Owning a water softener is crucial for anyone who wants to have softer, healthier skin and hair. However, sometimes it can be hard to know if your water softener is actually working the way it’s supposed to.
It’s frustrating when you think you’re doing everything right by owning a water softener, but you still don’t see the results you were hoping for. You may start to wonder if your water softener is even working at all.
We understand how important it is for your water softener to be functioning properly. That’s why we put together this guide on how to tell if your water softener is working correctly. By following these simple steps, you can rest assured that your water softener is doing its job. Read on!
How Does a Water Softener Work?
The first thing to determine if your water softener is working is to know how does your water softener work on a good day. If you’re able to know how it works, then you’ll be able to tell if something’s not right.
Water softeners work by ion exchange. This means that the hard water ions are exchanged for soft water ions. The most common way water softeners do this is by using sodium chloride or salt.
The hard water enters the tank of the water softener, and the salt water solution helps to break up the ions so that they can be exchanged. The brine solution then flushes the hard water ions out of the system and is replaced with soft water ions.
What Are the Signs That My Water Softener Isn’t Working Properly?
Now that you know how your water softener works, what are some signs that it might not be working as efficiently as it should be?
Mineral Deposits on Fixtures and Appliances
Water softeners should be near enough to eliminate scale formation. If you start to see a buildup of minerals on your fixtures and appliances, it could be a sign that your water softener needs to be repaired or replaced.
Sticky Skin After Washing
Water softeners give water a smooth, silky feel. If your water softener isn’t working, your skin will feel sticky after washing, and your hair will feel brittle. This is a sign of hard water in your home. Hard water can leave calcium and magnesium on your skin. This can also make your skin feel itchy and dry.
With softened water, your skin should just have a softer in it. This may also indicate that you do not have enough salt pellets in your brine tank. Check the salt level. If there is enough, your salt system may have stopped working and will need to be serviced.
Water Tastes Salty
If your water has a mildly salty taste, it’s a sign that your water softener is working. This is because the salt pellets are used to remove the minerals from the water. As the water passes through the salt, it picks up the minerals and takes them out of the water. But if your water tastes saltier than usual, it’s likely that too much salt is getting into your water supply. Try to consult your user manual to resolve this.
Scratchy, Dull Laundry
If your clothes come out of the wash feeling rough or dull, it may signify that your water softener isn’t working properly. This is because the minerals in hard water can build up on your clothes and make them feel stiffer. If you notice this happening, make sure to check your salt level and add more if needed.
No Salt in the Brine Tank
If you notice that there’s no salt in the brine tank, it means that your water softener is not regenerating. As a result, your water will start to feel harder again, and you may notice some of the other signs on this list.
If you find yourself having to add salt to the tank more frequently than usual, it’s a good idea to check for leaks in the system. A small leak can cause the salt to drain out quickly, making it necessary to add more on a regular basis.
No Noises from Your Water Softener
If you have an automatic water softener, it should make a humming noise when it’s working. If you don’t hear this noise anymore, it could be a sign that the system is no longer working.
One possible reason for this is that the power supply has been interrupted. Check to make sure that the unit is plugged in and that the circuit breaker hasn’t been tripped.
Change in Water Pressure
Most water softeners won’t cause a noticeable dip in your water pressure. If you notice a sudden drop in water pressure, it could be a sign that your water softener isn’t working properly. This is usually caused by a scale buildup on the unit’s components.
If you suspect that this is the case, take a look at the water softener and see if there is any visible build-up.
Signs that Your Water Softener is Working Properly
Reduced Scale Buildup
If your water softener is working properly, you should notice a reduction in the amount of scale buildup in your home. This is especially true if you have hard water.
You may also notice that your soap and shampoo lather more easily and that your dishes come out cleaner. These are all signs that your water softener is doing its job.
Softened Water Taste
Another sign that your water softener is working properly is that the water will taste softer. This is because the minerals that cause hardness are removed from the water, leaving it with a softer taste. You’ll also notice the difference in your water’s taste immediately after installing your water softener. This taste tells you that your water softener is working properly.
Easy to Lather Water
If you have hard water, you may notice that it’s difficult to get a lather from your soap. This is because the minerals in hard water prevent the soap from fully dissolving and lathering. However, once you have a water softener installed, you’ll find that it’s much easier to get a lather from your soap.
If you can’t tell if your water softener is working from taste or appearance alone, do the soap test. Add a squeeze of dish soap and water from your faucet to a bottle with a lid. Close the lid and shake the bottle. If the water is clear with a layer of fluffy, white bubbles on top, then you have soft water.
Soft, Bright Laundry
If you have hard water, your laundry may not look as bright and soft as it could. This is because the minerals in hard water can leave a film on clothing that makes it appear dull. Water softeners remove these minerals from the water, so your laundry will look brighter and feel softer.
Factors Affecting Water Softener Performance
Excessive Salt Buildup
If you notice that your water softener isn’t working as well as it used to, there may be too much salt buildup in the unit. You can clean the unit by flushing it with fresh water.
The lifespan of the motor in your water softener will vary depending on the make and model of the unit. However, most motors should last for several years. If you notice that your water softener isn’t working as well as it used to, it may be time to replace the motor.
Resin Bead Quality
The quality of the resin in your water softener can also affect its performance. If the resin becomes clogged or damaged, it can cause the water softener to work less effectively.
If you have hard water, there may be too much salt buildup in the unit. Salt buildups and bridging prevent the system from performing a proper regeneration cycle, resulting in hard water in your home. Don’t add too much salt to the sodium tank, and you should avoid the related minor issues in your softener.
If the water quality in your home is poor, it can affect the performance of your water softener. If you have high levels of iron or other minerals in your water, it can clog the unit and prevent it from working properly. You may need to install a whole house filter to improve the quality of your water before using a water softener.
If your home has a pre-filter for your water softener, it may need to be replaced regularly. A pre-filter helps to remove sediment and other particles from your water before it enters the unit. If the pre-filter is not working properly, it can cause the unit to become clogged and ineffective.
FAQs on How to Know if Your Water Softener is Working
How can I tell if my water softener is working?
You can tell if your water softener is working by considering certain factors. These include softened water taste, soft, bright laundry, easy to lather water and reduced scale buildup.
How to test water softener?
To test your water softener, use a little testing kit that you can purchase from a hardware or pool supply store. Then, follow the manufacturer’s directions for using the kit.
How do you ensure your water softener is working properly?
Regular maintenance is the key to ensuring your water softener is working properly. This includes backwashing, recharging and keeping an eye on the salt level. You should also have your water softener serviced by a professional every few years. Also, investing in the best water softener shower head will ensure that you are getting the most out of your water softener.
Final Thought on How to Know if Your Water Softener is Working Properly
Many things can go wrong with your water softener, and knowing more about what can go wrong and checking it regularly can help you keep it in good working order. By following the tips above, you will be on your way to guaranteeing that your water is softened and clean for years to come.