The most common type of water softener uses sodium chloride (salt) to exchange ions with calcium and magnesium in hard water.
When the water softener is working properly, the sodium ions will replace the calcium and magnesium ions in the water. This means that the water coming out of your pipes will be free from hard minerals.
You should notice an improvement in the quality of your water, and you may even notice that soap lathers more easily after your water softener is installed.
If you are unsure whether or not your water softener is working properly, there are several ways to check.
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1. Check Hard Minerals
The PH range of soft water is 6.5 to 7.0, while the hard water’s PH can be above 8.5. You can use a PH test paper to analyze the water coming out of your pipes for hard minerals. If there are still high levels of calcium and magnesium in the water, then the PH is higher than in soft water, therefore the test paper will turn a certain color.
The presence of hard minerals in the water is an indication that your water softener is not working properly.
2. Scale and Mineral Buildup
Another way to check if your water softener is working properly is to look for signs of scale buildup in your pipes and fixtures. Mineral deposits, or scale, can be a sign that your water softener isn’t removing the hard minerals from the water effectively.
If you notice any white or gray deposits on your faucets, showerheads, or in your tub or sink, this could be a sign of scale buildup. You may also notice that your pipes seem to be clogged or that your water pressure is low. These are all signs that your water softener isn’t working properly and you may need to have it serviced.
3. Dry and Itchy Skin
If you are experiencing dry, itchy skin and think it might be related to your water quality, then check the water coming out of your pipes for high levels of calcium or magnesium.
If these hard minerals are present in large amounts in your water, this could be causing your dry skin. A properly functioning water softener will help remove these minerals and improve the quality of your water.
4. Water Lathering
When soap is mixed with softener water, it creates more bubbles and lathers more easily. This is because there is less calcium and magnesium in the water. This is a fairly simple test you can use to check if your water softener is working properly.
If you notice that your water lathers more easily after installing a new water softener, then it’s likely that your unit is functioning as it should be. If your water lathers is not easy, the water may be medium-hard. If it comes out all scummy, the water would be hard water.
5. Salty Water Taste
If you notice a salty or metallic taste in your water after your water softener has been installed, this could be a sign that the system isn’t working properly. The sodium ions from the salt will help to remove hard minerals from the water, but if there is too much salt in the system this can cause an unpleasant taste as it means the exchange process is not working properly.
6. Check the Salt Level
Another way to check if your water softener is working properly is to check the salt level in the brine tank. Over time, the salt will dissolve and need to be replenished. Look for a white crust on the top of your salt and chunks at the bottom of your tank, which indicates that it’s time to add more salt. If you notice the salt level in your brine tank continues, you know it’s working.
7. Sudden Changes to Your Home’s Water Pressure
If you experience a sudden drop in your home’s water pressure, it could be an indication that your water softener isn’t working properly. A clogged filter or mineral buildup can cause low water pressure.
When your water softener is working properly, you should notice an improvement in the quality of your water. Your water will be free from mineral deposits, and soap and other cleaning products will lather more easily. Additionally, you may notice that your appliances and fixtures last longer, since they are no longer exposed to hard water damage.
To ensure the proper functioning of your water softener, it is important to regularly test the water coming out of your pipes for hard minerals. You should also keep an eye out for signs of scale buildup and dry, itchy skin as potential indicators that your water softener is not working properly.