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5 Common Water Softener Problems Causing Your Hard Water Issues

A water softener changes the relationship you have with your water!You’re taking a shower, but you notice that the soap and shampoo isn’t lathering like normal. You also notice after your shower that your skin has this filmy, dry feeling, and your hair seems dull and lifeless. What the heck? Your home has a water softener, so why is your water hard? You check your water softener and the tank has salt in it, so what’s the problem?

At Pipe Dream Plumbing, we have experience in handling water softener problems. Several malfunctions can cause your water softener to not work correctly. Some of these are easy to fix. Your first step would be to flush your water softener tank to see if more salt needs to be added to your system. If this is the problem, add more salt and refill the tank. However, if this solution doesn’t take care of the problem, here are 5 common incidents that could be going on with your water softener.

No. 1. The Motor Isn’t Working.

Just like your car, your water softener needs a motor to operate. If your system isn’t starting, the motor may be the cause. First, make sure the system is plugged in and switched on. Check the cables to make sure they’re not damaged. If everything looks fine, schedule a repair appointment with Pipe Dream. We’ll inspect your system to determine if the motor is the issue. If it is, we can replace it, or you may want to consider purchasing a new water softener.

No. 2. The System Has a Blockage.

Salt and minerals in the water can build up deposits within your system. Three common blockage areas are the filter screen, the brine line, and at the base of the brine tank (known as a salt bridge).

Filter Screen. The filter screen is a part of the resin tank injector. The screen blocks sediment particles contained in dirty salt. Salt is used to produce the brine solution needed in the water softening process. When sediment particles build up over time, the screen can become blocked. To clear the blockage, follow the instructions in the user manual for your water softener.

Brine Line. The brine line is a plastic tube that carries the brine solution between the brine tank and the water softener. First, flush the brine line according to the instructions in your water softener’s user manual. Check the line for damage which can affect the pressure within the lines. For the brine line to work efficiently, the correct pressure must be maintained.

Salt Bridge. A salt bridge can be caused by adding too much salt to the tank or by adding it too frequently. Too much salt added to your system can cause it to build up inside the base of the brine tank, forming a salt bridge. This bridge will look like a hard dome or crust inside the tank. However, it will have a large air pocket underneath it.

To remove a salt bridge, you can use a rubber mallet or broom handle to break it apart. Make sure to remove all the salt buildup around the edges. Throw away these salt deposits. Use a shop vacuum to remove any sediment in the bottom of the tank. Thoroughly clean the tank (and the brine well inside the tank, if there is one) with soap and water. Completely rinse the tank with clean water.

No. 3.  Too Much Iron in the Resin Bed

A water softener removes “hard” particles like magnesium and calcium in the water through an ion exchange process. Special negatively charged resin beads within the water softener tank attract the positively charge magnesium and calcium ions and remove them from the water. The positively charged ions are replaced with sodium and potassium ions contained in the brine solution. This process causes the water to become “soft.”

However, if your water contains iron, it can foul the resin bed eventually, causing it to not work as effectively. To keep your water softener working properly, use pure salt that contains an iron remover. Additionally, run Iron-Out through your system once a year to clean the resin bed. Follow the instructions in the user manual for using Iron-Out in your system.

Get Professional Water Softener Repair Help

The above are just a few of the most common water softener problems. If your water is starting to feel hard again and you can’t figure out why, contact the plumbing professionals at Pipe Dream. Our water softener experts have decades of experience in the plumbing industry. We can diagnose and repair your water softener problem in your Indianapolis area home at a competitive price. And if you need a new water softener, we can install it, too. Call us today at 317-388-1988 to fix your hard water nightmare.