One of the best solutions for dealing with hard water problems at home is installing a water softener system. But how to install a water softener? Do you need a professional for the installation? If you have some plumbing knowledge, it can be done without any professional help and our simple step-by-step guide below will help you to easily complete this project.
Select a System and Location
Start by testing your water for hardness and evaluating your household’s average water usage. Then choose an appropriate water softening system.
Next step is finding a suitable location for the installation. The place where you are going to position the unit should be dry, level and not under direct sunlight. Most of the water softening systems comes with two tanks, so you need a location where you can place them level next to each other. The temperature of the location should always stay above freezing. Choose an area that has access to an electrical outlet. It should also be close to a drain for water discharge and the main water line. Between the water softener and the water heater, you should keep at least 10 inches of piping.
Installation of the Bypass Valve
After placing the water softener into the chosen location, you need to connect the bypass valve. But before you begin, you need to shut off the water line and turn off the power of the water heater. Also, drain the lines in the house by turning on all the faucets.All the water softeners include a bypass valve that you can use to shut off the water flow to the water softener, so you can redirect it if you would need so for any reason.
On the back of the unit you can find the bypass valve, which you need to push back into place. The softener should come with clips, using which you need to secure the valve.
Connect to the Water Supply
Connecting the unit to the water supply you have two options: either use a hard pipe or a flex line. The benefit of the flexible line is that it will be easier to remove the system in the future.
If you are using flex lines, you will need to cut the copper water line and screw on the flex lines, using appropriate adapters. The fittings you can either solder or choose push fit fittings, so that you can connect them without soldering. The flex lines connect first to the water supply line and then to the back of the water softener.
Doing the connecting, make sure that the valve is properly is connected with the inlet of the valve connecting to the incoming water supply and the outlet to the water supply that goes out of the house.
Every water softener requires a place for draining the water after each regeneration cycle. You can choose one among various options, such as a floor drain, standpipe or a utility sink.
The water softener should have a valve drain fitting that should be connected to the small drain tubing. Next step is to connect the salt tank’s drain elbow to the overflow drain hose. Position the two hoses so that the water can be drained into the drainage. They also require an air gap and should be placed above the drain standpipe. For the discharge of the water softener you will also need to install a trap.
Start the System
After completing all the previous steps, the unit is almost ready to start softening the water. For the final step add salt to the unit and you can start the system. Depending on the water softener model you have chosen, the manufacturer might recommend a certain type of salt. Check the recommendations also for the amount of salt that you need to use. Most of the water softening systems can also be used with potassium chloride, which is a more environmentally friendly alternative. Some of the models might even run without any salt at all. So check the manufacturer’s recommendations.
When starting the system you can turn the water supply back on. It’s recommended to go slowly, as with sudden pressure you can damage the fittings.
Follow the start up steps that are indicated in the water softener instruction manual. First you might need to run the unit for several minutes through the rinsing stations. This will flush out any mineral buildup and clean the resin. The final step is to set the timer and the hardness level. Then the unit will start rinsing and the regeneration cycle.