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Extending the Life of Your Water Softener

It’s safe to assume that you want your water softener to last as long as possible. Water softeners can be expensive, and you don’t want to go without one for very long. The good news: a water softener that is properly sized, installed, and maintained can last over 20 years. The better news: you can help make sure yours lasts that long by following simple maintenance steps.

Paying attention to your water softener will really pay off in terms of time, stress, and money. Whether your softener is brand new or so old you can’t remember, double-check to make sure you’re doing these things. Even one of the items on this list could make years of difference.

Optimize Settings

A lot of homeowners don’t know this, but water softeners have multiple adjustable settings. You control when the softener regenerates, how much softening it does, and the amount of water it treats.

The “hardness” setting lets the softener know how hard your area’s water is. Check your softener’s manual for more information on how to set and adjust the settings. Most manuals will also tell you how to best set the softener for maximum performance. It may even include a chart for how you should set it based on your area’s specifications.

Optimize Sizing

If your water softener is too small for your home, it’ll have to work a lot harder. This overtime will exhaust the water softener, and it’ll go out a lot faster than it would otherwise. You may also experience flow rate problems because your water softener won’t be able to treat your water fast enough.

If your water softener is too big for your home, it won’t do enough work to trigger regeneration on time. When a water softener doesn’t regenerate, it’s not as effective and bacteria can grow in the tank. There are a lot of ways to make sure your water softener is properly sized for your home. Check the softener manual for settings and sizing information. You can also check how much water you use against the capacity rate of your softener.

Use Clean Salt or Potassium Chloride

Cheap salt and potassium chloride leads to a problem called bridging. Bridging occurs when water melts salt crystals together, eventually forming a crust. This crust combines with sediment filtered out through softening and forms a buildup in the tank.

Bridging can interfere with softening, lower water quality, or break the softener tank. To avoid bridging and sediment buildup, use only high-grade salt or potassium chloride in your water softener. Do some research to find a brand of salt that suits your needs, and stick to it.

Stop Filling Salt at ½ to ¾ full

Stop filling up your softener once the intake section is one-half to three-fourths full. If you continue to add salt past this point, the softener will have to work harder to do its job. Ironically, it won’t soften or even consume salt as efficiently.

Most water softeners have an indicator on the inside of the salt intake section telling you when to stop filling. Usually, this indicator is accurate, but it wouldn’t hurt to ask an expert.

Have Plumber Clean System

Even if you’re doing everything right, softening naturally produces sediment and other waste over time. You should have a brand-new, optimized water softener cleaned about once every two years. An older water softener should be cleaned more often.

The nice thing about cleaning your softener is you can have your expert inspect it while they’re cleaning. An expert can tell you if you’re running your softener efficiently, and what you can change if you’re not.

Your water softener is one of the most important components of your water system. Maintaining its effectiveness as long as possible will save money and improve your quality of life. If you have any questions or concerns about your water softener, or any other part of your water system, Benjamin Franklin Plumbing® of Dallas's technicians have the experience and expertise to answer them. Schedule a service today!