water softener repairIf you live in part of the country where you need a water softener, then you know how important they can be. In addition to helping your water taste better, they remove minerals and salts that can damage your pipes, plumbing fixtures, clothing, and more. Fortunately most water softeners do not require much repair. We’ve given a few tips below on how to diagnose and repair the few issues that may come up.

Water Softeners – The Basics

A water softener is essentially an appliance that is designed to take minerals out of your water supply. It works as a mineral-salt ion exchange. Water flows through a tank of sodium filled beads. Mineral ions are attracted to the beads and replaced with sodium ions. Then the water softener appliance refills the sodium, generally from a brine storage tank.

Who Owns the Equipment?

Before you start your repairs, be sure to find out who owns the equipment. In some parts of the country, most water softeners are leased and the leasing company frequently will cover needed repairs as part of the service they provide.

When Something Goes Wrong
So what can go wrong? Usually problems can occur in three areas. There could be a problem with the water softener motor, there could be an issue with recharging the sodium beads or there could be a problem with the ion transfer itself.

Water Softener Motor Trouble

If the motor isn’t working, double check to see that it’s getting power. If the motor is the problem you will likely need to call in a qualified repair person. If you’re having trouble on the weekend try an emergency plumber as they usually can respond more swiftly than other types of plumbers.

Minerals Not Being Removed

If you’re finding that the water softener is just not removing the minerals, check the filter. Also double check that water is flowing properly – sometimes a plumbing leak somewhere else can lead to problems with the softener functioning correctly.

Salt Problems

If the brine is not refreshing the beads, check the line for damage and to see if there are any kinks. Also double check your owner’s manual and make sure all the settings are at the factory recommended levels.

Tools You Will Need For Your Water Softener Repair

If you decide to try to repair your system yourself, here are a few tools you will need:

  • Wrench
  • Hose
  • Bucket to hold excess water
  • Small Brush
  • Shop Vac
  • Small wire or snake
  • Syringe

While water softeners don’t typically break down, you can save yourself some money if you have an idea of how to at least diagnose the problem. If you do call out a service technician they’ll have a good idea of where to start and may not charge you a diagnosis fee.


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