Care and Repair For Water Softeners
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Care and Repair For Water Softeners

Keep up with your care and repair of your water softener, a water softener removes calcium and magnesium.

A water softener removes calcium and magnesium - the minerals that cause soap to form a scummy film - from tap water and replaces them with sodium. People on low salt diets, therefore, should not drink softened water; they may have to buy bottled water, if unsoftened water in their area is unappetizing. Think of your health safety and well-being first and foremost.

The water softener works by passing hard water through a tank full of plastic beads that are impregnated with sodium. Through a chemical process called ion exchange, the sodium is drawn out of the beads and the calcium and magnesium are deposited in its place. Eventually, all of the sodium is used up, and the unit must be recharged. A 24-hour timer recharges most modern softeners automatically, usually between 1 a.m. and 3 a.m. When the timer cuts in, the control valve diverts tap water around the unit while the built-up calcium and magnesium deposits are flushed down the drain. The tank is then rinsed with a brine, and sodium ions are again absorbed by the plastic beads.

Refill the brine tank with salt when the level drops to less than one-quarter full. Use only salt pellets especially designed for water softeners. Table salt or rock salt may clog the control valve. When adding new salt, remove any sludge that may have collected on the tubular salt platform screen. Periodically clean the screens in the control and by pass valves. If there is a power failure, reset the timer to the proper time of day when power is restored. If your tap water is rusty, clean the softener with a commercial cleaner made for this purpose, following the instructions on the container. If rust persists, you may have to install a special filter ahead of the water softener. If tap water stains tubs and sinks a bluish-green, it is overly acidic; have a neutralizing filter installed. If the water smells like rotten eggs, have your dealer test the water and install the proper type of activated charcoal filter.

If the unit fails to supply soft water, first check for a blown fuse, then check the salt supply and timer. If they are all okay, activate the manual recharge control valve and check for faulty seals and O-rings, or clogged nozzles and screens. Do not attempt any repair if the softener is leased or covered by a service contract - call your dealer.

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