Water Softeners FAQs
Answers to commonly asked questions about water softeners, how they work, what to use in the water softener, etc.
Questions and Answers about water softeners
- How does a Water Softener work?
Basically, the resin or minerals inside the mineral tank is specially designed to remove “hard particles” of lime and calcium, by a simple ion-exchange process. The resin beads in the softener tank have a different or opposite electrical charge than the dissolved particles of the incoming water. The result is, the dissolved particles suspended in your water will cling to the resin beads on contact, thereby ridding the water of these particles, causing the water exiting the water softener to become “soft”. The resin has a limit to how much of these hardness particles it can hold. This is why the softeners have to be sized based on need and why regeneration is necessary for cleaning system.
- Will a Water Softener make my water safe to drink?
No. Your water must be safe to drink before you soften or condition the water with a water softener. If you have a concern about the safety of your drinking water, contact your local EPA Certified Lab and ask about getting a bacteria test “bac-t test”, or a full Lab analysis of your water. We also offer this service for a nominal fee. If you purchase a system from us, we pay for the test, if needed.
- Why does soft water feel slimy or slick in the shower?
The minerals that make water hard ususally contain calcium and magnesium. Calcium and magnesium in water interferes with the cleaning action of soap and detergent. They do this by combining with soap or detergent and forming a scum that does not dissolve in water. Because these minerals react with soap and detergent, they remove the soap and detergent, thereby reducing the effectiveness of these cleaning agents. You can overcome this by adding more soap or detergent. However, the scum that is formed can adhere to what is being washed, making it appear dingy. An automatic water softener connected to water supply pipes removes magnesium and calcium from water and replaces them with a trace amount of sodium. Sodium does not react soap or detergents. This will reduce the amount of soap you would need to use, and insures it will not remain in or on the item being washed, whether the item is tile, glassware, clothes, skin or hair.
- When does the resins in the Integrity Water Softener and Water Conditioners tank need to be changed?
With the proper pretreatment and maintenance, the average water softener will not need its resins replaced in at least (20+ years). Unless on heavily chlorinated water supplies, in which may only last 5-8 years. It is impossible to accurately determine the life of resin since so many factors contribute to the degradation of the resin itself.
- I see ads for “No Salt” needed water softeners. How do they work without using salt?
Many dealers will advertise a no salt water softener/conditioner. Any brand of water softener or water conditioner can be operated without using salt. This is done by using a salt substitute, potassium chloride. It is generally more expensive compared to regular water softener salt (sodium chloride) and can be difficult to find in some areas. Also, it is generally recommended that you increase the salt setting on your control valve by about 10%, when using a salt substitute.
a. Our Salt-Free Water Conditioners are enviromentally friendly. They require no-salt, no electricity, no backwash, and no maintenance. Please click here for video demonstration.
b. Our systems are Engineered and Lab Tested by Watts to ensure optimal performance and a long service life.
- How often do I need to add salt to the Brine Tank?
It depends on how often your water softener needs to regenerate. The more your softener regenerates the more salt it consumes. Generally, you will need to add 1-2 bags of salt to the brine tank about every 8 weeks. Add salt when you began seeing 3-5 inches of water above the salt level.
- How much salt should my water softener use?
An average water softener with 1cu. ft. of resin (30,000 grain capacity,10″x 44″ tank) should use 6-8 lbs. per cleaning cycle to clean resin. This will give a full 24,000 grain capacity to remove unwanted hardness minerals without completely exhausting resin before the next cleaning cycle. The national average of salt used is 60 lbs. Our systems use as little as 8 lbs a month.
**Note: We sell only Watts fully automatic metered valves with all of our water softener and conditioner packages to provide our customers with maximum effeciency, minimal waste and proven performance.
- What kind of salt do you recommend using and do your Water Softeners and Water Conditioners also use Potassium Chloride in place of salt?
We recommend using Morton System Saver II Water Conditioner Salt. It’s 99.5% pure and has added cleaners to maximize the performance of your softener and/or conditioner. If you prefer, You may also purchase Morton’s Potassium Chloride, in place of salt. Just remember, that it tends to melt when it gets wet and forms a “bridge” in the salt (brine) tank, so we recommend filling brine tank only halfway, so you can easily monitor it going down as system cleans itself.
- My valve appears to be operating but the salt is not going down. What could cause this problem?
The salt not going down could be due to several different reasons.
a. Valve is not regenerating due to a mechanical problem.
b. System may be in bypass.
c. The brine refill control could be clogged, preventing water from refilling brine tank.
(Note: It is highly recommended that you contact an experienced water quality specialist troubleshoot any problem with your equipment.)
- I have a working Water Softener,but I’m still getting Iron Staining. Why is that?
This may be due to one of several different reasons.
a. It could be that the Iron exceeds the recommended maximum. Our systems can handle 2x’s more than a traditional softener.
b. It could be due to salt setting is set too low for effective cleaning of the resin.
c. The system may not be cleaning itself often enough, causing resin to foul out.
d. It may also be the result of galvanized plumbing.
(For additional help and recommendations, call or contact us.)
- I have a working Water Softener, but I still have odor in my water. Why is that?
Water Softeners alone do not remove most tastes and odor problems (although they can remove most of the taste of iron in water).
a. On well water, odors are generally related to Iron (metallic odor) or Hydrogen Sulfide “sulfur”, commonly known by it’s “rotten egg” odor.
b. On city water, odors may be due to the smell of chlorine treated water.
c. Each of these can be affordably resolved.
(Note: if a “rotten egg” odor is on the hot water side only. Change the anode in the water heater to an aluminum one. This should fix it and save you money.)
- I have very hard water and high Iron. What kind of water Softener do I need?
To offer the best solution in correcting the water problem(s) you have, we need an accurate and reliable water quality test results. If you’re on a private well, you have several options for obtaining a water test. First, if you live near a hardware store, you may pickup one. Or, if you’re in the Jacksonville, Fl area or surrounding counties, we offer a Complimentary Water Quality Test, on site.
- How can I find out what is in my water…or where can I have my water water tested?
a. If you have city water, simply contact the office where you pay your water bill. They should have your current water record test results on file.
b. If your on a well, We do complimentary water quality testing for our customers for common water contaminants, such as: Iron, Hydrogen Sulfide “sulfur”, Nitrates, Total Dissolved Solids, etc.
c. You may also pick up a testing kit at your favorite hardware store, for around $14 dollars.
d. If you’re concerned about the safety of your water supply, we recommend an EPA Certified Lab Test for Nitrate+Nitrite, E. Coli and Coliform Bacteria test. If you live near a known source of contamination, then test for that also. For a nominal fee we will provide this service for you.
- How can I determine what kind of unit, and what size I will need?
Water Softener and Conditioners are sized based on a couple of factors:
a. The type and amount of dissolved minerals minerals present in the water (determined by testing).
b. Your home’s water flow rate. To do this, simply count the seconds it takes to fill a five gallon bucket.
(Example: if it takes 30 seconds or half a minute to fill, I know I could fill two buckets in 1 minute, thus my flow rate is 10 gallons per minute or 10 gpm.) Note: Best done on an farthest outside faucet from well.
c. We will determine exact size and type of system best suited for your needs and budget.
- How can I determine my flow rate?
Please see “How can I determine what kind of unit, and what size I will need? above.
- What kinds of Iron could be in my water?
There are basically 4 types of Iron found in water, they are:
a. Oxidized Iron contains red particles as freshly drawn into container from faucet.
b. Soluble or “Clear Water Iron” is very common and develops red particles after being exposed to air for a period of time.
c. Colloidal Iron consists of microscopic red particles when freshly drawn, making the water appear cloudy.
d. Bacterial Iron consists of living organisms lining your plumbing system. Can be easily detected by looking into toilet tank. Slimy Red Gook is a sign of Bacterial Iron.
- Can the softener cause pressure loss, if so what do I look for, and what do I need to fix it?
Yes, a softener will cause a little pressure loss, due to the resistence from the resin bed, but excessive pressure loss can be caused by one or a combination of the following.
a. On well water, this is usually do to an accumulation of sand from the well in the water softener tank.
b. On softeners installed in open sunlight, can form algae growth inside of the softener tank and break off and clog the distributor.
c. On chlorinated water supplies, debris from water line repair can clog plumbing, resulting in pressure loss.
d. The most common cause of pressure loss occurs on chlorinated water. The resin can be damaged by high chlorine levels and turn the resin into mush. This is the same result as that of sand in bottom of the resin tank.
e. Please Contact Us for an affordable solution or repair to all of your water treatment needs. Thanks and we appreciate Your business. You may reach us at (904) 766-5509. Ask for Daniel.