How Can I Tell If My Water Softener Isn't Working Correctly?

Written by chris newton
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How Can I Tell If My Water Softener Isn't Working Correctly?
Look for signs of malfunctioning water softeners in sinks and dishwashers. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Water softeners are installed for various reasons. A properly working water softener will leave dishes cleaner, help shower soaps lather nicely and prevent rusting and harsh elements that wear and tear at shower heads, showers, sinks, tubs and dishwashers. Early detection of a malfunction and consistent maintenance of a water softener can save a lot of money down the road.

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  1. 1

    Check if silverware, dishes and glasses coming out of the dishwasher have consistent chalky stains or spots. These unsightly stains will be some of the first signs of a faulty water softener.

  2. 2

    Pay attention to the amount of soapy lather that builds up while showering or doing dishes. Hard water will produce little to no lather, while softer water will create a significant amount of bubbles and lather.

  3. 3

    Inspect sinks, bathtubs and showers for any rust stains or orange build-up. This is a sure sign that the water softener is not working correctly.

  4. 4

    Monitor whether your skin feels dry or your hair appears duller after showers. Note whether there has been a drop in the water pressure and there is now a weaker stream. These are signs that the shower head has been clogged by mineral deposits due to an improperly functioning water softener. Check shower drains for rust stains, another sign of hard water.

  5. 5

    Check if there is salt build-up on or in the brine tank. A water softener often becomes faulty and stops working properly due to a build-up of salt. Use soap and a sturdy brush to clean it off. If the issue appears to be more than just salt build-up, contact a plumber.

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