Every five thousand miles or so, people take their vehicles in for an oil change. Why? We do this to preserve our vehicle, keep it operating efficiently, and most importantly, to ensure we don’t have to replace our hard-earned investment sooner than necessary. No one needs to convince us to get an oil change – as vehicle owners, we know the consequences of not properly maintaining a car.
Homeowners who want to make the most of their investments use this same mentality for other appliances that can impact their family’s comfort and wellbeing, such as furnaces. Water softeners are no different. Many homeowners believe in routine care for their water softeners because they know the impact of hard water problems. Water is something that’s used every single day – not only consumed by family members, but utilized to run appliances like the dishwasher, washing machine, and water heater.
We spoke with Water-Right’s Clean Water Center’s Operations Manager, Nate Fritz, to learn why servicing a water softener is important. Fritz shares the importance of water softener maintenance and why some people choose to go on service plans with a local dealer or water treatment expert.
Servicing a Water Softener
Some people install and service their water softeners themselves. For those who are handy and familiar with water softeners, DIY maintenance is a possibility. However, for those who are unsure of where to start, consider calling in a specialist because things can get messy if you make a wrong move.
“When performing preventive maintenance on a water softener, you have to open up the valve vent. To do this, you must turn off the water and depressurize the unit before you begin,” says Fritz. “If you have the water turned on and you haven’t depressurized or taken water away from the unit, you’re going to get a bath – and so will your entire basement.”
Fritz adds that it typically takes a trained specialist about ten minutes to perform the initial steps to service a water softener versus 45-minutes to an hour for someone who is just learning. The good news is that when a knowledgeable technician comes in, they’re able to do much more than just the basics of preventive care.
Service technicians evaluate how the unit is performing, check the injector and injector screen, and adjust the unit, if necessary. Fritz shares that, unfortunately, a water softener is often a forgotten appliance. To be sure this routine assessment isn’t overlooked, homeowners will often go on a service plan to ensure it’s properly maintained and operating at peak efficiency.
Benefits of a Service Plan for Water Treatment
Without routine service, a water softener can lose its ability to properly treat your water, bringing back the hard water problems homeowners likely experienced before installation, like dry skin, slimy hair, and housecleaning headaches.
Regular visits ensure everything is doing what it’s supposed to do. During the 10-point inspection, service technicians are making sure the time of day and regeneration settings are accurate, Fritz shares. While simple, these basic checks assure your water softener is removing the hardness from your water supply at the proper rate your household consumes it.
During the service visit, your water is also being tested before and after it enters the unit. “We want to see what’s going into the water softener to see if the water conditions have changed at all after it’s run through the unit,” explains Fritz. “Comparing the two can tell us if there is anything else we need to address with the unit’s performance while we are there.”
Examining both hot and cold water is also insightful. “We test the cold water because it tells us what the unit is doing right then and there,” adds Fritz. “The hot water test helps us understand what the system has been doing over the last three to four days as water sits in the reservoir.”
Checking the water softeners injectors and changing the screen is an important task in a routine service visit. Fritz explains that this is like changing the oil and oil filter on your car.
“Sediment that comes up from the well or that’s present in city water will clog the injector,” Fritz says. “This can cause the brine tank to fill with water during times it shouldn’t.” Water softeners manufactured by Water-Right have a “dry” salt storage to prevent maintenance issues.
When a water softener no longer works the way it’s supposed to, you’ll once again have hard water which can create issues with other appliances and staining, depending on your water conditions. “Not to mention,” he adds, “it lessens the life of the water softener altogether.”
Fritz shares that issues with the injectors and screens are the Clean Water Center’s number one service call for water softeners. Those on service plans don’t need to worry about these types of problems since a technician addresses this on a regular basis.
The Clean Water Center in Appleton, WI, an authorized Evolve® brand dealer and water treatment facility, adds additional perks for its loyal customers:
- Loads an annual supply of salt into the basement for convenience
- Adds Wi-Fi technology to water softeners
- WRIPLI® monitors your water usage, tracks your water and salt savings, and sends homeowners system alerts – all through a smartphone app
- Offers special parts and maintenance warranties
While all of Water-Right’s dealers customize their service plans with different perks and benefits, dealers have access to Clean Water Testing, a certified laboratory to get a view of your water’s makeup, detecting contaminants ranging from well water bacteria, iron, other total dissolved solids (TDS), and more. A water assessment can sometimes be included in service plans depending on the location.
Check with your local water treatment dealer to learn more about their customized service plans for water softeners.
Annual Maintenance for Long-Term Performance of a Water Softener
Preventive maintenance for your water softener pays off in the long run. As our water treatment expert Fritz explains, “Your furnace isn’t going to be nearly as effective if you never change the filter. If you’re not proactive, it isn’t going to last as long and isn’t going to perform as efficiently. The same holds true for your water softener.”
If you can’t remember the last time your water softener was serviced, contact the team at Water-Right to connect with a dealer in your area and ensure it is operating efficiently.