It is normally recommended that your water softener or other water filtration equipment be serviced or maintained annually, however, there may be interim issues that come up which can be diagnosed and remedied by the homeowner. Proper maintenance will help get the maximum useful life out of your equipment and ensure proper functioning to consistently deliver softened or conditioned water to your home. There are many different brands of water softeners, some much more efficient than others in terms of water and salt usage. Some are capable of conditioning a larger volume of water, therefore estimated water usage prior to selecting a system is very important. For water with elevated levels of iron and/or manganese, an up-flow water softener (versus a down-flow) is highly recommended to avoid damaging mineral build-up at the bottom of the tank. For more complicated problems, contacting a water treatment service technician for water softener repair is your best option. Below is a list of some common symptoms of problems with your water softener.
CHECKLIST: IF SOFTENER IS NOT WORKING
Assure the system is actually “on” and working, that is, the system has power, then:
- Check the water softener bypass valve: You want first to see that the water softener is not on “bypass” – is household water flowing through the unit?
This valve is an option and may not be installed on your unit, but there may be standard plumbing valves or globe valves that accomplish the same purpose.
- Check power to the softener: If the unit uses electricity to run a timer, be sure it’s plugged in to a live outlet and has power. Some water conditioners use a low-voltage transformer to power the control – be sure that device is present, plugged in, and working. Also, a power failure could cause the timer to be improperly set. Re-set the day of week and time of day on the water softener timer after an electrical power failure or after the softener has been powered “off” for a time.
- Check salt tank: Is there salt in the salt tank? If not, add salt to the tank.
- Manually regen cycle: Then try a manual regeneration cycle – you’ll see on most units a lever you can push on the control box to start that regeneration process. Note: your home will not be delivered conditioned or softened water while the water softener is in the regeneration cycle, therefore, its best not to use water (or use as little as possible- flushing toilets is OK, etc.) in the home until the regeneration process is complete. This is why most programmed regeneration is set for late at night when water usage is much less likely.
- Feel and test the water supply: if you still can’t get a lather when bathing the water may be insufficiently treated.
OTHER POTENTIAL SOFTENER REPAIR SYMPTOMS
Without fully diagnosing, it can be very difficult to determine what is really causing the problem and whether of not a water softener repair is even necessary. This is where a service technician will be able to trouble shoot the situation and come to a determination and solution to the problem. While there are so many possible symptoms and problems a softener may experience, the following are a few that you may see.
- Loss of water pressure downstream from the softener
- Mineral discharge from the water softener and into the home’s water supply
- Staining on home fixtures even though the water softener seems to be running properly
- Excessive salt usage by the system, requiring higher than normal salt tank fill ups
- Hard water evidence observed right after a regeneration cycle.