My Water Softener Is Making A Funny Noise, What Do I Do?

My Water Softener Is Making A Funny Noise, What Do I Do?

It is estimated that up to 80% of all homes in the United States have hard water. Essentially, that means that the water contains dissolved rock, most commonly limestone and iron, which leaves a residue on sinks and fixtures, damages water-using appliances, and ruins piping with rust build up. The only way to combat hard water issues is to install a water softener that will create soft water for your home use.

How Does It Work?

The purpose of a water softener is to eliminate dissolved rock from the home water supply. Made of two tanks, a salt brine tank and a resin tank, the water is sent into a filtration cycle through a process known as ion exchange. Ion exchange uses resin, debris slightly larger than granules of sand, to filter out the hard water molecules leaving soft water behind. A cleaning, called regeneration, is required once the resin is full of hardness. During this process, the home water supply is shut down as the resin tank is flooded with salt brine water in the opposite direction of typical water flow, effectively removing the hardness from the resin. After a final rinsing of the resin, soft water production can begin again.

Is That Noise a Problem?

Noisy by default, water softeners have a lot of moving parts, it is common for homeowners to mistakenly think that the sound of the motor during the regeneration process is a sign of mechanical error. This is due to the fact that most often the regeneration cycle is programmed to occur at night, leading to the sound being perceived as louder and more troubling. While this sound might indicate business as usual, that is not to suggest that there are not plenty of noises that could indicate an issue with the machinery. Calcium or magnesium build up on the intake valves, trying to use water during the regeneration cycle, air check mechanism issues, and even loose gears can all contribute to a noisy water softener. It is also possible that the disturbance is a result of the water heater, dishwasher, or another water-using appliance.

How Do I Fix It?

Essentially, the only sound that you should regularly hear from your water softener is the back-flush occurring during the regeneration cycle, typically a recurring sound during the middle of the night. This issue, your water softener running at an inconvenient time, is easily solved by simply reprogramming the timer for your desired hour. However, if you don’t have working knowledge of how best to maintain your water softener, a visit from a qualified plumber would be required to repair any malfunctioning equipment. The most common issues requiring maintenance tend to involve the control valve, whether that be a leak or rusty pipes, or the air check mechanism, a floating ball in the brine tank, both of which would require a visit from a professional Las Vegas plumber.

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