How To Install A Water Softener?
If you live in an area where the water has a high concentration of minerals like calcium and magnesium, your appliances can become clogged with residue. One way to combat this is by installing a water softener. Water softeners remove these minerals from the water supply, leaving behind softer and cleaner water that’s less likely to leave buildup on your appliances. In order to install a water softener at home, you’ll need to have some basic plumbing knowledge as well as time for installation. If done incorrectly, it can cause serious damage or flooding issues so be careful!
Water softeners are designed to reduce the level of dissolved minerals in water. This is achieved by running softened water through a resin bed, which replaces calcium and magnesium ions with sodium ions. After this process is complete, you will have softer water that feels smoother on your skin or hair when used for washing or bathing. Although it’s not common, some homeowners may find themselves needing to install their own water softener – either due to specific circumstances like well-water issues or because they simply want more control over how their home purifies its drinking supply. Whatever the case may be, there are several steps involved in getting started on the installation process so let’s take a look at what you’ll need and how long it should take!
What Is A Water Softener?
A water softener is a mechanical appliance that removes elevated levels of calcium, magnesium, and other minerals from hard water. When you have a water softener installed in your home, the machine connects to the main water supply and filters out hardness minerals as you use it. The softened water will not leave behind any filmy residue or build upon your dishes or appliances, so anyone who uses it’ll notice a difference between softened and unsalted tap water right away.
If you’re shopping for a new fridge, washing machine, dishwasher, or espresso machine – check to see if they recommend using salt-softened or demineralized water. Many modern appliances require softer water to run properly, especially with an automatic cleaning cycle.
When Should I Use A Water Softener?
If you have a septic tank in your home, a water softener is a must. These appliances will deteriorate the membranes of your septic tank over time by introducing high levels of sodium into the system. Before you install one at home, check with local building codes or health authorities if you’re unsure about giving it a go.
Water softeners can be gentle and environmentally friendly, but they’re not for everyone. If you have a well or other alternative source of drinking water, you might want to opt-out. The best water softener is the one that works with your home’s plumbing and energy needs as realistically as possible.
How Does A Water Softener Work?
In most cases, when you install a water softener in your kitchen sink and run water through it, it’ll detect hardness minerals and replace them with softened saltwater to give you the same effect as distilled water without flushing away all of its beneficial minerals along with it. After that initial step has been completed and softened saltwater has reached the inner chambers of the appliance, it’ll use a fine mesh that only allows pure water to pass through. Hardness minerals will be left behind and flushed away in a small holding tank outside your home.
Before you install a water softener in your home, find out whether or not it’s possible to have one done. Some people have the resources and know-how to install a water softener on their own, while others might need a professional plumber to do it for them.
Water softeners require regular maintenance just like any other appliance you use in your kitchen. They should always be flushed when they’re full of saltwater and cleaned with white vinegar from time to time as well. Without regular upkeep, hard minerals start building up within the inner chambers of the appliance which impacts how it operates over time. If you’re unsure about how to do this by yourself, ask a plumber or appliance repairman for guidance.
Types Of Water Softeners
- Salt-Based Water Softeners
A salt-based water softener works like a regular water softener, but it doesn’t need to use electricity or batteries in order to function. It works when the minerals in hard water are absorbed into its holding tank and replaced with softened sodium chloride. This type of system will not deteriorate any membranes inside your septic tanks because it’s using potassium instead of calcium and magnesium for its softening process. Salt-based water softeners are the most popular type of system you’ll find on today’s market, and it works great for homes that have a septic tank.
- Salt-Free Water Softeners
Salt-free water softeners are a great alternative for those who don’t want to go with the salt-based models or have a septic tank. Instead of using sodium chloride, a salt-free system will use potassium chloride as its main active ingredient. This type of appliance can be installed on any kitchen sink you’d like and doesn’t require too much space. Since these systems work best if they’re under constant pressure in your home’s plumbing lines, people in multi-story homes might need professional help when it comes to installing their system in order to make sure it works properly.
- Dual-Tank Water Softeners
When it comes to choosing the best water softener for your home, you’ll want to consider getting a dual-tank system. This type of appliance will never mix softened and hard water together by flushing them down its drain. If you do that, you might end up damaging your home’s plumbing lines over time because the mixture will eventually solidify if it’s not flushed out on a regular basis. Having soft mixed with hard water causes calcium carbonate buildups at faucet aerators which causes all sorts of problems down the road.
- Reverse Osmosis Water
Reverse osmosis water softeners work by reversing the process of how an osmosis system works. A regular reverse osmosis system takes in hard minerals and filters them into a liquid that is then used to flush out more softened saltwater. On a water softener, it’s the opposite: you take in softened saltwater and filter it back into solid form so that your home can use its hardness for things like cleaning dishes, bathing, laundry and cooking meals. As with any other type of appliance, always make sure to clean out your reverse osmosis machine on a regular basis or you’ll end up with calcium buildups within its inner chambers which might impact your health over time if they aren’t flushed out.
- Magnetic Water Softeners
Magnets work by emitting a force around a block of metal which causes charged particles to bind together in order to create a larger object. Magnetic water softeners help reduce the amount of time it takes for soap and shampoo to lather up while you’re bathing or washing your clothes because they break apart smaller-sized salts into larger ones. This reduces the amount of time soap needs to be active on your body, hair, and clothing which can save you some money over the long run if you use boatloads of detergent and shampoo at home
Advantages To Using A Water Softener
Water softeners have plenty of benefits for those who can afford them and maintain them on a regular basis.
- You Save Money On Soap And Shampoo:
One of the main reasons why people get their water softened is to reduce the amount of soap and shampoo they use while bathing or washing up at home. Having your water softened will make these cleaning agents work more efficiently, thus saving you money over time. Additionally, softer water gives your body a better massage if you like to take long baths or showers at home because it won’t gunk up in your skin as easily meaning you won’t need to scrub yourself off quite as much after finishing either.
- You Can Take Longer Baths/Showers:
If you like to take long baths or showers at home, then you’ll love having your water softened. Hard water gunks up and clings onto dirt and soap residues more easily which means you’ll need to clean yourself off with a washcloth more often than not. Softened water will keep your skin feeling fresh and soft for hours after using it as it won’t cling onto anything as much as hard water would.
- Your Clothes Will Last Longer:
Your clothes don’t last as long when washed in hard water because of how quickly the minerals within it can gunk up against the fabric over time making them lose their color faster or get worn out faster than they should be if they were washed under softened water. Additionally, soap and shampoo often leave residue on your clothes which also cuts their lifespan shorter than it would be if they were washed in softened water.
- Your Appliances Last Longer:
From your dishwasher to your washing machine, having your appliances run through softened water can extend how long you’re able to use them before needing to replace them entirely. Hard water will oftentimes gunk up against the inner workings of these appliances making them work harder or less efficiently over time. If you maintain the machinery properly then it’ll last longer as well since doing that reduces wear and tear from hard minerals within the water itself.
- You Save Money On Water Heater Repairs:
Water heaters are some of the hardest working appliances that you have in your house which is why it’s no surprise that they tend to break down the most often. Hard water will gunk up against the inner workings of this appliance over time causing it to work much harder than it should be at heating up your tap water so it’s always best to take steps towards softening its contents if you want to avoid these sorts of repairs altogether.
- You Save Money On Your Appliances:
If you maintain your washing machine, dishwasher, and other appliances properly then they’ll last longer than they would otherwise. Hard minerals within your household hot water tank can wear out the machinery inside of them over time which costs you money in repairs or replacement equipment entirely.
- You Have Cleaner Hair And Skin:
As stated earlier, hard water will gunk up against everything it touches which oftentimes leaves you with hair that’s sticky or skin that doesn’t feel as clean as it could be for hours after showering. Soft water helps to rinse away dirt and soap residue much easier than hard water because of how quickly it rinses away. This means you’ll need to shampoo your hair less often or wash your body even less if you have soft water because the minerals within it don’t cling to anything as easily.
Disadvantages To Using A Water Softener
Unfortunately there are some drawbacks to using a home system for softening your household hot water tank depending on whether or not you can adjust the chemicals that you add into it directly.
- You’ll Need To Add Chemicals:
If you opt to get a home system for softening your water tank, then you’ll need to add in some sort of salt based chemical every so often depending on how hard minerals are within your household hot water tank. This can be a very inconvenient solution if you don’t like having to deal with refilling chemicals every few months or so even though they’re relatively cheap and easy to find in most areas of the country.
- Water Softeners Can Be Expensive:
If getting a home system isn’t something that would work for your family or household, then another option is finding and buying an independent unit (also known as a water softener pill or salt free water softener). These types of models will need to be refilled on a regular basis with some sort of salt based granule which can rack up costs if you’re not careful.
- Softening Your Water Causes Soap To Lather Up Less:
Because your household hot water tank is being softened, the soap that you use in it will have a much more difficult time lathering up properly so you’ll need to use more than usual in order to get the same cleaning power as before. This can contribute to supplies running out at home faster than they would otherwise so it’s important to plan accordingly for this minor setback.
What You Need To Know About Water Hardness?
The water hardness is a measure of the concentration of calcium and magnesium ions in the water. It’s given as a number that represents how many milligrams per liter of calcium carbonate (the dominant mineral found in most hard waters) are present within the tap water itself.
In general, anything less than 60 mg/l or 17.1 grains/gallon is considered to be moderately soft while anything above 120 mg/l or 31.7 grains/gallon is categorized as being moderately hard. Once you go beyond 180 mg/l or 46.2 grams per gallon then it starts getting into the very hard category where scale build-up and damage to appliances can occur much more easily than before if you don’t properly maintain them.
As you can see, the scale build-up caused by extremely hard water is something to be avoided if at all possible and it’s important to know what your household hot water tank’s regular hardness level is before trying out a water softening system of any kind. You don’t want to end up with mineral deposits that are much harder than they should be because then you’ll need to get them professionally cleaned every so often in order to keep appliances running smoothly.
Problems Caused By Excessively Hard Water
As you might imagine, extremely hard water is not the best choice for many reasons. When hard water enters your appliances, it tends to cause problems with their functionality and can even lead to them breaking down sooner than they would otherwise.
Scale build-up caused by this mineral-rich solution is another major issue when properly maintained appliances are at risk of being damaged much more easily in the long term if you don’t pay attention to what’s going on. It can also cause a lot of damage in a very short time span without people realizing it until it’s too late because the minerals aren’t instantly noticeable in most cases.
In order to reduce these problems from happening at home, you’ll need to figure out how often your appliances actually need professional cleaning and maintenance because it varies from one model to the next.
Benefits Of Soft Water
On the other hand, soft water is usually much better for everyday use because it’s not filled with as many minerals that can cause damage over time. It can still leave behind trace amounts of them but they aren’t nearly as bad as what you’ll find in very hard solutions where everything needs to be cleaned out on an annual basis if your home appliances are kept up-to-date.
The best part about using this particular solution is that it won’t harm regular cleaning tools or detergents so you don’t have to worry about them becoming useless over time. Using soft water will actually help to maintain the functionality of items like dishwashers and hot water heaters which can use up a lot of soap during their operational cycles.
Showering in soft water is also a much more relaxing experience because of how gentle it feels on the skin. Hard water can leave behind unsightly residue that’s hazardous to your health if you don’t keep it clean but this isn’t an issue for most people unless they have extremely sensitive skin types.
Classification Of Hard Water Vs Soft Water
First, there’s temporary hardness which is what happens when calcium and magnesium ions get into the solution itself because it reacts poorly with something else. The presence of these chemicals can make water very hard or moderately hard depending on whether enough of them were added to change the way it flows as a whole.
Temporary hardness actually has some benefits like keeping bacteria from growing in your home’s plumbing system over time but it doesn’t leave behind any residue after use unless you decide to boil or distill water ahead of time before using it again.
Second, we have permanent hardness which is caused by too many minerals getting into the hot water supply and never leaving no matter what you do. It’s impossible to have soft water if you have problems with this because there are just too many minerals involved in the mixture for it to ever go away which is why so many people struggle to deal with it.
Permanent hardness can actually be broken apart by distilling, boiling or treating the solution beforehand so that water can flow freely again but using a filter of any kind isn’t enough to break through these particular mineral chains and solve the issue properly over time.
Third, we have general hardness which is what happens when rivers and lakes absorb more calcium and magnesium from nearby rocks over time as their bodies move throughout the world. This sort of hard water tends to leave behind large amounts of residue on everything after coming into contact with it but not enough to cause damage.
Finally, we have total hardness which is the worst of the four different types because this particular solution is way too high in mineral levels for any kind of cleaning or treatment process to work at all unless you’re willing to spend hundreds of dollars on a single device that does everything for you automatically.
No matter what type of hardness you get in your home, one thing will always remain true no matter what else happens: Your appliances are going to get dirty much faster when they aren’t properly taken care of and treated with special solutions designed specifically for dealing with hard water before properly maintaining them manually every couple days.
There are actually salt-free softeners that will remove minerals from your water and make it softer for baths and showers which means less residue and other chemicals on everything after you clean it. While they do cost a few hundred dollars to use properly over time, the benefits far outweigh the negatives because of the fact that there’s no risk of causing damage or allowing anything to go stale as long as you’re willing to take care of these items regularly.
If using salt softeners isn’t something you want to invest in, then regular maintenance is going to be your best bet which includes washing everything by hand or sending them through a dishwasher without any soap every now and then just so that everything looks good even if it doesn’t feel fresh anymore.
For best results, try using spring water or distilled water to clean your appliances occasionally but avoid this if you have sensitive skin because it can cause acne or other conditions to come back even if they were gone for at least a few years!
Hard Water Stains On Your Appliances
Another thing to keep in mind is that hard water stains are likely going to be visible on any appliances you use every day without treating the hot water supply first before cleaning them manually. This won’t last forever but these spots will show up faster than normal and make your home look dirty no matter what you do until it’s time for maintenance again.
To avoid dealing with water stains, try switching over to cold water whenever possible just so that the minerals don’t stick to the solution for too long. It takes more time to get things clean but it’s better than letting hard minerals sit on anything for way too long without doing something about it!
Do I Need A Water Softener?
That ultimately depends on how big or small your home is because these filters are expensive to maintain over time if you don’t use them properly. As long as you spend $200-$300 on a salt free softener that keeps your water clean and clear, then you shouldn’t need anything more than that to keep it at bay for years to come!
Of course, there are some homes which just won’t benefit from something like this regardless of what happens so it’s best to think about the size of your living area first before making any purchases. If it’s smaller than 2,000 square feet or so, then chances are good that any hard water problems will go away with time on their own but larger spaces always require special care and treatment.
I hope this article has helped anyone who has been thinking about getting a water softener for their home because it’s definitely an investment that pays off in the long run if you’re willing to take care of every appliance and do some extra work on your own to keep things fresh. If not, then these machines are truly useless so be sure to start taking good care of your appliances today before they get too dirty.
How Do Water Softeners Work?
This is another great question with a somewhat complicated answer because there are so many types of water softeners in the world today designed to work differently depending on who uses them and where they’re located. To put it simply, these appliances remove hard minerals from water before sending it through your pipes just like you would with any other filter that’s attached to your home.
The problem occurs when hard minerals are allowed to sit inside or outside any appliance long enough without proper care and treatment which is why you should never use harsh chemicals on anything if you want it clean no matter what kind of manufacturer claims this is true!
Even though some companies claim their products can’t be damaged by soap or other chemicals used in average household, try not to listen to them because their ideas will only lead to broken appliances over time which is why you should use bleach or vinegar instead of anything else when dealing with hard water stains that won’t come off no matter how much you scrub.
Problems A Water Softener Won’t Fix
Although a water softener will remove hard minerals from your home’s drinking and bathing water, there are some problems that you’ll have to deal with on your own if you want them gone for good. For example, if your home is located near any natural bodies of water then it probably has oil stains or other residues covering the outside during certain times of the year which means buying something like this won’t solve anything!
Another issue that can occur is when appliances become damaged beyond repair using conventional methods because these machines still require proper maintenance every so often by someone who really knows what they’re doing. If not, then there’s no telling how much damage will occur over time so always take great care to do everything right the first time around before making any purchases.
Finally, if your home is made from a material other than wood or metal, then you may have issues with rust and corrosion over time which will require professional assistance to deal with in most cases. Although a water softener can stop the buildup of hard minerals in pipes, they won’t remove anything that’s already stuck on either so take this into account before making any decisions about what kind of machine to buy for your home today!
When Does Hard Water Require Softening?
This is a great question with a somewhat complicated answer because there’s no way to know for sure if your home needs softening unless you read reviews and articles like this one today. Of course, it’s always possible to go by what someone else says about their own experience but that won’t tell you everything that might occur over time so the only real way to find out is through trial and error!
One test that can be used today involves taking several glasses of water from the shower, bathtub or sink throughout your house then putting them all into one container. If there are lots of bubbles in just one cup then chances are good that only the water coming from your faucets will need treatment down the road.
If you’re really not sure what to do next, then you can always have a professional come out to your home so they can tell you exactly what’s happening with the water inside since most companies offer this type of service for free today. Whether or not you decide to soften the water after seeing their findings is completely up to you but either way, just know that it’s better than trying everything yourself and ending up with even bigger problems down the road!
How To Test For Hard Water?
If you’re curious about whether or not your home has hard water then there’s an easy way to answer this question for yourself. You can either take a look at the label on any shampoo, body wash or dish soap that you currently use today to see how much water is in it (most of them will say right on the side) or if you don’t have anything like this around the house, then all you’ll need is two cups and some distilled vinegar!
- What Is Hard Water?
Hard water is a term used to describe the type of water that contains significant amounts of calcium and magnesium dissolved in it. Some people also refer to hard water as “hardness” because it is the presence of these minerals inside which most people associate with hardness levels.
- What You’ll Need
The following material list should provide you with all the necessary items needed to perform a simple hard water test at home. You will need:
– Clear glass or plastic cups (1 cup = 1 sample)
– Water from your bathtub, shower, kitchen sink or wherever else water is available in your home. It should be either straight from the tap or after it has gone through a filtering system. The more sources you use for samples the better!
- How To Test For Hard Water: Step-By-Step
Step1# Take an empty cup and fill it 2/3rds of the way up with one of your samples. Fill the other cup about 1/2th-way up with distilled water.
Step2# Add 5 drops of vinegar into the cup that has hard water in it. Do not let any overflow! You can always add more water if needed later but you cannot remove excess vinegar after adding it in this step!
Step3# Observe what happens in both cups within about 30 seconds to a minute. If there are lots of bubbles forming inside the sample containing pure distilled water then there is likely no hardness present. This means that all sources tested contained soft levels of minerals making them prime targets for treatment down the if deemed necessary through further testing.
If there are no bubbles forming inside the sample with hard water then this means that it contains significant levels of calcium and magnesium which will likely eventually need treatment if you want to keep your fixtures looking nice through regular use after a few months or years have passed.
What Does A Quality Water Softener Remove?
Well, it’s important to note that water softeners don’t actually remove hard minerals from your home’s water supply. Instead, they simply replace them with various types of salt (sodium chloride is the most popular) which you later recharge yourself after running out.
The process works like this: Hard water enters the softener and meets up with a sodium ion source which replaces all of the calcium and magnesium ions inside before sending it back into your home through the faucet or shower head. Because both sodium ions and chloride ions are typically found in nature (not to mention table salt), there is no significant difference between using softened vs. unsoftened water so long as you’ve decided on something other than reverse osmosis at some point to remove excess salts from your drinking water.
Installing A Water Softener
- What You’ll Need
– 1x water softener system
– 1x dedicated cold line (unless you’re using a tankless system)
– 50ft of 3/4″ x 1/2″ ID tubing
– Salt pellets or tablets based on your model’s specifications. You can find them at any hardware store in the plumbing section for less than $20 USD per 40lbs, which should last you several months if not an entire year depending on use. Make sure to purchase extra salt though because once you run out it will take several hours before your softening abilities are restored even if you manage to make additional purchases within that time frame!
- Where Are Water Softeners Installed?
Typically, wherever there is a major fixture, appliance or even sink that you tend to use on a regular basis. This includes the main bathtub/shower, kitchen sink and washroom sinks as well as the toilet tank if applicable.
- How To Install A Water Softener: Step-By-Step
Step1# Push the tubing (not included) onto the “in” and “out” ports of your system. I recommend doing this when nobody is around to cause a mess when you accidentally push it in too far or rip it off by accident!
Step2# Find where in your home’s plumbing system you want to run your cold water line – typically in an unfinished basement, laundry room or garage if one of those areas exist near where you’re working. It should be noted that running cold water through a cold water line is much easier than using hot, so try to choose accordingly unless you don’t mind wasting additional time & materials on something harder instead of easier down the road if problems crop up from all the extra effort.
Step3# Use a 3/4″x1/2″ drill bit and a hammer to puncture the wall in between two studs or joists. You can purchase 3/4″ x 1/2″ tubing at any hardware store where you purchased your softener for less than $2 USD per 10ft section… usually made of polyethylene, so it’s fairly easy to mark where you need to drill without having to use a ruler or some other object that may not be long enough once everything is set up.
Step4# Insert the tubing into the new hole, then use the manufacturer’s supplied adhesive tape on each end & around all exposed areas near joints while also using some plumber’s tape on top that just in case before tightening everything up and handing it over to a professional that may or may not know how to install them correctly (which is why I always do this part myself).
Step5# Connect your tubing to the water softener system & connect your cold line to where you placed the system. You can find specific installation manuals for each model online, usually at their website if they have one… Otherwise, just get in touch with customer service and ask them. It should be noted that if you purchased a tankless water softening system instead of an actual unit that fits into a cabinet or runs continuously then this step does not apply.
Step6# Plug the power cord into a GFCI protected wall outlet and turn it on! Presto! Your system is up and running.
The Parts Of An Ion-Exchange Water Softener
- The Mineral Tank
– Mineral tanks hold the media (resin) that softens the water.
- The Brine Tank
– Holds salt, which removes calcium and magnesium from the water.
- The Control Valve
– Allows water to fill the system.
- The Regeneration Process
– Water flows into the system and when it is regenerated, the dirty salt water is sent down the drain.
Does Reverse Osmosis Remove Hard Water?
Yes, but only if you purchase an additional set of filters. It does not remove minerals like calcium and magnesium unless you install a filter that goes inline with the RO system itself. Why do they sell these? To save money on buying bottled drinking water or to soften your water at the same time without having to buy two machines instead of one.
Salt Based Softeners Vs Salt-Free Water Conditioners
Salt-based softeners work by swapping out calcium and magnesium ions for sodium. These still require an amount of salt to be used which can cause problems for those on a low-sodium diet and also increases the demand and cost of disposing of wastewater after it has been discarded offsite. Salt free systems, on the other hand, do not rely on any form of salt at all because instead they use resin beads that are impregnated with potassium ions which bond with the calcium and magnesium in the water to soften it. The only issue with this is that the resin beads inside these systems do not last as long and require replacement far more often than a salt based system. This necessitates higher service costs and generally makes for a weaker ion exchange process compared to salt-based softeners.
Reverse Osmosis (RO) Water Treatment Plant
Desalination plants use reverse osmosis (RO) water treatment plants to desalinate seawater into fresh drinking water. The technology behind reverse osmosis accounts for approximately 90% of all desalination plants in operation around the world including Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, USA, Spain, China and many others. A standard RO plant uses 2-3 stages to strip ions from salt water into fresh drinking water.
Regeneration Process of Reverse Osmosis
After each cycle, the RO system needs to be regenerated by washing out accumulated salts through a regeneration process with brine solution or common salt. An automatic reverse osmosis plant uses pumps for both feedwater and concentrate streams. Brine is added in an amount exactly matching the demand of the plant so that there are no solid deposits left in the resins that could lead to scaling during operation. An automated reverse osmosis system will shut down automatically when needed based on its built-in controller which monitors resins levels, computer storage capacities, and calculates time and amount of brine to be added.
Salt-Free (Trickle Bed Ion Exchange) Water Softening System
Salt-free, or resin-based, systems use resin beads that are impregnated with potassium ions which bond with the calcium and magnesium in the water. The only issue with this is that the resin beads inside these systems do not last as long and require replacement far more often than a salt based system. This necessitates higher service costs and generally makes for a weaker ion exchange process compared to salt-based softeners. Regeneration Process of Resin Based Systems After each cycle, resin bead bed needs to be regenerated by washing out accumulated salts through a regeneration process with brine solution or common salt. An automated resin softening plant uses pumps for both feed and concentrate streams and this avoids the costs and is more efficient in operation compared to a conventional regenerating unit which needs to be installed separately.
Is Soft Water Bad For Copper Pipes?
The answer is a resounding NO. In fact, most water softening companies will recommend that you use softer water for washing clothes and harder water for drinking so as to maintain the balance of minerals in your water. It is important to note that this does not apply to private wells. For people on a municipal water supply, you can expect softer water with no adverse effects at all.
Are Water Softeners Easy To Install?
Yes. Most water softeners are very easy to install. Even the most basic systems are often plug and play devices with simple installation procedures that can be done even by the most adamant of DIY enthusiasts with no prior experience in plumbing or hardware installation. More advanced models may require a professional plumber but this is not always the case.
How Do You Clean A Water Softener?
Well, this depends on the type of softener you have. The simplest way to clean a conventional resin-based system is to simply backwash it with brine solution as often as necessary. This should be done at least once a month but can be done more often if your water supply has higher levels of calcium and magnesium deposits that could result in scaling or clogging of pores inside the softening resin beads.
Salt free systems do not require this process because there are no resins to clean out during operation. However, a periodic deep cleaning conducted by a professional plumber should be enough to keep the system operating optimally for years.
There are, in fact, two common causes for sulfur smells in water. The first is when hydrogen sulfide gas turns into sulfuric acid when it comes in contact with oxygen, literally the same chemical reaction that happens in car batteries when they are exposed to air. This can result from plumbing leaks in your home or issues with faulty anode rods in well water systems. A licensed plumber should be able to fix this by replacing corroded pipes or changing out the anodes if required.
The second cause for this smell is far more benign but typically associated with private wells. It results from certain types of bacteria that live inside the filter tanks which produce organic acids called thiosulfates as a byproduct of their metabolism. It has been noted that the level of hydrogen sulfide in water from private wells usually goes up during late summer and early fall when these bacteria are more active due to higher temperatures outside.
Simply switching the filter media often among various cartridges can help reduce this smell though a periodic organic acid treatment should be done by a licensed plumber to remove thiosulfates completely from the system.
Is It Safe To Drink Water From A Water Softener?
Yes, it is perfectly safe to drink water from a water softener. Your body requires minerals in your drinking water so that important body functions like muscle contractions and regulation of blood pressure can happen normally. While the amount of calcium in softened water may seem much higher than what would usually be considered healthy because it is not naturally occurring, softening simply removes hard minerals like magnesium and other non-soluble substances that serve no beneficial purpose inside your body.
Are All Water Softeners The Same?
No, they are not. There are actually four main types of softening systems which you can choose from depending on the quality of water supply in your area and your personal needs for softer water. Each system also comes with its own advantages and disadvantages so make sure to read up before making a decision. Let’s take a look at the 4 most common types of water softener systems:
Counterflow Resin (CFR) Softening Systems – Easiest to install but least energy efficient because two tanks are required for operation (one tank holds clean water while another carries brine solution). It is also very difficult to tell when resin beads inside need replacement. Pot Rejection Resin (KDF) Softening Systems – Do not require brine tanks so they are much more energy efficient than CFR systems. However, water is still slightly acidic and the resin beads could break down faster than other types of softeners. Also, KDF resins can be expensive and difficult to replace. Reverse Osmosis (RO) Softening Systems – These high tech units remove up to 99 percent of contaminants from your water supply but can cost upwards of $1,000 just to install one single unit in a typical home’s plumbing system. While RO softeners do produce very clean water with no sulfur smell at all, it also does not soften your drinking water as well as conventional softening systems mentioned above do by magnesium ions from the equation which is a chemical process that happens inside the softening tanks. Also, since RO softeners require more equipment and plumbing changes to install, it is best left to professionals instead of home DIY enthusiasts.
Electronic Resin Softening Systems – These are new types of resins that contain silver ions embedded into the resin beads without actually having the metal on top. This reduces or removes contaminants from water including nitrates, heavy metals and even fluoride as well as magnesium sulfate which causes that common repulsive smell in some homes during hot weather conditions.
You can see why choosing the right type of system is not an easy task but at least this knowledge makes it easier for you to make informed decisions before deciding what will work best for your family!
How Long Do Water Softeners Last?
Water softeners are designed to last about 20 years or more depending on the level of maintenance and how it is used. Regular filter changes help lengthen the life span of any water softening system. It is also good practice to include some organic acid treatments once in a while during filter changes as this type of treatment helps prevent magnesium sulfate (that common repulsive smell) from returning by neutralizing existing sulfur compounds inside your home’s plumbing system.
How Much Salt Does A Salt-Based Softener Add To Water?
That depends on which type of softener you choose when making your purchase. There are three types of salt-based water softeners that use sodium chloride (salt) as the main ingredient to soften your home’s water supply including:
Granular Salt Softening Systems – Most common type in use today because it is inexpensive and easy to install. An average family will only need about 80-100 pounds of salt to last one full year in their system before maintenance is required so don’t be surprised if the bill seems unusually high during this time each year! All salt based systems work by forcing a brine solution through an ion exchange resin inside the unit which allows magnesium ions from hard water minerals to bond with sodium ions from pure salt.
Crystalline Salt Softening Systems – These types of systems use salt in the form of tiny ice like pellets to filter incoming hard water supply. The freeze-thaw process works by removing magnesium ions using sodium ions instead which is because water molecules attach themselves much more easily to sodium ions than they do with magnesium because of their smaller size. CrystalSoft Salt Pellets are made from 100 percent pure salt and only require about half as much salt as granular systems do, meaning that your monthly bill will be about 25 to 35 percent lower over time compared to other types of water softeners.
Electronic Water Softening Systems – This type has silver ion embedded inside the resin beads which reduces or removes up to 90 percent contaminants including nitrates, heavy metals and fluoride along with magnesium sulfate. Electronic Water Softeners are less corrosive to plumbing systems than other types because the softening process happens inside an electronic unit instead of forcing saltwater brine solution through hard plastics or metals which reduces maintenance time over the years.
Does My Water Bill Increase With The Use Of A Water Softener?
Depending on what type of softener you choose to install in your home, there may or may not be an increase in water bills over time. This is because some types will use more salt than others meaning that they need to be refilled with this product more often over time which means your bill will go up accordingly.
Can I Use Potassium Chloride In Place Of Salt In My Softener?
In most cases the answer is no as this is not a recommended option as potassium chloride is not as effective as sodium chloride for softening water. In some rare cases, homeowners may wish to try using potassium chloride in place of salt during maintenance periods but will need to ensure they use certain additives to protect plumbing pipes from corrosion over time which may cause damage.
If you want to learn more about how a water softener works, or if you’re in the market for one and need some help installing it yourself, we have an article that can give you all of the information you need. In this blog post, we discuss what exactly a water softener is and why they are so important to your home’s plumbing system. We also walk through the installation process step-by-step so there won’t be any surprises when it comes time for install day. With these tips from our experts on hand, anyone should be able to complete their own DIY project with ease!