Water 101: Does a Water Softener Need Maintenance?

Anytime you buy an appliance, a big question and concern is how much maintenance you’ll have to do. It’s a concern for anyone looking to add a water softener.

While these systems require regular checking, it’s very easy to take care of and doesn’t cost that much. It definitely costs less than it would to repair plumbing or a water heater that gets damaged by hard water minerals.

Let’s take a quick look at how often you have to take care of your system and what needs to be done each time.

How Often to Act

Most of the water softener maintenance tasks you do should happen every few months, as they mostly revolve around the salt levels in your softener.

Schedule yourself for regular maintenance tasks once a quarter or so. If you let the maintenance lag, you’ll begin losing the benefits water softeners provide, like protecting your other appliances and cutting soap usage.

Much like with your HVAC or pest control, you can have a professional team out to do an annual service just to ensure everything is running as it should. They should do a cleaning, water assessment and optimize your settings. They should also handle any out-of-the-ordinary maintenance chores like replacing o-rings or valves.

What To Do

For the most part, taking care of your water softener is a simple business. With a standard salt-based system like a Culligan water softener, most tasks revolve around the salt and are easy to do.

The primary chore is to keep an eye on the salt levels to ensure you have enough to do the job. The tank needs filling up three to four times a year, running you about $100 in salt.

When you fill the tank, make sure you’re using the best water softener salt you can. This ensures the highest absorption rate.

Take a good look at the brine tank when you do refill the salt. If you notice a lot of sludge in the bottom, you should clean the tank before adding more salt.

Signs You Need Maintenance

Even the best water softener runs into trouble occasionally. If you haven’t been keeping up with maintenance, you might expect anything from clogs to mechanical failures. These might require the help of a professional, so you want to ensure you’re doing basic maintenance to avoid them.

The key sign to watch for is how your water is interacting with soap. If the soap is failing to lather up properly, that’s a sure sign you need to check the brine tank. You might also notice stiff laundry or a different taste in your tap water.

If you notice changes to the water, but your salt levels stay the same, your softener might not be going through the regeneration cycle or has gotten stuck on that cycle. At that point, you definitely need a tech to take a look.

Care For Your Water Softener

Taking care of a water softener doesn’t require much effort on your part, but it is important to stay on top of maintenance to get the full life out of your unit. A traditional salt-based water softener system is more likely to have issues if you don’t stay on top of keeping the tank clean and changing out the filter.

If you found this article helpful, check out others on our site with tips on regular household maintenance and home improvement projects.

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