Water Softener Troubleshooting Tips

Water softener troubleshooting is not particularly difficult as the system is fairly simple. Your water softener has three main parts: a mineral exchange tank, a brine tank and a control mechanism. Fixing issues with any of these parts involves knowing where to look.

Troubleshooting Water Softener Issues

Your water softener should give you years of trouble-free use, provided it is cleaned and maintained regularly. You'll know you've got issues when you start to see the symptoms of hard water-mineral spots on glassware, soap that won't lather and (worst of all) lank, sticky hair after washing. Here are some common problems and their solutions:

  • A salty solution. Your first stop should be to check the brine tank. Is the salt level adequate for successful operation? If not, refill the brine tank according to the manufacturer's instructions. Also, check the consistency of the salt. If the salt has formed a cake-like plug over the surface of the tank (called bridging), you'll need to correct the problem. For a quick fix, carefully break up the salt plug using a broom handle. The salt in your brine tank will ultimately have to be replaced, since the compromised salt will continue to cake up.
  • Who turned out the lights? If your water softener fails to operate, check the usual electrical suspects. Check to see if the plug has been accidentally pulled out. Make sure no fuses are burnt out or circuit breakers tripped. Finally, check to see if the water softener has been plugged into a switched outlet that has bee turned off.
  • Iron out any problems. If your water has iron-orange or red staining is a clue-the mineral exchange tank may have collected iron residue. You can purchase a cleaner to remove iron at stores that sell water supply and treatment products.
  • By-pass hard water. Hard water in your system can be the result of having the by-pass valve left in the open position. Close the by-pass valve following the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Clogged injector. Regularly inspect the injector-your owner's manual will help you locate the injector in your water softener. Remove, clean and replace the injector screen if it becomes clogged.
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