Water Softener Maintenance – 5 Practical Tips to Prolong its Life

In many parts of Ireland, a water softening system is a vital piece of home equipment. Because of the constant use of water throughout your home, water softener maintenance is extremely important to keep enjoying hardness-free water. Don’t worry, water softeners are easy to run and with a little regular upkeep, yours should keep working for years to come. Most homeowners should be able to take care of it themselves. However, for the best results, have an expert perform an annual service on the equipment — regular servicing will not only extend the life of your water softening system, but it can also help identify any hidden issues that may lead to future repairs.

1. Check Your Salt Levels

Perhaps, one of the core tasks in maintaining a water softener is to ensure it always has the right amount of salt. A water softener uses salt to regenerate (backwash) to recharge its beads with sodium. This regeneration takes place in the brine tank of the softener where the beads soak in a sodium-rich solution. It is important to note that you do not need to complicate things for yourself in any way. Just take a look at the salt level in the brine tank of the water softener once every month. In case you find it to be below ¼, simply refill it. However, if it is above the ⅔ mark, you don’t need to refill at all as it may cause bridging. Read More: When & how often you should add salt to water softener?

2. Use the Appropriate Type of Salt

When you are choosing a type of salt to put in your water softener, be selective — the right salt can make all the difference in the lifespan and effectiveness of your system. There are three main types of salt that a water softener might use:
  • Rock salt
  • Solar salt
  • Evaporated salt
Out of these three options, go with evaporated salt as it’s the purest form without any impurities. Water softener salt is easily available and can be purchased from most hardware stores or our online shop. Celtic Water Solutions only stocks the highest quality salt which is specifically designed for use in water softeners.

3. Clean the Venturi Valve (Injector)

During a regeneration cycle, the nozzle and venturi valve create the suction that transports the brine solution into the resin tank. Because it is in frequent contact with brine, the venturi valve can become blocked with sediment — a blocked valve means that the entire system will cease to work correctly. Furthermore, after maintenance work by the water utility company (Irish Water), you may witness sediments in your water supply which may block the injector. As you inspect your water softener during a maintenance check, examine the venturi valve for any build up or blockages. You can clean the valve by unscrewing the cover, removing the internal parts and cleaning them with soap and water.

4. Check for Salt Bridges

A salt bridge is a hard crust that often forms in the brine tank of a water softener. As salt accumulates, it begins to deposit around the sides of the tank. Over time, it forms into a hard crust that creates an empty space between the water and the salt, preventing the salt from dissolving into the water to make brine. This reduces the effectiveness of the softener's regeneration cycle, which in turn reduces the effectiveness of the entire system. A salt bridge is caused by overfilling the brine tank with salt, by humid temperatures, or by using the wrong kind of salt in the water softener. To break up salt bridges, pour water into the tank over the salt. This will loosen it up, making your life easier. From there, simply take a long stick and try pushing it towards the bottom. After getting rid of the bridge, initiate the regeneration process manually. To prevent the formation of salt bridges, always use high-quality water softener salt and never fill it past 2/3 of the way to the top. Wait for the water softening system to deplete a significant amount of the salt before adding more.

5. Know How to Spot Trouble

As far as how to maintain a water softener, perhaps the most valuable skill lies in being able to spot problems before they arise. Checking the brine tank regularly is a great way to remove one possible cause in the case of an issue. Furthermore, a water softener can only provide a steady and sufficient flow of softened water if it has the proper settings. In an event of a power outage, the settings may need to be reprogrammed. Taking a proactive approach will ensure your water softener would remain in mint condition without the need for expensive repairs.

Annual Inspection & Servicing

When they are properly installed, good water softeners like Clack can last for years with little maintenance. However, regular cleaning and inspections will boost the lifespan of your softener. Celtic Water Solutions offers annual water softener servicing where an experienced technician can conduct routine inspection on your water softener, optimize its settings, assess water flow, identify any worn-out parts, and clean the equipment if necessary. If you have questions about the maintenance of your water softener, the team at Celtic Water Solutions can help. With over 20 years of experience, we are industry experts offering high-quality work and exceptional customer service. Book a Service