The first step in water softener repair is the softener test, which is usually followed by a checkup of the brine tank. Discover how salt bridges can cause a soft water unit to stop working with help from a master plumber in this free video on water softener repair.
These are things that you as a homeowner can look at for making repairs on your system before you call out a certified technician if it's something that you feel is beyond you. One of the first things that you can look for, or you can feel for, obviously is going to the softener test. The next thing that you can go for is if the softener test comes out hard and your softener seems to regenerate all the time, you can go ahead and check for to see if your brine tank has got a salt bridge in it. By doing that you go ahead and take the lid off and you check the height. You take just a basic broom handle is what you do and you check the height of the tank just to make sure you're getting down there. Make a mark on your broom handle with either tape or a marker or something that you can peel off later if you don't want a mark there, and just kind of jam in there and jam around. One of the biggest causes of soft water not working is salt bridges inside of these units. What it does is it creates an air gap down at the bottom of the tank to where the water won't go clear to the brine where it's pulling the water from, so basically you're not getting any soft water at all. Or sometimes what will happen is you will fill it up and it will get just a little bit and then you feel nice soft skin and the next day you don't and it's regenerating again and you don't feel anything happening, changing in the water at all. You will notice it if you like soft water and you're into the "feel" of how it feels because there is a big difference. The next thing you can look for is basic stuff on these systems. Always check kind of your hose connections to make sure you don't have any drips or anything obvious coming onto your floor, anything like that can damage your home, water is very damaging. And it's good to look in on it every now and again, it's not something you have to stare at day after day but just check on it once again for setting your times on your unit to see where the time frames are to make sure that you're at the right time of day to where it's not going to regenerate on you at two o'clock in the morning when you're sleeping soundly, or to make sure that it's doing what it's supposed to do time frame wise. And here's the connections that you have to go to is the back drain, this is where it comes and regenerates the water. A lot of water comes out of this, if this thing regenerates twice it's typically close to sixty gallons of water, so if there's a leak here or something's wrong you will have a big mess on your floor, it's like dumping a whole water heater out on your floor at once, so you have to check those things. The other things that you can look for is in the bypass valve, you can exercise these valves to make sure that you don't end up with a problem in them. It's a good idea to do that probably about every six months to make sure that the O-rings and everything stay lubricated inside. Check your fittings to make sure there's no water, and it's a good idea to go ahead and put your hand and look to see if there's any moisture on your hand because that's the best way to check, and if you think you might have, grab the best thing that I have found to find small, small leaks is a bit of toilet paper. Just grab a couple of things and kind of wipe it, if you see that the toilet paper is wet, because it's really absorbent, then you know you've got a problem. If it's something that you feel comfortable fixing, like it's just a fitting like this that maybe you need to put a wrench on and just do a quick little tighten, then you can do that. If it's something that looks to be a little bit more than what you want to bite off you should call the certified technician to come out and help you out with that. Another thing that you can look for is water around power is something that you've got to be aware of that's kind of a scary thing. If you see where water has gotten anywhere where the power is, don't touch it, call somebody or go shut the breaker off wherever the breaker is, then call your plumber to find out why there is a leak there. Or possibly it could be a roof leak. If it's obvious where it's coming from call that trade out to find out why that's happening like that because electricity can be very dangerous as we all know. And remember the first thing that you do anytime you want to service one of these units is unplug it, start with unplugging it because then you're taking out an element that could really hurt you if you're diving into it. These units have a lot of small parts inside of the head that are usually beyond what a homeowner can handle or do. If there's something happening that you're not quite sure and you've kind of gone through making sure your clock's working and it seems to regenerate too often, or maybe the water's not soft and you've got salt, or it's not using the salt in the system, these are all little trouble signs that you need to be looking for. There may be something more wrong that you have to call a certified technician out, and possibly your head can be rebuilt, your control head, sort of a traffic cop in your system, and it does a lot of different things and there's a lot of different parts in it. Maybe it can be rebuilt, maybe it needs to be replaced, but let a certified guy do that before you dive into it.