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How to Use a Water Softener

If you’ve experienced the negative effects of hard water minerals buildup on plumbing and water fixtures—you know how beneficial a water softener system is. Or, if you’re looking to improve your water for drinking purposes, investing in a drinking water system can be key.

Fortunately, using a water softener is simple. And once the system is set up, it operates automatically outside of periodic recharging and regular maintenance. 

Whether you have or haven’t installed your system yet, you may be lost as to how the system works, or how it even operates. When setting up your system for the first time, it’s important to be aware of your environment so that the softening process can work with maximum efficiency. 

A Hard Water Refresher

Sometimes it’s easy to know that you have a hard water issue without knowing the specifics. If you’ve noticed mineral ions deposits on your pipes, dishes having stains after you wash them, or even coming out of the shower feeling itchy with dry skin—it’s likely hard water is to blame.

To what degree you have a hard water problem should be identified before choosing your water softener solution.

How Hard Water is Measured

Hard water is caused by hard minerals that get picked up as groundwater percolates through rocks underground. Often these minerals include calcium and magnesium, and as your pipes run, these are the minerals that will most often build up in and around them.1 

Water hardness is measured in Grains Per Gallon (GPG) of calcium carbonate:2

  • Water containing less than 1 GPG of calcium carbonate is considered soft.
  • Water containing between 1-7 GPG of calcium carbonate is considered moderately hard.
  • Water containing between 7-10 GPG of calcium carbonate is considered hard.
  • Water containing over 10 GPG of calcium carbonate is considered very hard.

Once you know just how hard your water supply is, you can determine how to use a water softener system to minimize the mineral count in your water.

 

Using Your Water Softener

Once a water-softening system is installed in your home, it runs fairly automatically. While a technician should be able to install your system and get it up and running, there are few things about your home and needs you should consider.

The Properties of Your Property

An important aspect of operating your water-softening system is knowing your home’s water usage on a daily basis. This will help determine the settings your system should operate at.

Recharging Your Soft Water System According to Your Needs

Briefly, a water-softening system works by pumping water loaded with calcium and magnesium into a chamber containing a plastic, porous, negatively-charged resin. As the positively-charged hard water enters the resin chamber, the calcium and magnesium particles stick to the resin, leaving the water much softer. 

Eventually, the resin will be too coated in minerals to function properly and will need to be recharged by pumping a super-salty water solution from the brine tank into the resin tank.3 The saltwater pulls the calcium and magnesium off the resin and is flushed away.

Because of this, you’ll need to set your system to recharge depending on how many gallons of water are used in your home. Usually you can determine this by how many people live in your home. 

The Right Place for Your System

Additionally, you’ll need to be aware of the best placement of your system in your home, especially if it’s a whole-house water softening system. With an installation from Rayne Water, your technician will be able to determine the optimal placement, whether it’s a whole house salt free water system or a reverse osmosis system for one or more faucets. 

Generally, you’ll want your system set up within a reasonable distance to a continuous power outlet and drain. If you have a hot water heater, it’s best to install the system before the water enters the heater. This will prolong the life of your heater and your water softening system, as hot water will cause it to wear out quicker. 

Unit Maintenance

In addition to running a recharge system, you’ll need to ensure that you’re maintaining your soft-water system to avoid a lapse inflow or buildup of minerals. 

Keeping Your Brine Tank Beautiful

Sometimes the salt level on the bottom of the tank will be used up before the salt on top. When this happens, a salt bridge is created. You’ll need to break it up and remove the larger chunks to get your tank running again.

Other times the salt might not properly dissolve and leave insoluble clumps on the bottom of the brine tank, which will also need to be cleaned out.

Resin Rejuvenation

Eventually, the resin in your resin tank will also need to be replaced, if not just cleaned out with a cleaning solution. You can buy special solutions for this, or carefully mix a diluted bleach solution, and then run a recharge cycle in order to return your resin back to full capacity.

Your Rayne Water System

Fortunately, with a Rayne Water system, the worries around installation will be taken care of by one of our professional technicians. Whether you’re looking for a  Salt free water system or another customized solution, we’ll advise you on the best system for your needs. We’ll also educate you on preventative maintenance and repairs along with how salt free water systems work, so you can operate your system with complete peace of mind.

Contact us today to get in touch with one of our water specialists to discuss your water softening needs. 

Sources:

  1. Minnesota Department of Health. “Home Water Softening” https://www.health.state.mn.us/communities/environment/water/factsheet/softening.html
  2. Penn State Extension. “Water Softening” https://extension.psu.edu/water-softening
  3. Popular Mechanics. Water Softener – What Is Hard Water and How Does a Softener Work? https://www.popularmechanics.com/home/tools/a28280250/water-softener/