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Old 02-07-2018, 09:28 AM   #1
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Not sure if water softener is doing anything?!


We have been noticing a white film on everything coming out of the dishwasher and I know the first suspect would be scale. Glasses come out looking cloudy.

We do have a water softener but it uses very little salt. I tested the water from a kitchen faucet for hardness and get a reading around 25gpg. I checked and if anything the water softener was set way too high. I lowered it and will monitor things but can someone answer this...if the softener was set high then surely the water from the kitchen faucet should not show much hardness? Am I off in my assumption here? The softener, if softening the water should result in soft water from the faucet, yes?

If so then does this indicate that the water softener is not doing its job? Is there a way to test this? The fact that we have the white film (especially noticeable on glass) combined with the fact that we use very little salt has me wondering if the salt is somehow compacted at the bottom of the softener and not being 'used'.

Any insight appreciated
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Old 02-07-2018, 12:57 PM   #2
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Re: Not sure if water softener is doing anything?!


could be several things. if you have a lot of salt in the brine tank, you could have a "bridge" that you need to break up with a broom handle or something similar. try this first and make sure the salt can be moved around easily in the tank.

run a manual regeneration cycle and monitor it. the best way to monitor things is to have a relatively low level of salt in the tank, so you can see the water come up over the top during fill and be consumed well below the level during regeneration.
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Old 02-07-2018, 01:28 PM   #3
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Re: Not sure if water softener is doing anything?!


What is the hardness of the water before the softener?
Water softener settings don't let you adjust how hard the water coming out is. They only adjust for how often the recharge occurs.
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Old 02-07-2018, 01:48 PM   #4
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Re: Not sure if water softener is doing anything?!


Who know, maybe I misunderstood what a water softener is supposed to do. Not something I have ever had in a house before so it is new to me.

I will do a hardness test prior to the softener this evening and compare. I guess I just figured that the softener would result in soft, or at least softer, water at the faucet...and no limescale.

The setting I am talking about is the hardness setting. According to the manual I am supposed to do a hardness test and set it accordingly. I had just assumed that it would then adjust how much it softens the water to offset that hardness.
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Old 02-07-2018, 03:37 PM   #5
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Re: Not sure if water softener is doing anything?!


The hardness setting is the hardness of the incoming water. That setting determines how often the softener needs to regenerate. If you have harder water it needs to regenerate more often.

25gpg is very hard. If that is coming out of the softener it is not functioning properly. I would try a manual regen and see what happens.

Last edited by joed; 02-07-2018 at 03:42 PM.
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Old 02-07-2018, 03:47 PM   #6
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Re: Not sure if water softener is doing anything?!


If the house is new to you, trace the plumbing. Some medical conditions are sensitive to the elevated sodium level in softened water, and it is not uncommon for the kitchen sink to not be softened - apparently research determined that most people will drink water from the kitchen tap more than the others.
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Old 02-08-2018, 08:07 AM   #7
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Re: Not sure if water softener is doing anything?!


So I managed to get a hardness reading before the softener and in all honesty it looks about the same as from the kitchen faucet. I tried from 2 other faucets around the house, same reading.

It is hard to get a truly precise reading as it is the strips where you match the color.

I looked into the brine tank and the salt was solid. had to use a pry bar and chip at it without hitting the walls or well. Managed to get about 50% of it out and then poured in two gallons of water. Now able to push a broom stick to the bottom. Recharged it and will see if anything looks different tomorrow.

I should say though, at no point did I detect the salt level suddenly lowering as a bridge was broken etc. It just kinda dissolved as the water hit it.

So from what I read above I SHOULD get a different reading post-softener as opposed to pre-softener then?

I will update tomorrow once everything has settled down. The brine tank is about half full of water now as a result of the recharge and added water.
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Old 02-08-2018, 08:22 AM   #8
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Re: Not sure if water softener is doing anything?!


Quote:
Originally Posted by wex65 View Post
So I managed to get a hardness reading before the softener and in all honesty it looks about the same as from the kitchen faucet. I tried from 2 other faucets around the house, same reading.

It is hard to get a truly precise reading as it is the strips where you match the color.

I looked into the brine tank and the salt was solid. had to use a pry bar and chip at it without hitting the walls or well. Managed to get about 50% of it out and then poured in two gallons of water. Now able to push a broom stick to the bottom. Recharged it and will see if anything looks different tomorrow.

I should say though, at no point did I detect the salt level suddenly lowering as a bridge was broken etc. It just kinda dissolved as the water hit it.

So from what I read above I SHOULD get a different reading post-softener as opposed to pre-softener then?

I will update tomorrow once everything has settled down. The brine tank is about half full of water now as a result of the recharge and added water.
i have a sofner here is what i do and it works very well, empty all out of the tank salt and all water , now get the pellets style of salt and pour salt in tank and add 1 gal of water , now regen the softner i bet it will be ok that is the way to start the softner good luck i use morten rust out salt
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Old 02-08-2018, 08:25 AM   #9
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Re: Not sure if water softener is doing anything?!


Was there a hollow space under the salt? That is a problem that occasionally happens. A salt bridge develops and the water from regen is not salty. With the salt bridge broken regen the unit manually and test the water again.
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Old 02-08-2018, 08:31 AM   #10
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Re: Not sure if water softener is doing anything?!


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Was there a hollow space under the salt? That is a problem that occasionally happens. A salt bridge develops and the water from regen is not salty. With the salt bridge broken regen the unit manually and test the water again.
Not really sure to be honest. AT no point did the salt suddenly drop.

I will say this. I switched from larger pellets to a smaller crystal type salt when HD stopped stocking the large type and I never had an issue with that. I might run to Lowes and see if they have the larger pellets.
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Old 02-08-2018, 12:15 PM   #11
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Re: Not sure if water softener is doing anything?!


How much of the old salt was still in the tank when the new salt went in?

I would say that there is a very good possibility that there is now a bridge or crust of salt holding the salt from going to the bottom of the tank.

Changing salt is not a bad thing, just do it when there is no salt left so there is no mix of the different styles.
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Old 02-08-2018, 12:49 PM   #12
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Re: Not sure if water softener is doing anything?!


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How much of the old salt was still in the tank when the new salt went in?

I would say that there is a very good possibility that there is now a bridge or crust of salt holding the salt from going to the bottom of the tank.

Changing salt is not a bad thing, just do it when there is no salt left so there is no mix of the different styles.
To be honest I am not sure how much was in there but regardless all salt is now under water and a broomstick goes to the bottom of the tank so I think if there was a bridge it should be fine now.

I think I will stick to the larger pellets.

I will see tomorrow if the hardness test gives any change.
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Old 02-08-2018, 02:51 PM   #13
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Re: Not sure if water softener is doing anything?!


Has the system gone through a few regens?

Simple test.
Jar with lid, half full of water and 3-4 drops of dish soap. Shake the jar , lather on top and clear water under?
system working.
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Old 02-08-2018, 02:56 PM   #14
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Re: Not sure if water softener is doing anything?!


Another couple of thoughts: If your water is high iron, the resin bed may be fouled. There are cleaners. Also, some makes have a small injector orifice (or injector something) with a small filter screen and they can get fouled. The injector is replaceable and the filter cleanable.
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Old 02-08-2018, 03:01 PM   #15
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Re: Not sure if water softener is doing anything?!


I did an iron test and got a 'no iron' reading.

The system did a regen this morning. Worth doing a few? What benefit do the added regens give? Sorry, as I said at the top, this is new to me.
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