Water softeners play a critical role in maintaining the quality of water in your household. Essentially, a water softener is the appliance that removes minerals like magnesium or calcium from your water. This softens the water and makes it more usable.

Like all appliances, water softeners will gradually lose their effectiveness and break down. This is likely to happen more quickly if they are required to soften water that is very hard or has a high iron component.

To ensure you are able to identify when your water softener needs replacing and then understand what to do when it stops working, we have put together a simple guide on replacing your water softener.

Signs that your water softener needs replacing

The following four signs are indicators that it is time to replace your water softener, however, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your water softener is the problem. If you are unsure of the issue, it is always best to seek help from a professional.

1.Lack of lather when you wash

This is the easiest way to tell if your water is hard or soft. With soft water, it is easy to create a lather when you add soap. If the water is hard, your soap is unlikely to form a lather easily. This can make washing your hair extremely difficult and is likely to result in you using more soap and shampoo as you try to create the bubbles.

2.Crispy residue around pipes

If you notice that there is a crusty build-up occurring around your taps and pipes, this could be a sign that your water has a high mineral content and therefore your water softener is not working properly.

3.Water has a funny taste

Soft water tastes different from hard water, and most people can detect this distinction. If you notice changes to the way your water tastes, it may indicate a change in mineral content. This suggests that your water softener needs repairing or replacing. It doesn’t necessarily mean the entire thing needs to be fixed; for instance, you may just need to replace the resin in your water softener.

4.It is difficult to wash your clothes

Given that hard water makes it difficult to create a lather, washing your clothes can become a problem. You can do a load of washing only to find that your items come out stiff and coarse. Water that is too hard can also damage your washing machine. In this case, the cost to replace a water softener is justified so as not to destroy your washing machine.

How to replace a water softener

If your water softener has stopped working, you will need to replace it. Begin by heading to the American Home Water and Air website for information on why it might be leaking, which is one of the most common types of malfunctions.

Once you have determined the cause, you can replace your water softener by following these steps.

  1. Disconnect the power supply from the current water softener.
  2. Shut off the main water by closing the valve.
  3. Locate the bypass valve on the water softener. You will find this at the back. If the valve has both inlet and outlet components, close these and leave the bypass valve open. If the bypass valve consists of a single stem, close this.
  4. Check the water softener for any usable potassium chloride or salt. If you find some and want to keep it, remove it from the water softener.
  5. Undo all clips and remove the water softener from its position.
  6. Take the brine well cover off and disconnect the tube. Clear the brine valve of any water.
  7. Drain the existing water softener and then discard it.
  8. Take the new water softener and put it in place. Close clips and check the water is flowing as it should.
  9. Add potassium chloride and/or salt to the tank. You can use the materials you saved or new pellets.
  10. Reconnect the power.
  11. Turn the main water supply back on.
  12. Start your new water softener.

Cost to replace water softener

If you are looking to replace a water softener, the cost varies depending on a couple of factors. First of all, the cost will change significantly if you decide to install the water softener yourself as opposed to engaging a professional.

The second consideration that impacts price is the grain count. This is the measurement used to categorize water softeners and their ability to treat water. Essentially, the higher the grain, the more efficient the product and the greater the price tag.

It is important to have a working water softener to maintain water quality. If you determine that you need a new water softener, it is possible to replace it yourself. That being said, if you feel unsure about the process make sure to call the professionals to avoid unnecessary problems.

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