If you live in an area where the water is naturally hard, it is likely that you have a water softener installed to make the water easier to drink.
Hard water is water that has a higher mineral content than other water, and while it is not dangerous to drink, most people prefer softer water which is why homes that have hard water will generally have a water softener installed to make sure that the water is easier to drink.
These machines are generally seen to be an essential, and if you are used to drinking soft water, transitioning harshly to hard water can be quite uncomfortable.
However, like most machines which you rely upon for daily use, these water softeners can break down or have their functionality become severely limited.
Luckily the problems with water softeners, while not super easy to fix, are doable and quite easy to locate.
If you are not willing to learn how to fix an entirely new machine, it is not recommended to start trying to fix this machine.
It will take a lot of commitment, and you can very easily end up doing more damage than what you started with.
It is always an option to contact the manufacturer, and if your machine is within its warranty period, it is actually going to be easier if you do this as they will usually fix the machine for free.
If the warranty period is up you can always call a professional to help you with fixing it, but of course, this can end up being quite expensive and depending on the severity of the problem might require multiple visits to fix.
However, if you are not phased by either of these are you are willing to learn to fix your water softener yourself, while it will take time to learn, the machinery is not too complex.
Most water softeners are salt-based and these types of softeners tend to run into the same type of issues frequently, so we are going to go step by step through a typical water softener to solve any potential problems.
Table of Contents
Step By Step Water Softener Repair
This process can take up to a whole day if you are fully dedicating yourself to it, make sure to make time to try and do the process in one day instead of spreading it over a longer period as this can just cause further problems.
First Step – Cleaning The Salt Tank
Of course, being a machine with its primary focus to filter with salt, this salt can aggregate and form a hard crust or a dome within the brine tank it is usually stored in.
Salt is added to these systems to help with the process of softening the water, but if you are adding salt to this system more often that you should be this can build up and cause issues.
The easiest way to solve this problem is not too hard, however. All you have to do is open access to the brine tank and use a long stick to break the salt clumps apart from where they have domesticated.
Once you have done this, all you have to do is use a vacuum to remove any leftover sediment from the tank to make sure the problem does not repeat itself.
If you want to go the extra mile you can use a combination of soap and water to clean the tank to make sure no grime is left in there.
Second Step – Cleaning The Resin Tank Injector
If you have too much dirty salt in your water softener, this can damage the resin tank injector as it easily becomes clogged with these salt sediments.
To fix this issues you want to make sure the water supply is completely turned off and after this run your water softener through a manual regeneration.
The goal of this is to relieve water pressure that has built up within the injector. After you have gotten rid of this excess pressure you need to find the caps either side of the water softener and remove them.
Usually on the right side of the head of the softener you will be able to locate the injector which will have its screen on the left side of the head.
Once you have found the injector you will be able to clean it and then re-install the caps.
Third Step – Cleaning The Resin Bed
A lot of water softeners are designed to filter out iron as this is a common component of hard water.
If this is the case for your water softener it is likely you will have to clean out the resin bed to get excess iron out of the system.
You can buy a specific agent that is needed to clean out this part of the softener and these products will all have their own instructions so make sure to carefully consult them.
To get rid of the iron in the resin bed you will need to remove the cover from the control valve and once this has been done press the regenerator knob.
After this you want to turn this knob clockwise to activate the ‘service’ mode. This is the stage in which you use the cleaning agent you have purchased to run through the water softener.
Fourth Step – Checking There Is Sufficient Water Flowing To The Brine Tank
Even if you find some water in the brine tank, this does not mean that you have a sufficient level of water in the brine tank.
This can often be caused by only having water pumped into the bottom of the tank that will make your water softener will decrease its softening capacity.
This issue can be caused by the brine tank float not being set to straight. If you see that the float of the brine tank is not able to freely rise you will need to give it the freedom to move this way.
If this does not solve the issue, you may have to switch out all the parts from inside the brine tank or even replace the switch.
If these fixes do not solve your problems with your water softener, there could be more specific issues plaguing your machine, so how do we fix these?
Other Common Fixes Needed For A Water Softener
Salt bridges can usually form between the lines of your water softener, but they can be just as prevalent within your tank, unfortunately.
If you are not sufficiently up keeping your water softener the salt is likely to bridge near the base of the tank because of an excessive sodium content.
This will likely not stop the function of the softener, but it will limit its abilities.
If you notice harder water than usual this is likely caused by a salt bridge, but luckily it is easy to check inside the tank and then use a long hard object to break up these structures.
Use a good light source to make sure you are not missing any spots.
Other Possible Blockages
Like many filtration systems, blockages of any kind can cause problems. These can be created by accumulated salt or mineral content and will mostly appear within the line or brine line of the filter screen.
If you notice that you are getting a much lower volume of softened water this is likely due to a blockage. Luckily these can be removed similarly to other previously mentioned issues.
Resin Beads Not Working In Water Softener
One of the best methods of treating hard water are the previously mentioned salt-based machines, these systems rely upon the use of resin beads.
Luckily these beads tend to last just as long as the water softener that is being used, but sometimes because of certain circumstances their efficacy can be lowered.
The best way to tell if the resin beads are the source of the issue with is if there are visible particles inside the softener or there is a more common demand for recharging by your softener.
The simple way to solve this issue is to replace either particularly damaged beads or just get a whole new batch.
Sometimes water softeners need manual use but this of course can cause issues if used incorrectly. Water softeners are not simple machines and with so many variables it can be easy for users to make mistakes.
The best way to avoid this is to make sure to fully revise the manual of the device before attempting to change any settings, especially if you were planning to go in blind.
However, if you are trying to fix a previous mistake and do not remember where you went wrong you may need to contact a professional or the manufacturer.
Finally, motor issues can be incredibly problematic for water softeners as they can fail for a litany of reasons.
The best way to avoid this is to properly maintain the motor regularly, so you can see the first signs of issues before they spiral.
If there are no clear signs of a broken motor, they can very simply have aged out and need replacing.
So now you know how to fix most of the main problems with a water softener, but there are also some easy tips to keep it running as smoothly as possible!
- Even if you are supplying your water softener with pure salt, empty and clean the tank annually.
- Do not use standard rock salt to stop sediment build up which can lead to blockages.
- Make sure to utilize an iron remover if you know your water has iron content.
- Keep your eyes on the softener drain line to make sure it is installed properly.
Keep in mind all the advice and your water softener should be running smoothly!