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Geneseo Republic - Geneseo, IL
The University of Illinois Tri-County Extension office
Blog: Keeping the water softener in top condition
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By Farm and Extension News
The University of Illinois Tri-County Extension office covering Livingston, Woodford and McLean counties.
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Here's what to do for your water softener this winter.



Check exterior piping and tanks for leaks. By making sure there are not any leaks present that could become big gushes of water, you can save a lot of time and help your customer take care of a small issue before it becomes a large one.



Check the water level in the brine tank. A high water level can mean that the brine valve is leaking. If the brine valve is not fixed, it will eventually fail and continue to overfill the tank causing the salt to dissolve and waste to drain.



Check pressure gauges. Checking the pressure gauges on the inlet and outlet can determine various things. Many controllers and systems today need minimal pressure to operate properly. A high pressure loss could result in clogged distributors, valves not opening, valves not closing and resin breaking down.



Check the control. Many electronic controllers today offer the ability to view a lot of valuable information, for example: average usage for seven days a week; peak flows and at what times they occur; how many gallons remain; and at what capacity a system is set (i.e., how many gallons or grains of capacity). Knowing this information can help determine if the system is working beyond its designed capacity or if the system resin is breaking down.



Check the control valves. Checking the control valves can determine if there are signs of wear and tear. Checking the weep holes on an Aquamatic valve or the piston assembly on a Fleck valve can help avoid future problems. If the weep hole is leaking, you then know it is time to start thinking about rebuilding the valve.



Check the drain. Check the drain to see not only if it is leaking but also if there are signs of resin in or around the drain. If resin is present, it may be showing signs of degradation, and further inspection inside of the tank may be necessary. The other reason to inspect the drain—to see if it is leaking—is because if a softener is not in regeneration, there should not be water flowing to the drain. If it is, this is a sign that the valves are failing and you will need to repair or rebuild them. On a nest of a valve or multiport valve system, testing the drain water for hardness can help you determine which valve has failed—if it is hard, then it is the backwash valve; if it is soft, then it is the flush valve.

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