Water Softeners: Basic Installation Concepts

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A water softener is an important component of some homes that works to remove hardness- causing ions such as calcium and magnesium from the water supply before circulation through pipes and appliances. Although these ions are naturally occurring in the soil and pose no threat to human health, they can cause irritating problems such as scale build up on pots and pans as well as damage to appliances if allowed to remain in the water.

As water travels through the ground on its way to municipal water collection facilities, it picks up hardness-causing ions that are then pumped to residential areas. Since these ions are usually not removed by the city, homeowners are left on their own when it comes to removing the particles from their water.

The most effective water softener currently available on the market is the type that uses salt to completely remove the calcium and magnesium ions from the water before it enters the main plumbing network. These types of systems generally have a tank that contains the resin bed that binds the ions as water passes through and a tank that stores the salt that is used to wash the ions off of the resin bed once it has reached maximum capacity. When selecting a location for the tanks, it is best to find a place that is flat, dry, and not susceptible to freezing temperatures. Common areas for setup include a heated garage, basement, or crawl space. A professional installer will recommend a location based on several additional factors that will be important for the ongoing operation of the softening system.

In order for the softener to function properly, it is important for it to be located near a three-pronged (120 Volts) outlet and a drain that leads to the waste water plumbing network. Most salt-based systems use a microprocessor to monitor the capacity of the resin bed and to initiate a regeneration cycle when it is necessary. The microprocessor can be programmed to perform several different tasks, but it requires power in order to work. Most products come with a fairly long cord that can accommodate outlets that are situated a reasonable distance from the softener, but it is always a good idea to know where the outlet is before selecting the location. The drain will need to be situated relatively close to the softener so that the backwash generated from each regeneration cycle can be directed out of the home and to the sewage or septic system.

Once a location in the home has been chosen, our professional installers can connect the system to the plumbing network, attach the bypass valve to the head, ensure that the overflow line has been secured, program the microprocessor, and put the system into use. Before doing any of this, it is recommended that the electricity to the hot water tank be turned off and any air in the pipes be forced out by flushing them with a small amount of water. All this process will be handled well by trained professionals.

It is recommended for homeowners to hire approved technician, such as Bill the Plumber technicians, in order to make sure that it is done properly and so that the warranty remains valid. On top of the expert installation, our plumbers will be available for years down the road should you have an maintenance needs with the water softener.

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