How To Give Your Water Softener A Second Life
If your water softener is no longer working, and you don’t want to shell out the money to purchase a new water softener right now, you may be able to refurbish your old water softener and get some additional life out of it.
You will need to purchase a bag of resin beads that is as large as the size of your resin tank. If you are not sure of the size of your resin tank, check your manual for your water softener. You will also need 90% waterproof silicone grease, a flat-headed screwdriver, and a water hose.
Turn Off The Water Supply To The Unit
The first thing you need to do is turn off your water softener. You will need to turn the bypass valve or valves on your water softener to the off position; if you are not sure where the bypass valve(s) are located, consult your owner’s manual. To be extra safe, you can turn off the water to your house by turning the main handle for your water supply to the off position as well.
Turn Off The Power Supply To The Unit
Second, flip the breaker switch for the water softener on the power box to the off position. Then, unplug the unit.
Disconnect The Unit
If your unit is still connected to any plumbing fixtures, you are going to want to disconnect it. This should involve unscrewing the pipe that connects the water softener to your water supply. Your owner’s manual should provide details on how to complete this step for your particular unit.
After the unit is disconnected, move it out so that you can work on it. You are going to want to pull out the water reservoir assembly portion of the unit and take it outside; you may want assistance with lifting it.
Drain The Water
Once you have removed the water reservoir, take it outside. The area where the water is held should already be exposed; it should fill up one side of the reservoir Carefully lean the reservoir over and drain out the water. You’ll want to drain the water away far away from any plants or grass; the high concentration of salt inside of the reservoir will kill your grass and any nearby plants.
Access The Resin Side Of The Reservoir
There should be a lid on top of the other side of the reservoir where the resin beads are located. Once you have poured out the water you are going to need to remove this lid. You should be able to pry off the lid with the assistance of a flathead screwdriver; just gently put the flathead screwdriver under the edge of the lid and pry it open, working your way around the top until it pops off.
Once the lid is removed, you should encounter a screen. You should be able to easily remove the screen by hand or with the assistance of your flathead screwdriver. There should be a tube, called the riser tube, in the middle of the container that you will need to pull out.
Remove Water & Resin Beads
Carefully tilt the reservoir on its side in order to drain the water from the resin side of it. When the water level starts to get low, and you see the resin, stop pouring. The resin, at this point in time, may look like a thick, goopy substance.
Pour the remainder of the water and the resin into a container that you can dispose of, or into trash bags. The resin is not toxic to the environment; you can simply throw it away in your trash can.
Clean The Reservoir Tank
Now, take your hose and rinse out both sides of the reservoir tank. If there is build up inside of your tank, you may want to scrub that away with a scrub brush. Rinse the tank until it is clean and there is no resin residue left inside of the tank. Make sure that you also clean the riser tube as well.
Add New Resin Beads
Use a funnel to add new resin beads to the resin side of the tank until you have filled it to the marked fill line inside of the tank. Once you have filled the tank to the appropriate level, put the riser tube back in place. You may have to apply a little pressure when putting the riser tube back in place in order to push through the resin beads. You may want to shake the cylinder if you have issues getting the tube back in place to move around the beads.
Put The Reservoir Back Together
Place the screen back on top of the resin section of the reservoir. Make sure that it is firmly in place. Reattach the lid to the resin side of the reservoir. Take the reservoir back inside. Apply the waterproof silicone grease to the o-rings where the reservoir attaches to the water softener than put the water softener back in place.
If you had to detach the plumbing, put it back in place. Then put the by-pass valve back to the on position, turn the water supply to your house back on, plug in the unit and turn the electricity to the unit back on. You may hear water rushing back into the unit, but you should not see water spraying or leaking everywhere; if you do see water spraying or leaking, turn off the water supply and re-seal and connect the area where the water was coming from.
Activate The New Resin
In order to activate the new resin, you’ll want to turn on one or two water faucets inside of your house to about medium capacity. This will rinse the new resin beads. At first, the water coming out of your faucets may be slightly discolored; run the water until it looks clear and normal again.
You can check and make sure that your water softener is working effectively by running a load of dishes through your dishwasher and making sure that there are not any hard water spots on them when they are done cleaning. If they are hard-water spot free, you have successfully extended the life of your water softener.
If that doesn’t fix the problem, talk to a professional like Metro Water Conditioning Inc.