How to Repair Water Softener Problems

What You'll Need
Wet/dry vacuum
Sodium hydrosulfite cleaner

When you use a water softener, you need to be able to rectify water softener problems quickly. You have one in your house because the water in your area is hard, so it’s a vital piece of equipment. Like anything else, things can go wrong with a water softener. If you know how to troubleshoot the most common water softener problems you can have it functioning again quickly.

Step 1 - Turn it Off

Before you can start to discover your water softener problems you need to turn the unit off. Trace the pipes to where they connect to the house. The lever should point to “Soft.” Turn it in the other direction. Now turn off the power to the unit.

Step 2 - Salt

The most common of water softener problems is that the unit is out of salt. You can check this easily in the tank, and it’s something you should do regularly, about once a month, as part of your maintenance schedule. The salt goes in the brine tank and takes calcium and magnesium from the hard water. You can use evaporated salt, solar salt or rock salt in the tank. Put salt in until the tank is about 2/3 full.

Step 3 - Excess Salt

Another of the common water softener problems is an excess of salt.  If you put in too much, or keep adding salt before it’s needed it can form a dome in the brine tank. When this happens you need to clear out all the salt from the tank. Break up the salt dome with a broom and remove it. From there you’ll have to take out all the sediment with a wet/dry vac, then clean the tank with soap and water before rinsing clean.

Step 4 - Resin Bed

The resin bed is the heart of the unit and can be the source of some water softener problems. It lies right next to the brine tank in the unit. You can have a build up of materials that come from the salt within in the resin bed, causing it not to function properly. The biggest culprits here are silt, manganese and iron, and these have to be removed.

To do this there are different substances you can add to the brine tank that will flush them out. What you use depends on your particular tastes, but whatever you choose, it needs to contain hydrogen hyrdosulfite. You’ll find that, in hydrocholoric acid, phosphoric acid cleaners or even citric acid cleaners.

Step 5 - Injector

You can have water softener problems with the injector if it becomes clogged. To remove sediment from it you’ll first have to put your water softener through a manual regeneration before you unclog the injector by removing and rinsing it through. You will also need to be sure to give the screen a thorough cleaning as sediment will also have formed there, adding to the water softener problems.