All You Need to Know About Winterizing a Water Softener

If you’re planning on leaving your home unoccupied over the winter, the last thing you would want is to return home to a damaged water softener. Even if you will be using your home, if your unit is installed in a basement or garage, it may still need a little care and attention to cope with the cold, winter temperatures. Although it may seem daunting, winterizing a water softener need not be a challenge. In these scenarios, some basic precautions can ensure that your device is protected even on the coldest days and nights.Untitled

Frozen pipes can be a problem in any area of your home, as a burst pipe can cause significant water damage. Unfortunately, if the burst pipe is attached to your water treatment equipment can lead to a costly repair.

Insulation and Additional Heating

If you’re planning on using your water softener throughout winter, there are some simple measures to take that can protect your device against freezing temperatures. In milder climate areas that are not prone to extreme cold, insulating the tank and pipes should be sufficient protection for winter. Pipe insulation wrap can be purchased at a home improvement store, and it is also a good idea to use electric pipe heating cables or heat tape for your water lines.

You will also need to look at your water softener tanks. While you can purchase insulation blankets or sheets of plumbing insulation, some homeowners choose to buy a special jacket designed for a water softener tank or even have an insulated box constructed around the system.

Since the brine tank has a high salt saturation, it will only be vulnerable to freezing in very cold weather. If you do live in an area where the temperatures drop below zero, you will need to keep the area around your softener warm enough to prevent any freezing. This could mean using a space heater in your garage, but you should only switch it on when needed.

Draining and Disconnection

If your property will be unoccupied for several months over winter and the heating will be turned off, you’ll need to take additional measures to drain, disconnect and store your water softener.

Draining the tanks is recommended to ensure that there is no water remaining in the system that is at risk of freezing and causing damage. You should put your softener into a regeneration cycle and wait until the system is backwashing water to the drain. At this stage, if your unit has a manual bypass, use this to turn off the water supply to the device. This will protect and isolate your device from the water supply in the rest of the building.

Remove your device from the bypass valve and remove the valve from the tank. When the rinser tube has been exposed, you should use plastic tubing to siphon the water from your media tank. You’ll need tubing long enough to reach the bottom of the riser tube.

Although siphoning is slower, it does ensure that all water is removed from your tank. Once the water has stopped, you should allow your tank to sit for approximately 10 minutes to allow the water to settle completely before you can siphon out the remaining water.

If you have concerns about winterizing your water softener, you should speak to a water treatment professional for further help and guidance.

By Mark Williams (NicMar President Mark Williams holds degrees in Applied Science and Industrial Thermodynamics, along with Agricultural Mechanization and Systems Engineering from Ohio State University. He also holds the highest possible industry ranking, being WQA (Water Quality Association) LEVEL 6 Certified.)

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Nicmar Water
999 Baltimore Road York SpringsPA17372 USA 
 • 800-542-8649

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