Two Reasons Your Home's Water Softener Isn't Softening

Your water softener seems to be functioning properly; however, there is one large problem – it's not softening your water. This is generally a solvable problem that, fortunately, doesn't necessarily mean your system is experiencing a significant malfunction. Knowing just some of the reasons why this can occur can make the task of repairing the issue much easier. Here are two reasons why your water softener isn't softening your water.

Salt Bridge

In simple terms, a salt bridge is basically a hard crusty-like material that forms inside the brine tank due to normal usage. Once this formation occurs, it creates somewhat of a blockage that causes two problems. First, it makes it more challenging for the softener to actually soften the water. Secondly, it can make it difficult for water to pass through the regeneration process, leading to pressure issues.

If your softener seems to be functioning correctly, but your water isn't being softened, it's highly likely that a salt bridge is to blame. A simple look inside the tank can get you on the path to solving the problem. If the salt bridge has formed over the top of the water, it can be broken up and pushed into the water where it will then dissolve. If the salt bridge has formed on the side of the tank, the tank will need to be drained and cleaned.

Resin Beads

Resin beads are found in all water softeners as they play an important role in the ion exchange process. During the softening process, the hard ions in the water will switch places with the soft ions that are found on resin beads, resulting in soft water. Although they play an important role, they can also be the cause of your water softener concerns.

Resin beads must be cleaned or replaced during the life of your unit in order to keep them functioning correctly. If you fail to perform these steps, your softener will likely stop performing correctly. In terms of problem solving, you should start by cleaning the beads, which is something you can do on your own. If you have cleaned the beads and the softener still seems to not be functioning correctly, you may want to consider replacing the beads.  

If you've performed this step and your softener still isn't working correctly or you aren't comfortable performing these steps, don't hesitate to contact a technician. A water softener specialist, such as Water-Pro, can quickly diagnose and resolve the problem for you.


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