Do you have a water softener installed in your home?
Is it really doing its job correctly?
Have you ever wondered how to tell if your water softener is working?
In this article, we’ll help you learn to identify several ways you can tell if your water softener is still functioning the way it’s supposed to.
But what is a water softener, anyway, and how does it work? If you don’t already have one of these products installed in your home, you’re missing out. A water softener is a type of filter that is installed in your home. It can either be installed under your kitchen sink to work with that sink alone or as part of your home’s overall plumbing.
A water softener works by removing the types of minerals that can be present in water and may lead to making it hard. Because hard water contains more minerals than soft water, it can lead to a buildup of these minerals—especially calcium—around your kitchen and bathroom hardware and even on your dishes and clothes.
Many people choose to install a water softener to help combat this problem. However, sometimes it can be tough to tell if the product is still working properly. Check out our list below for some quick and easy ways you can determine whether or not your softener needs some maintenance or maybe an upgrade.
Signs a Water Softener is Working
It’s always a good idea to understand just what you can do to tell whether or not your water softener is functioning the way it’s supposed to. This way, you’ll be able to catch any problems that might arise before they get out of hand, and you’ll be more prepared to deal with any issues too. Here are a few ways you can tell that your water softener is doing its job:
1. No more hard water spots.
One of the biggest problems associated with water hardness is the presence of hard water spots on dishes. If you run a wine glass through your dishwasher and take it out only to find more spots on it than when you started, there’s a very good chance you’re dealing with hard water. This may even happen when you’re using your sink to wash dishes instead of your dishwasher, too. To see if your water softener is working, let some water stand in a clear glass or some other clear dish for a while. Rinse it out with no soap or any other cleaners. If there are lots of spots, your softener may not be working.
2. Cleaner and less itchy skin.
Hard water is also prone to causing skin issues, especially in people who already have sensitive skin. if you find yourself itching more and more after you take a shower or a bath, there’s a good chance your water is hard again. It can also be more challenging to completely get clean when you have hard water, so if you find that your skin is still a little grimy or that you feel sticky or even a little grainy after showering, this is also an indicator that your water is too hard.
3. Softer hair.
When you have soft enough water, this means you’re also going to have softer hair. Soft water is good for your hair and doesn’t cause damage to it when you wash it. However, if your water softener is not working and your hard water problem returns, you’re going to notice a difference in the texture of your hair after just a few washes. You’ll find it more difficult to get the shampoo out of your hair and you may find that your hair is sticky, oily, or “crunchy” to the touch as well.
4. Softer and more vivid laundry.
Soft water benefits your laundry the same way it benefits your hair: by making it softer and nicer to touch. When your water is soft, it also keeps your colors looking vivid and bright and your white laundry whiter and less dim. However, if you have hard water, you’re going to notice duller colors and yellowed or faded white laundry, and you may also notice spots appearing on your clothes as well.
5. Easier to hand-wash dishes with plenty of suds.
Having too many minerals in your water may prevent you from being able to lather up dish soap enough to get it sudsy. This may be a strange problem to consider, but if you find yourself scrubbing away at dishes in the sink without being able to get enough soap suds to keep anything clean, there’s a good chance your water softener is not working the way it’s supposed to.
6. Water pressure isn’t changing.
When your water softener is working correctly, the water pressure you have in your home isn’t going to change. However, if your softener stops working and minerals begin building up again in your water supply, you’ll notice the pressure dwindling more and more over time. This can be an indicator of other problems, too, but it’s a good idea to start troubleshooting with your water softener.
7. No more buildup around your shower head.
Another very common method of telling that you have hard water is by checking out your shower head. Very hard water will leave calcium deposits around your shower head and will make it look crusty and white no matter how much you try to keep it clean. However, if your water softener is working the way it’s supposed to, you won’t see this type of buildup around your shower head. You also won’t see it around your sink faucets or your garden hose spigot, which can be other problem areas when you have hard water.
Did you learn a little something about your water softener? As you can see, it’s not too hard to tell when your softener is working properly. Just pay close attention to these tips and you’ll be well on your way to better operation in no time.
But how can you know if your water softener needs maintenance or replacement? Obviously the tips above will let you know if it’s not working the right way, but how do you know if it’s completely done for or if it just needs some quick upkeep? To do this, you’ll need to consult the owner’s manual that came with your softener for troubleshooting tips. You may also want to check out YouTube videos to learn more about how to identify the problem that’s causing your softener to stop working.
It may take some practice to get the hang of owning a water softener, but with enough patience, you’ll get there!
5 Warning Signs You Need a New Water Softener
- Your water has an unpleasant taste or smell.
- You notice white spots on your dishes and glassware.
- Your clothes are coming out of the washing machine feeling stiff and scratchy.
- You have to use more soap than usual when showering or washing dishes.
- Your water pressure is lower than normal.
ALSO: Have a professional inspect your water softener regularly to ensure it's working properly!
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About The Author
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Joseph Bartley, also known as the WaterFilterFanatic, is a seasoned content writer who specializes in water filtration and water quality topics. On AllAboutWaterFilters, he has written a range of water filtration system reviews, water health and quality articles, swimming pool, hot tub and aquarium filtration guides, DIY methods to assist people clean their drinking water, and much more. Joseph enjoys spending his time working with the #AllAboutWaterFilters Editorial Team to provide some of the best quality water filtration content available on the web.