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How to Check Your Water Softener

Learn how to check your water softener with the help of Blain’s Farm & Fleet.

If you’re dealing with hard water, the first place to check is your water softener. Hard water can stem from a few different problems with your water softener system. Learn all about how a softener works, and what you can do to remedy any problems with your system with the help of Blain’s Farm & Fleet.

How to Check Your Water Softener
Do you have hard water in your home? The first place to looks is your water softener. Learn how to check it with Blain’s Farm & Fleet.

How a Water Softener Works

Whether you have a one-tank or two-tank water softener system, they all work the same way. Hard water flows through into a resin tank, which is filled with resin beads. The hard water minerals stick to the resin beads so only soft water can flow through into your faucets and showers. Over time, the resin beads aren’t able to hold any more hard water minerals. When this happens, the water softener needs to recharge and the brine tank (the tank that holds water softener salt) cleans the resin beads.

Check Your Water Softener Settings

To begin assessing the problem, check your softener’s control settings. Many softener systems have a control system where you can set the duration and time for the resin tank to recharge. Power outages can cause the timer clock to turn off. Make sure your unit plugged in and that the timer is set correctly. Do this at a time when on one in your household is using water.

Another thing to check is the hardness setting. Bring a sample of your hard water to your local Blain’s Farm & Fleet, where we can test the hardness of the water–for free. Compare those results against your softener’s settings. Read through your owner’s manual if you’re unsure about the correct settings. If these don’t remedy the problem, it’s time to check your salt supply tank.

Check Your Salt Supply Tank

The next step is to check your salt supply tank. Sometimes a salt bridge will form in the tank, which will cause the salt to stop dissolving in the brine tank. Resin beads stop being cleaned, which results in your hard water. Take a broom handle and push it into the salt in the tank. Push all the way through to the bottom of the tank. If the salt starts to cave in, you’ve hit a salt bridge. Once this happens, you should have soft water in another day or two.

Another problem in the salt tank could be buildup in the bottom of the tank. Empty the brine tank of all salt and check for a mushy buildup at the bottom. While a little grime and dirt is common, mushy buildup is usually salt that has not dissolved all the way. This mush can clog the tank’s intake system and the resin beads aren’t completely cleaned, resulting in hard water. Dissolve the salt in a bucket of hot water and pour it back into the brine tank. Also take the time to clean the tube that sends the salt from the brine tank to the resin tank.

When to Call a Plumber

If you still have hard water after do these checks on your water softener, it’s time to call your local plumber. Water softener systems contain gears, timers, pumps and electrical elements that should only be handled by a professional. For more home maintenance tips, visit our blog.

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