Salt is a common element used in water. However, if there is too much salt in your hot water, it can feel uncomfortable. What is going on if your hot water is very salty?
The problem is probably your water softener. Let’s take a look at what is going on.
What is a water softener?
Water hardness can be a real problem if you live in an area with high levels of minerals in the water. These minerals, typically iron and magnesium, can leave behind stains and deposits on your appliances and fixtures as well as create problems with limescale build-up. That’s why many homeowners invest in a water softener system.
A water softener is a machine used to reduce water hardness. It does this by chemically altering the water, and removing the minerals and impurities to reduce the amount of scale build-up in your home.
The resins that do this get less effective over time. To get them working again, they are mixed with salt.
Water softeners can be either a whole house or a point-of-use system. Whole house water softeners are installed on the main water supply and will soften water throughout the entire house. Point-of-use systems are installed at fixtures and appliances and will only soften the water used at those locations.
Water softener problems with salt
Water softeners use salt as the reagent. This salt will build up in the machine over time and must be flushed out or you’ll risk damaging the machine. This is when salt build-up or water softener problems with salt occur.
The main reason why you have salt in your hot water is that the regeneration process didn’t work completely. You can restart this on your water softener. Another reason is that you will have to clean your water heater and remove salt deposits. Once this is done, you can restart your water softener and over time the water should become less salty. You might have to replace the resin as well. Based on the manual of your system, you can check what maintenance is needed. Your plumber can help you with this process.
Other potential problems with your water softener
If you notice the salt in the water during the regeneration cycle, you’re dealing with salt in the water. A common cause of salt in the water is a clogged brine tank. When the brine tank is clogged, salt will back up into the machine and travel through the pipes. This will cause it to enter the water supply. To fix the issue, you first want to check the brine tank and make sure it’s not clogged.
If the brine tank is clear, you may want to contact a water softener repair technician. An expert can identify the issue and fix it. If the salt in the water is a recurring issue, you may want to replace the water softener. This is especially true if the water softener is older than 10 years. Newer water softeners tend to be more efficient and reliable.
Once you have fixed this issue, it can take a few weeks before that water becomes less salty. There is a build-up of salt in the pipes and water heater and this has to be flushed. It is important that you address the problem though as the salt can reduce the lifetime of your water heater and it can corrode your pipes. If it doesn’t get better, you should contact a plumber to get it checked further.
Water softener maintenance
The best way to prevent water softener problems is through regular maintenance. This includes changing your filter and replacing any worn-out parts. There are three parts of a water softener you should regularly check. First, you should change the water filter.
Filters are there to trap any particles in the water and should be replaced every 6 months or when they become clogged. Second, you should inspect the salt brine tank. The tank holds the salt that dissolves and recharges the water softener. If the tank is low on salt, you want to refill it as soon as possible. If the tank is completely empty, you may experience water softener problems.
Lastly, you should inspect the reed valves. The reed valves control the flow of water and salt through the water softener. If there is any corrosion or rust, you want to clean the reed valves. If the reed valves are clogged, the regeneration cycle will take longer.
If you don’t want to do this yourself, you can ask your plumber to take a look while they are also maintaining your water heater.
Having salty hot water can be annoying. It can also cause some damage to your water heater and water pipes. Therefore it is a problem that should be addressed. The problem is probably the water softener. When dealing with water softener problems, you want to first check the salt brine tank. If the tank is clear, you can check the reed valves to see if there is any corrosion or rust. If there is, you want to clean the reed valves. If the reed valves are clogged, the regeneration cycle will take longer.
It is also possible that you have a lot of salt in your ground or well water. You can add a filter to get this removed. These filters need to be replaced every few weeks. This can require a groundwater test to determine if this is actually the case.
Water softeners are great devices as they remove hard water stains. They need some regular maintenance though. Adding salt, cleaning the salt tank, and making sure that everything regenerated properly are important steps to keep this system working properly.
Water descalers are an alternative to water softeners. These systems don’t use salt but are also not that effective. The technology is still evolving so it should get better over time. In some areas, water softeners are not allowed as the salt gets in the wastewater. This makes it harder to process and clean it.