If only everything in life was as low-maintenance and efficient at its job as a water softener.
A trusted, quiet friend and worker bee for home owners, water softeners rarely act up and only require the occasional bag of salt to do their job. Capturing hard water minerals as they pass through their tanks, water softeners apprehend harmful harm water, allowing only soft water to pass through the system.
Still, no water softener is impervious, and without the occasional system tuneup, a water softener can fall asleep on the job. And the cost hard water can have on both your appliances’ efficiency and your home energy savings can be severe if left unchecked.
A Water Quality Association study found by using soft water in your home, home appliances live longer and more productively. Homeowner101.com reports hard water can take 30-50 percent off the average lifespan of essential home appliances like washing machines (11 years to 7.7), dishwashers (10 years to 7), electric water heaters (13 years to 6.5) and toilets (6.5 years to 2). On the flip side, a well-working water softener can save your family $800 annually in energy costs. That’s a Wisconsin Dells family vacation right there.
A 4-Step Prescription for a Healthy Water Softener
True to their low-drama personality, water softeners don’t require much care to work at optimal performance. Here is the Family Handyman’s Four-Step Prescription for a Healthy Softener:
- Use pure salt with iron remover. Standard rock salt is less expensive, but the contaminants it contains will cost you more in the long run. Rock salt can cause inches of sediment to build up in the brine tank and the sediment can clog the injector and the softener’s control valve.
- Use Iron-Out once a year to clean the resin bed and the parts in the control valve.
- Clean the brine tank once a year. Even pure salt contains contaminants.
- Make sure the softener’s drain line isn’t pushed down into a floor drain. The end of the softener’s drain line should be above the grate of the drain to prevent accidental siphoning of sewage into the softener.
Symptoms of a Failing Water Softener
Usually, only a professional water softener whisperer will notice early signs of a water softener failing. But the longer a neglected water softener goes without fresh salt or maintenance, the more telling and costly the symptoms. From cloudy dishes to toilet flow issues to higher home water bills, homeowners can tell their water softener isn’t running at optimum efficiency.
The first rule of water softener troubleshooting is not all water softeners can be saved. Softeners over 20 years have outlived their standard operating lifespan and are best replaced.
Low key, trustworthy and only requesting a few bags of salt a year for substance, water softeners are an underrated, minimal maintenance valuable sub-engine for your home. By giving your water softener the occasional tuneup, homeowners can save nearly $1,000 annually and allow this productive worker bee to do its job to the best of its abilities.