2 Common Water Softener Problems

Posted on: 1 March 2017

A water softener is a highly useful appliance for those who live in municipalities whose water contains a high level of mineral content—in other words, hard water. Yet while a water softener can protect your fixtures and other appliances from hard water, it remains somewhat vulnerable to its ill-effects itself. If you would like to learn more about the problems that tend to affect water softeners with time, read on. This article will discuss two of the most commonly encountered issues.

Deposits And Blockages

A water softener promotes cleaner water by replacing unwanted minerals—magnesium and calcium, most commonly—with relatively harmless sodium. Of course, that doesn't mean that the unwanted minerals just disappear into thin air. Instead they build up inside of the water softener before being flushed safely away.

Of course, things don't always work that well in practice. As often as not, a certain proportion of those minerals remain inside of the softener, where they will eventually build up to a problematic degree. If you have ever dealt with a faucet aerator or shower head that has become blocked up with mineral deposits, you can imagine the kind of things that happens here.

In a water softener, such buildup tends to occur inside of what is known as the brine line. This is the tube that leads from the water softener's brine tank to its mineral tank. Should this hose become completely blocked by such deposits, the beneficial sodium brine will no longer be able to enter the mineral tank. This will basically prevent your softener from accomplishing its task.

Salt Bridges

Mineral deposits are by far the greatest threat to a water softener. Yet the sodium that fills up your brine tank can also lead to unwanted issues. This generally involves the sodium crystallizing and forming what amounts to rock salt. If such deposits get inside of the supply lines, they can lead to the same kinds of issues caused by mineral deposits. Worse still, they can lead to the formation of what is known as a salt bridge.

The simplest way to think of a salt bridge is as a hard, impermeable crust that sits atop the water that occupies your brine tank. Just as with deposits in the supply line, a salt bridge literally prevents the sodium water from migrating into the mineral tank. This effectively renders the softener useless. The good news is that both blockages and salt bridges can be easily repaired by a plumber with experience working on water softeners.

For more information on water softener systems, check out websites like http://johnsonwater.com/.