Signs Your Water Softener Isn’t Working Properly

Your water softener is essential to keeping your home free from problems caused by hard water. This is why it’s essential for you, as a homeowner, to recognize signs that may indicate that it’s not working properly. Read on as local plumbing and high efficiency furnace contractor Countryside Plumbing & Heating, Inc. discusses these signs.

What Is a Water Softener?

Hard water is groundwater with high mineral content, mostly calcium and magnesium. Drinking hard water does not have adverse effects, but it can cause problems in the household, such as difficulty bathing and washing, water spots on glass and similar surfaces, and clogged plumbing. A water softener is a device that is connected to your home’s water mains and “softens” the water before it gets into the plumbing.

How Do Water Softeners Work?

A water softener system has a main tank that contains resin beads charged with sodium or potassium ions. As hard water from the mains enters the tank, it passes through the beads and is subjected to a process called ion exchange: calcium and magnesium ions are attracted to the resin, while sodium ions are attracted to the water. The calcium and magnesium molecules are then left stuck to the resin beads, producing soft water that goes into the house plumbing. Sodium from a second tank “recharges” the resin beads and decouples the mineral molecules, which are then flushed towards the drains.

Signs That Your Water Softener Isn’t Working Properly

Water softeners can have issues from time to time. The following are some common signs that your system may not be working properly:

  • Difficulty bathing and washing. Hard water makes it difficult for soap and detergent to form suds or foam. This is especially noticeable when you use shampoo. You may also feel dryness in your skin and hair.

  • Water spots. Water spots form when hard water dries without being wiped off, and is especially noticeable on chrome, glass, and dark-colored surfaces.

  • Limescale. If you have a boiler, you may notice mineral scales building up faster in the tank, which will require flushing more often than usual. Limescale buildup may also be noticeable in faucets, shower heads, and other fixtures. In severe cases, limescale buildup can result in clogged plumbing, which would require help from an emergency plumber.

What Should You Do?

Your water softener’s required maintenance involves refilling the sodium or potassium in the secondary tank as often as needed, and having the resin beads flushed and refilled by a plumbing professional at least at least once a year. Keeping up with these maintenance tasks can help prevent the problems described above. If you do experience issues with your water softener, contact a plumbing professional.

Call Countryside for Your Plumbing and HVAC Needs

Countryside Plumbing & Heating, Inc. is one of the most trusted plumbing and HVAC companies in New Richmond, WI. If you’ve been searching online for “water softeners” or “new furnace cost,” simply give us a call at (715) 246-2660 or fill out our contact form to schedule a consultation.