A water softener is a system that filters waters by removing the minerals that harden water. Magnesium and calcium are the substances that cause water to harden. One of the common questions is; can I use water while my softener is regenerating? Hard water can be a nuisance, for it uses soaps and detergents to be ineffective.
It makes the skin dry, causes stains on surfaces like wood, and leads to teeth discoloration. The latter can damage a person’s self-esteem. Usually, this system is connected to the water supply at home. This article answers the question: can I use water while my softener is regenerating?
How Water Softener Works?
A brine tank, mineral tank, and a control valve are the three parts of the water softener. It is in the water tank that the water is softened. The water enters this tank from the home’s water supply, and once it has softened, it leaves and flows to the domestic appliances. The process through which a water softener works is called “ion exchange”.It is during this process that magnesium and calcium are removed from the water.
In the mineral tank, the water streams through the spherically shaped resin beads charged with the sodium ion. Magnesium and calcium are attracted to these beads. The former gets attached to the latter, and the resin beads carry them away from the water. The science behind this process is this; the dots are having a negative charge while magnesium and calcium have a positive control; positive charges get attracted to each other. The absence of calcium and magnesium is what makes the hard water to be soft.
The work of the control valve is to measure the amount of water getting into the mineral tank. The meter in it makes it possible to make its measurements. The plastic beads’ ability to soften water is depleted when there is an overload of magnesium and calcium. The control valve detects the burden on the resin beads and initiates a regeneration cycle. The number of your house members and the hardness of water are the factors that determine the resin beads’ capability.
The brine tank contains salt, which restores the positive charge of the resin beads. The manually added salt dissolves in water at the base of the water tank. When the control valve detects that the resin beads have stopped being effective, the brine solution flows from the tank and is flushed into the water tank. The brine solution then restores the charges of the beads. The process of water-softening will only stop when the brine tank runs out of salt.
How Do You Know If a Water Softener Is Running Out of Salt?
The water softener does not stop functioning when it runs out of salt. The only thing that happens is that the water will exit the system as hard as it entered. This means that it will still have magnesium and calcium minerals. The absence of salt implies that the charges of the resin beads will not be restored. When the amount of water reduces, it is time to add salt to the brine tank. Hard water leaves magnesium and calcium in the pipes forming clogs in the tube. As a result of this, the pressure of the water reduces.
If your shower starts spraying in all directions, it is a sign that your water softener has run out of salt. Hard water leads to the development of a coating on the head of the shower. This coating restricts the flow of water hence the spraying of water to different directions. When the system runs out of salt, you will not know that cleaning will become problematic.
First, it will take so long for your soap to lather. The presence of calcium and magnesium in the water makes the use of soaps and detergents to be ineffective. These minerals hinder the mixing of water and cleaning products to form a solution. You will also notice that your glassware is left with stains after cleaning it.
How to Check How Much Salt Water Softener Has?
For the water softener to work efficiently, it must have enough salt. This makes it vital for you to keep checking the amount of salt in the brine tank. The salt should neither be too much nor too little. Too much salt causes the regenerant to solidify. Too little salt in the system will result in an inadequate reduction of water hardness.
It is effortless to check the salt in the brine tank. You only need to remove the lid that covers the tank. When you look inside, you will see the amount of salt remaining. If it is below the halfway mark, then you need to add some pellets of salt. But just before adding salt, make sure there is no encrusted salt on the side of the tank. If there is any, shake the brine for the build-up to break. The salt can only be added to reach the halfway mark but not beyond that point. Use salt pellets only.
How to Add Salt to the Water in the Brine Tank
Adding salt to the water softener is very easy. You only need to know where the brine tank is, remove the lid and top it up. The size of your brine tank, the type of system you have, how hard your water is, and the amount of water you use daily determine salt’s quantity to add to a softener.
How Often Do You Need to Add Salt to the Water Softener?
You should check the level of salt in your tank once or twice a month. Make sure that when adding salt, it does not pass past the half-full mark. To ensure the salt is adequate, always add one full bag (40 Ib) of salt. The amount of salt to be used is also determined by the amount of water your household consumes.
So, Can I Use Water While the Water Softener is Regenerating?
The short answer is yes, however it’s not recommended. The regeneration cycle for water softeners is usually about 2-2.5 hours depending on the model, brand and capacity. During this time many manufactures don’t recommend to use your water softener because in this case the hard water will be going through pipes and potentially can stay in the water heater for a long time.
That significantly increases the buildup in the equipment. So, our advice, don’t use water when the water softener is regenerating unless it’s absolutely necessary. This way, your equipment will last longer and you will take a shower in the soft water. Learn also if you can drink softened water
Can I use water while my softener is regenerating? No, it is not recommended to use water during water softener regeneration. Water can be used during the regeneration process, but the water drawn from the tank will be hard. The best thing to do is to wait for it to finish the process. The regeneration process takes about ninety minutes to two hours.
A lot of water is used during the process. The resurgence in some systems depends on the amount of water being used by your household. If the water being used is a lot, then the system will often regenerate to avoid being interrupted. Most water softeners that are demand-based regenerate weekly or biweekly.
Call Smile HVACSmile HVAC is a professional company offering HVAC services at affordable rates. We have experienced technicians who know how to repair and install different HVAC systems. Installation of Water Softeners is another service provided by our experts. If your water softener requires repairing and maintenance, then feel free to contact Smile HVAC.
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