If you notice hard water scale around your faucets, consider having a water test done to determine the level of hardness of your water. Hard water damages your plumbing and water heater, so if your water is hard, you'll probably want a water softener installed to solve the problem. Here's what to expect when choosing the size, picking the installation site, and caring for your new water softener.
Choose the Right Size
The first step is to choose the right size for your new softener. A plumber can help you do this through a calculation that includes the number of people living in your home and the hardness of the water. When you have a water test done, the results are in grains per gallon. The number of grains is used to calculate the size of softener your home needs.
Pick an Installation Spot
A water softener needs access to electricity, a drain, and a plumbing line. Your plumber will recommend a location that's near where your main plumbing line enters your house and before the line branches off to various faucets. This ensures the kitchen, laundry room, water heater, and every bathroom will have soft water coming out of the faucets.
A water softener isn't too large, but there are two parts to it. One is the resin tank that's hooked up to the waterline, and the other is the brine tank that's connected to a drain and the resin tank. The two tanks don't have to be right next to each other, but they should be close since they'll be connected with hoses.
You might want the softener in your basement or laundry room so there is easy access to plumbing and electricity, but the best location depends on how the plumbing in your home is laid out.
Learn How the Softener Operates
Softeners work in different ways depending on the brand you buy. They soften the water in the same way, but more expensive models have more advanced features, such as an internal water meter that flushes the resin tank when needed rather than on a timer. Have the plumber explain how your model works and what you need to do to maintain it.
You'll need to add salt to the brine tank occasionally, and break up salt bridges if they form. Unless the water softener works properly, it can't soften the water and you'll be back to dealing with scale and stiff laundry.
Installing a new softener takes a few hours, but the process isn't too disruptive to your home. Your water will be turned off for part of this time since the plumber needs to cut the main water supply line to insert the bypass valves and pipe that supplies the softener. However, once the unit is installed and operational, you should notice a difference in the way the water feels right away. You should also notice cleaner laundry and fewer hard water spots on your faucets and dishes.
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