How Do You Clean Water Softeners?
There are a number of components in your water softener. It’s important to keep the components clean, especially the resin beads. The resin bed should be cleaned at least once a year, and more frequently if it shows signs of wear and tear.
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Typically, your water softener has a screen that prevents dirt and particles from entering the system. However, it’s common for this mesh to clog up over time. This can cause problems with your water softener. You can clean your softener and restore it to working order by removing the grid plate and cleaning the screen.
If your water softener is more than five years old, you might consider sending it to a professional for an inspection. Professionals can identify the issues with your system, and can help you choose the best salt for your needs. They can also perform periodic maintenance, and clean your water softener for you.
Water softener resin can become contaminated with bacteria and mildew, causing an unpleasant odor. In some cases, the resin is unable to remove the contaminants. Depending on the hardness of your water, you may need to increase the amount of salt used.
It’s best to get a test kit for your water hardness, and to check your resin on a regular basis. Many home improvement stores carry kits that are easy to use. Test kits are inexpensive and accurate. When your system is not functioning properly, it may be time to replace it.
Salt bridges can cause issues with your water softener. Salt is hard, so it doesn’t easily dissolve. Over time, salt can build up in the sides of your tank, forming a bridge. Breaking the bridge with a broom handle is one way to do it.
Your water softener also needs regular recharging. Most water softeners run regeneration cycles, which can be scheduled. Unfortunately, too long of a cycle will allow minerals to accumulate in the resin bed. These minerals can erode the resin, making it less effective.
Your water softener also needs to be disinfected and recharged periodically. You can use a bleach solution, or vinegar. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions, and to wear gloves when handling the bleach.
The brine tank of your water softener should be sanitized once a year, and more often if the water contains a lot of iron. Iron and manganese can corrode and foul the resin. High iron and manganese levels can interfere with the operation of your water softener.
In addition to regular sanitization, your water softener can benefit from a periodic vinegar cycle. Vinegar is an acidic liquid, which helps sanitize the water softener. To sanitize your brine tank, pour two cups of bleach into the tank. Leave the solution for about 15 minutes and then scrub it in the float assembly.
Another option is to drain and flush your softener to remove excess saltwater. This will flush any calcium or magnesium down the drain. Also, if you notice any floating particles in your softened water, it’s likely that the resin has broken down. Floating particles can also indicate the need for a resin bed replacement.