water softener is a fairly simple appliance that lowers the content
of "hard" minerak in water—magnesium and calcium—and
replaces them with sodium or potassium. Removing hard minerals can
prolong the life of pipes and appliances.
actual softening process takes place in the resin tank, which is
filled with plastic beads containing sodium. The brine tank contains
salt or potassium pellets and is designed to recharge the sodium
in the mineral tank when the plastic beads become depleted.
softener has just a few mechanical parts—valves to control
water flow in and out of the tank, and a timer, which regulates
the regeneration process during which the mineral tank is recharged
by the brine tank.
your water becomes hard, it may be because the brine tank needs
additional salt or potassium pellets. Depending on usage, pellets
need to be replaced every couple of months. Because household demands
vary, check your supply every week until you can determine roughly
how often your salt or potassium supply should be replenished.
water can also be the result of an improperly set timer. Adjusting
the timer to run more frequently may be all that's needed to ensure
a constant supply of soft water. Iron content also is a cause of
hard water. From time to time, the iron content of your water supply
should be measured. Adding a water filter can prevent problems by
reducing the iron flowing into the water softener.
problems generally arise either in the brine line or in the control
unit. The brine line can be inspected and cleaned (opposite page).
If the control unit needs servicing, remove it and bring it to your
nearest dealer. Removal instructions for your particular unit should
accompany your owner's manual.
& Cleaning Brine Connections
brine line can be blocked by the buildup of sediment from the water
supply or by foreign particles in the salt or potassium. As the
line becomes restricted, the movement of brine into the resin tank
slows down. When the brine water can't reach the resin tank, calcium
and magnesium accumulate, hindering the ability of the salt or potassium
to soften the water. For this reason, it's a good idea to inspect
the brine line every two years.
by unplugging the softener. To divert the water supply, turn the
or close the inlet valve and turn on the nearest faucet. Turn the
timer dial to BACKWASH.
needle nose pliers, remove the compression nut that connects the
brine line to the control unit. Inspect the line for obstructions
particles or residue from the line, using a small screwdriver (photo
B). Then flush the line with warm water—a funnel or kitchen
baster is useful for this task—then reattach the brine line.
inspect the brine injector. Don't reconnect the power or make any
changes to the supply or control dial. To gain access to the brine
injector, which is often directly below the brine line connection,
use a screwdriver to remove the cover. Unscrew the injector from
housing (photo C).
off the injector filter screen that covers the injector (photo D).
Wash the screen with soap and water. Clean the injector by blowing
into it or wiping it out with a soft cloth. Don't use a sharp object
that might scratch the metal and damage the injector.
the screen and screw the injector back into the water softener.
Attach the cover.
Return the bypass valve to its original position (or open the inlet
valve and turn off the faucet). Reset the control dial and plug
in the water softener.