes at the bottom of your brine tank making a salty sludge instead of forming a crusty layer.

Solution

You can solve it using a DIY fix. Follow the step below:

  • Use a broom handle to break up the salt bridge
  • Drain and clean the tank to remove salt mushing, then refill the tank with fresh high-quality salt.

Resin Replacement

It’s the resin in the water softener that captures minerals to turn the hard water into software in the ion exchange process. As resin degrades, your water softener capacity is affected and the system needs to regenerate more resin to give you a continuous flow of soft water.

You know there is a problem when you see sand particles in your resin tank. At this point, you need a new resin as the particles can damage the water softener system. High levels of chlorine shorten resin lifespan.

Solution

Adjust the water softener settings to work more effectively and regenerate more. In the long-term, you can call a professional to correct the issue and replace the resin.

Motor Issues

The motor in your water softener can fail and cause serious problems with the system performance. Motors automatically rotate the valve between softening and regeneration modes. So, a failure means the valves aren’t moving and the water softener stops working. Check if the motor is broken.

Solution

Check all the settings and cables to ensure it’s not an issue unrelated to the motor.  If you believe it’s a motor failure, go ahead and call a plumbing professional to confirm your diagnosis and make replacement of the motor. Check if the warranty on the motor is valid as you may be eligible to get a new motor free.

Brine Tank Overflow

The brine tank is vital to the operation of the water softener. The brine tank normally has 8-14 inches of water when empty depending on its capacity and salt setting. When you add salt, the level increases because of water displacement.

An overflow happens if there is a blockage in the brine line, a clogged injector, a stuck float or a malfunctioning valve.

Solution

You can use a DIY fix, but some situations need professional assistance. To troubleshoot your brine tank overflow issue:

  • Check your brine line if it’s still attached to the float in the brine well. Check the caps of your brine well and brine tank to ensure its tight fit.
  • Check for salt buildup in the brine line float
  • Look for clogging or kinks in the brine tank and drain line.
  • Check the injector for obstructions by debris or particles
  • Contact a professional to clean or replace your injector.

The best way to ensure your water softener is performing effectively is to do routine maintenance service and cleaning by a professional. If there are issues, do some follow-ups to ensure the work is done right and by an expert.

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