There are several problems that occur as a result of hard water. These include staining sinks, reducing the effectiveness of detergents, shortening life of water heaters and creating blockage in plumbing fixtures. There are several types of water softeners available in the market. However, the most popular are the salt based, which use an ion exchange process to soften water.
Majority of the water softeners come with a bypass valve that must be assembled and attached to the unit. Some local plumbing codes require the installation of a shut off valve connecting the outlets and the inlets to the bypass valve. These requirements are made to ensure that water can be turned off easily.
Before installing the water softener, it is advisable to clean and clear the area where it will be installed. The water softener should then be positioned at the selected location so that the connecting pipes can be easily measured. The orientation of the unit should be closely observed. The inlet to the unit should be connected to the pipe for water supply while the outlet should be go in the direction of the water heater.
The second step in installing a water softener is shutting off the valves that control the water supply to the house. The water supply and the power of the water heater should also be turned off. The bottom floor faucets should then be opened in order to drain the water away. After that is done, the next step is cutting into the water supply line. This is done using a pipe cutter and then two elbow fittings are installed. When this is being done, it is good to pay attention to the orientation of the unit again. The softeners inlet is supposed to take in water from the hard water supply while the outlet is for leading soft water into the house fixtures.
The pipes that lead to the bypass valves are then cut and installed. All the fittings and nipples should be soldered before being attached to the plastic bypass. This is done at this stage because the heat can damage the plastic if it is soldered after being attached. The pipes should then be attached to the unit using the compression fittings that are supplied together with a water softener.
The next step involves clamping the drain hose to the water softener. To prevent waste water from back siphoning, the hose end should be located at two inches above the drain hole. The sizing of the drain hole should be done according to the height to the inlet and the distance of its run. Apart from that, the drain should be maintained at less than 10 feet from the floor. The manufacturer’s instructions should be followed.
The overflow tube of the brine tank should then be connected. The overflow fitting must be above the over flow discharge. Again, manufacturer’s instructions for the assembly must be adhered to. The bypass valve should then be set in a bypass position. This is followed by running water through the unit to flush out sediments and remove still air in the pipes. The valves to the water heater should then be opened and its power restored. Any leaks should be observed at this stage.
The bypass valve is then set to the backwash position after the unit is plugged to a receptacle which is near. The regenerate button should then be pressed and held for a short period of time until it reaches the backwash.
The inlet control is then opened partially. This is done to remove any build up of air. To make sure that there is no build up of air, the unit should not be producing sputtering noises. After this happens, the outlet and inlet pass controls can then be fully opened. The tank is then filled with water and salt for regeneration added according to the instructions of the manufacturer.
The last step involves plug in the power cable again. After that, the unit is set to regenerate until it reaches the service setting is attained. The controls are then programmed and the unit is ready to start off.
For those who are new to the installation, the water softener should be installed somewhere where it does not create any obstruction. Also, it should be in a location where it can be easily fixed to the plumbing system. Such places include the garage, the utility room, and basement or near the water heater. There should be enough space around the unit to allow easy servicing.