A water softener is an excellent addition to any household suffering from hard water issues because soft water is easier to use for showering, bathing, washing and cleaning tasks. Like any piece of equipment, a water softener needs expert, regular maintenance to keep it running efficiently. Some of these tasks, such as salt replacement or cleaning the brine tank are easy enough to do yourself. There are other problems that may not be as easy to fix if you’re experiencing low pressure or discolored water issues the problem could be your drain line.
The Water Softener Drain Line
The water softener is needed to remove the minerals that cause hard water. This process also removes a tiny amount of debris and dirt from the water supply. These small pieces of mineral stick the resin beads in your system, and the dirty debris settles at the bottom of your brine tank. After the softener has cleaned a set number of gallons, the system will regenerate or clean itself. This will remove the built up mineral deposits, but the dirt at the bottom of the tank needs a really good flush to remove it. This is then deposited into the drain line and removed from your home.
Drain Line Blockages
Over time the dirty water will deposit tiny amounts of dirty debris material on the inside surface of the drain line. This will steadily increase, and the drain line will become progressively smaller and less water will be able to pass through. Eventually, the drain line could become blocked, the water will have nowhere to go, and it will back up causing a flood. The resin in your water softener could become damaged, and this could lead to a large repair bill or even a total replacement.
Keeping the Drain Line Clear
The standard drain line used throughout the industry is a ½” polypropylene line that’s rigid and yet flexible enough to stay connected. Many people decide to save money by purchasing “Big Box Water Softeners” and the associated “Installation Kits” at a home improvement store. Sadly, these products use softer drain lines that are not suitable. They use soft plastic lines that are typically a dark green color or clear, and they are easy to pinch closed with your finger and thumb. These drain lines will often fail after only a few years of use, causing the problems mentioned above.
It’s better to hard plumb the drain line using a PVC or a CPVC line that will last. Drain lines like these will not collapse on themselves due to gravity, and they are not easily knocked off the drain connectors. A well installed drain line made from better materials could easily last for up to 25 years making them a better long term solution.
It’s also a good idea to schedule a regular annual service for your water softener. A water treatment professional will evaluate your system, carrying out routine cleaning and cleaning to keep your water softener and the drain line working efficiently.