Common Water Softener Problems You May Encounter
Water softeners are designed to last for a long time, but not forever. If you are not careful on how you use it, there is a real possibility that its effective service life can get even shorter. There are a variety of problems that you may encounter during the lifecycle of your water softener, and here are some of the most common ones.
Water Pressure Drop
Sometimes when the water pressure is weaker than what we are accustomed to, we immediately assume that the shower or faucet is clogged. However, it is seldom that the city water pressure is checked. So if it is the lack of water pressure, you need to confirm that the problem is not with the city water department. If you have a pressure valve installed, you can check it as well to help you verify if the water pressure is at optimal level.
If the water pressure is ideal, then one thing you can consider is clogging or blockage. Keep in mind that plumbing systems will always be susceptible to clogging, especially when you consider that salt and minerals may accumulate to form deposits that will block the aerator or showerhead. When the line is blocked with deposits, the water flowing through the tank will be obstructed.
With water softeners, clogging can usually occur in either the brine line or the filter screen. How do you know if the blockage is in the line? When there is substantial difference in the degree of the water softened. Usually specific units offer solutions on how to remove blockages for that particular water softener.
If the clogging is not in the line, you should also check your showerheads and aerators. Mineral deposits can also form within the pipes. Showerheads and pipes can be cleaned out with water while blocked pipes may need professional plumbing service.
Do you find sand-like particles mixed in your water? If so, there is a high probability that the resins of the water softener needs to be replaced. The resins are not the same as the salt you put into the tank of the water softener. Do not be alarmed though because the resins will eventually breakdown over time. When this happens it will get into water lines and result in clogged faucet aerators and showerheads.
This means that once you observe these sand-like particles you should immediately replace the resins. Why? The fragmented resins can cause damage to your plumbing fixtures and water heater. To replace the resins, you would need to close the valves leading to the water softener and open its bypass valve.
If you are thinking of replacing the resins yourself, it is important to note that in terms of savings, you gain very little. Usually, installation of a new resin would be around $200 to $250. Depending on the plumbing service you call, cleaning may be included in the service before refilling of new resins is done.
On the average, resins have been known to last for 20 years, but the chlorine in the city water will damage and shorten the life of resins by as much as half. For your peace of mind, call on a professional plumbing service to handle resin replacement.
Majority of appliances have motors; and most of these will eventually fail after a couple of years. This is the same with the motor of the water softener, which will eventually give out. The most common sign that the problem is associated with the motor is that the water softener fails to operate. This is of course not a surefire diagnosis since problems can also be with the cables, so you need to do a bit more diagnosis before you conclude that he motor has died. Having a replacement motor installed would require professional service.
Problems with water softeners are no joking matter. The next time you suspect something is wrong, call Scott English Plumbing immediately for help.