Water Softener Maintenance Checklist

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Now that you have installed your new water softener, do you know how to maintain your water softener?

It’s important that you do because otherwise, it can cause severe problems in your home. If you don’t take care of the system, it could be putting your family at risk for sickness and disease.

You might not even notice what is happening right in front of you. What are some things that indicate a problem with the water softener? How often should I have my water softener serviced?

So, don’t let it slip by unnoticed. Take a few minutes to read this list and make sure you are doing everything necessary to upkeep your system.

This water softener maintenance guide will answer all these questions and with helpful tips!

Top Tips on Water Softener Maintenance

Although water softeners are built to last, they require some routine maintenance. Here are our top tips on how to keep your water softener in good condition:

Check the Salt Levels in Your Softener

It’s critical to check your water softener salt levels at least once every four weeks, if not more frequently if you have a lot of hard water mineral build-up. The salt is in the brine tank, where the water softening process occurs. Sodium ions “cross” with magnesium and calcium ions through the ion exchange process.

If your salt concentration is too low, your softener will be unable to soften water, so keep this in mind.

Check the salt level of your water softener. Lift the lid to the brine tank. The salt should be high enough to cover any visible water. If it is not, refill with salt and make sure not to fill it too much (salt should be at least three inches above the waterline).

Hard water will leave a residue on everything it touches, including the inside of your softener. Over time, this can build up and slow down or stop your system from working altogether. Using high-quality salt pellets will help keep your system running well and reduce the need for maintenance.

Solar salt, also known as “sea salt,” is made from evaporated seawater. Solar salt is 99.6% pure and dissolves more readily than rock salt, which will dissolve faster.

Evaporated salt is a mixture of sodium chloride and other substances, such as polysorbate. It’s the purest form, made from mining and evaporation, with a purity rate of 99.9 percent sodium chloride. Evaporated salt is more expensive, but it works the best against hard water.

Your Brine Tank Should Be Cleaned Once a Year

To clean the brine tank, use a solution of one gallon of white vinegar to every ten gallons of water to clean the tank. Run this solution through your system for about 15 minutes, then let it sit for another 15 minutes. Drain and flush the tank with freshwater. It is advisable to repeat this process once a year.

If you have a lot of hard water mineral build-up, you may need to do this more often.

To clean your brine tank:

  • Fill it with a solution of one gallon of white vinegar to every ten gallons of water. You’ll need to remove the tank from the softener and clean it with a stiff scrub brush.
  • Use this solution for 15 minutes, then let the vinegar sit for another 15 minutes (don’t forget about it).
  • Drain and flush with fresh water.

When the tank is finished, empty it and clean it. Remove the salt plate and wash it with cold water and dish soap. Then fill the tank with a few liters of dishwashing detergent and scrub it with a long-handled brush.

Break Salt Bridges

Break Salt Bridges

If you have hard water, you might start to see salt bridges form. These little mounds of salt can build up and prevent the salt from dissolving properly.

To break up salt bridges, use a broom handle or something similar to poke them apart. You can also try running a hot water faucet for a few minutes to break them up.

High humidity, temperature changes, or the incorrect type of salt are all common causes.

The most reliable method to discover a salt bridge is to use a broom handle and lightly nudge the top of the salt with some force to break it up if it has frozen. If your broom strikes something solid that isn’t on the bottom or sides of the aquarium, there’s a salt bridge.

If you find a salt bridge, poke it apart with a broom handle or something similar. You can also try running a hot water faucet for a few minutes to break them up.

Dissolve Mush

If you have a water softener, you’re probably using salt to keep the minerals in check. And if you’re using salt, you’re going to have to dissolve it from time to time.

How often you’ll need to dissolve the salt depends on how much hardness your water has. If you have a high concentration of minerals in your water, you’ll need to dissolve the salt more often.

To dissolve the salt, pour it into the brine tank and add water. The water will help to dissolve the salt and flush it out of the system.

You can also use a wet/dry vacuum to suck up any liquid in the tank.

If You Don’t Have a Pre-filter, Add One

If your water softener doesn’t have a pre-filter, you can buy one and install it yourself. A pre-filter will help remove large particles of dirt and sediment from the water before entering the softener. This will help reduce the amount of maintenance needed on the softener.

A pre-filter is a good idea if you have a lot of sediment in your water or if your water has a high chlorine content.

You can buy a pre-filter at most hardware stores or online.

Learn How to Clean a Resin Tank

You need a resin tank for a water softener, and you need to know how to clean it.

Resin tanks aren’t difficult to maintain, but they require routine cleaning. If you don’t keep the resin tank clean, it could clog up, and your system won’t work as efficiently as it should.

So what’s the best way to clean the water softener resin tank? First, fill it with a solution of one gallon of white vinegar to every ten gallons of water. After 15 minutes, let it sit for 15 more minutes. Drain and flush the tank with freshwater.

If you have a lot of hard water mineral build-up, you may need to do this as often as once a month.

If you don’t want vinegar over your floor, you can suck out the resin using a wet/dry vacuum.

Make sure to check if your softener already has one and use it if one is pre-installed.

To Get Your Softener Serviced, Hire a Professional

If you’re having trouble with your water softener, it may be time to call in the pros.

A professional will diagnose any problems with your system and fix them for you.

It’s cheaper than buying a new system, and it’s less hassle than doing all of the work yourself. It can even help prolong the life of your system.

However, having a professional inspect your system every few years will ensure that it functions at peak efficiency and extends its life expectancy.

Save the number to a local company in your contact list, or add them to a schedule that you can access from anywhere.

How to Add Salt to a Water Softener?

The basic water softener works by trapping hard minerals in a tank with resin beads. The salt helps replenish the sodium ions in the tank, which opens up the ion exchange sites to attract more of these minerals.

When you put salt into your brine tank, it dissolves and creates this saline solution filling all the available nooks and crannies in the resin beads. This allows them to function more efficiently and regenerate more quickly, so you have softer water throughout your home.

If you’re not sure how to add salt to a water softener, here are the basic steps:

  • Shut off the water supply to your softener by turning off the shutoff valve where the water supply line enters the unit.
  • Add salt to a bucket or another large container, and then use a funnel to transfer it into the brine tank.
  • Turn on the water, open both valves, and start regeneration by pressing a button on your control panel or using a manual timer clock.

How to Tell if Your Water Softener Is Working?

If you’re not sure whether your water softener is working correctly, there are a few ways to tell. The most obvious sign is that your water will be softer. You may also notice less calcium deposits on sinks, faucets, and showerheads.

Another way to test it is to put a few drops of food coloring into a glass of water from the softener. If the food coloring disperses into the entire glass of water, then your system is working fine.

Best Salt for Water Softeners

  • Morton Clean & Protect
  • Nature’s Potassium Solution
  • Morton Pure and Natural
  • Morton Potassium Chloride Pellets
  • Diamond Crystal Solar Naturals
  • Morton Clean & Protect Rust Defense
  • Diamond Crystal Bright & Soft

Water Softener Maintenance FAQs

What is a salt bridge?

It’s called a ” salt bridge ” when you have enough salt built up to block the water, it’s called a “salt bridge.” It can cause problems if not cleaned properly. The best way to clean it is by using hot water and pulling out the material with a wet/dry vacuum.

How often do I need to drain my water softener?

This is something that you need to consider when purchasing a water softener. If it is less than 45 gallons, you should drain and clean it every few weeks. This will help keep the system running efficiently and eliminate any noise issues or reduced efficiency due to lime build-up. However, if you have a larger unit, it may need draining only once or twice per year.

How often do I need to clean my resin tank?

This is generally something that needs to be done when you first set up your system and then every few months after, depending on the amount of hard water in your area. If you have a lot of build-ups, you may need to do it more often.

How often does a water softener need to be cleaned?

A water softener should be cleaned at least once every 12 to 18 months. However, if you have hard water or use more soap than average, you may need to clean it every month. If the system is not being used for an extended time, it will also need to be drained and cleaned.

Do water softeners need annual maintenance?

It is a good idea to have your water softener inspected and serviced every year by a professional. This will help ensure that it functions at peak efficiency and extend its life expectancy. You should also check the salt levels regularly to ensure you have enough on hand.

What are some signs that my water softener is malfunctioning?

If the water is not as soft as it should be, if you hear odd noises coming from your unit, or if the water looks cloudy after using soap within a few hours of regenerating, it may be due to a malfunction. If these signs happen, call a professional to inspect and service the system for you.

How much does it cost for a professional to service my water softener?

A water softener service call and inspection vary from $40 to $100, depending on the device and additional equipment. The average yearly maintenance contract costs $100 to $250 per year and may cover repairs, cleaning, salt refills, water testing, and an annual examination.

Some of Best Water Softener


Final Words

A water softener is an essential household appliance for anyone who lives in a hard water area. It helps to reduce scale build-up on your fixtures and appliances, keeps your clothes and dishes looking their best, and makes it easier to clean your home.

By following this simple maintenance checklist, you can ensure that your water softener system is working correctly and providing you with the best results.