How to Install a Water Softener: Tips for Keeping Your Water Fresh

how to install a water softener

As the name already indicates, a water softener is an appliance that can help you get rid of all the soluble minerals that are present in hard water to soften it. It can eliminate permanent hardness and temporary hardness, providing you with fresh cold water for cooking, drinking, and washing.

Since a water softener comes with many parts, many users might feel a little overwhelmed when installing one. However, the installation process is not as challenging as it may seem. And, so that you can enjoy all its benefits, we are going to show you how to install a water softener in your home.

Scouting Out a Good Location

Before you begin your DIY project, you have to determine where you will install your water softener system and find an appropriate location for it.

Some of the best places for installing a water softener are basements and garages. Such rooms give you access to the mains water supply line that supplies water to your house.

While installing the water softener at different points in your home, it is advisable to attach it to your mains water supply system. In this way, most, if not all, of your home appliances will not suffer so much from lime-scale buildup.

Ensure that where you place it, it boosts its overall performance. Also, keep in mind that fitting a water softener in the basement or garage makes it easier for you to do repairs. Another option is a spot close to a kitchen sink to soften your drinking water.

Since water softeners might be affected by different temperature conditions, they should not be installed in an outdoor location, as the unit might incur damages if the temperature drops.

Tools Needed for the Water Softener Installation Process

The following list includes some of the critical tools that you might require when installing a water softener:

  • Pipe cutter
  • Tape measure
  • A pair of pliers
  • Plumber’s tape
  • Plumbing valves

Step by Step Guide: The Water Softener Installation Process

Step 1: Turn off The Water System

To prevent unnecessary leakages, shut off the water system before you do anything else. We also recommend turning off your electric boiler and water heater to stop the hot water supply cycle.

After that, open all the taps. Let the water drain completely from your water system.

Step 2: Place the Water Softener in a Secure Position

Once you have shut off the mains water supply system, find a secure spot to install your water softener. Check whether the surface is completely dry before you start this process. You want the area to be as clean and dry as possible to make the installation easy.

Place a bucket or a bowl below the mains water supply pipe to catch any remaining water and then cut it with a pipe cutter. If there is any water in the pipe, it will drain into the bucket or the bowl.

Step 3: Fit a Bypass Valve on the Water Softener

While some water softeners might feature an in-built valve, some might not have this critical part.

A plumbing bypass valve is a special kind of valve that can stop feeding hard water to the softener and still supply water to your house. For instance, if you plan to fix your water softener, you have to stop feeding water to the softener flow by shutting off the water supply. However, this should not alter the supply of water in your household. With a plumbing bypass valve, you can do both of those things at the same time.

To install a bypass valve, you have to grease it first, then attach it to the softener’s valve with some clips.

Step 4: Connect the Water Supply Unit to the Water Softener

The next thing you need to do is attach the right pipes to the inlet and outlet of the water softener unit for water supply and redistribution.

Since water softeners have different designs, you will have to check out your specific set of manufacturer’s instructions until you find the information that shows you the water inlet and outlet.

Start by connecting the water supply pipe to the inlet of the softener’s mineral tank. You can attach this pipe to the inlet with a flexible pipe or a hard pipe. While a hard pipe gets the job done, a flexible pipe is more versatile. It can also be attached or unfastened to the main water supply line pipe more easily.

If you plan to connect the flexible pipe to the mains water line, you will need special plumbing adapters, which are tubes that join two pipes of different sizes and properties.

Afterwards, connect the outlet of the water softener unit to your home’s water distribution pipe. Here, you can also use a flexible pipe and fasten the fittings with a pair of pliers or a wrench to prevent any leaks.

Step 5: Connect the Two Main Tanks

Both the mineral tank and the brine tank play a big role in the water softening process. The brine tank stores a salt solution that maintains the mineral tank and boosts the overall performance of the softener.

For these reasons and maximum efficiency, you have to connect the two tanks. Various water softeners come with a long tube that makes it easier for you to connect the two tanks. During the installation process, ensure that these tanks are close enough to one another before connecting the tube. Run the designated tube between the brine tank and the mineral tank to check its length, and after you’ve connected them, fasten the connections with hose clips to ensure the connection is secured and prevent leakages.

Step 6: Attach Drain Lines to the Softener

Various water softeners feature two drain pipes. Such lines are fitted at different points to drain water from different processes.
For instance, a drain line should be fitted on a control valve to get rid of the brine fed into the mineral tank in the regeneration procedure. Furthermore, a water softener unit should have another drain pipe on the brine chamber to get rid of the excess water that flows into that chamber to prevent an overflow.

Fit the drain pipes on those two outlets. After that, place the ends of the drain lines on a drainage point. Additionally, install air gap appliances on the connection points as this safeguard and protect your water softener from back-siphonage. The air gap fittings should be placed at a minimum height of 2 inches and secured with hose clamps to reduce the risk of any leakages.

Ensure that the drain lines are not too high off the ground – they should be above 8 feet.

Finally, ensure that the distance between the drainage point and the water softener is less than 30 feet.

Step 7: Pour Salt Pellets Into the Brine Tank

Check the manufacturer’s manual to gain an insight into the amount of water you should use when filling the brine tank. Pour clean water into the tank following the manufacturer’s guide, then add the right amount of salt pellets.

Step 8: Turn on the Valve of the Mains Water System

Use the bypass valve to turn on the ‘bypass’ feature, which lets water flow to your distribution pipes without getting into your softener.

Open the valve of the mains supply, then leave the taps on for a while to get rid of any dirt particles.

Step 9: Unlock the Bypass Valve Gently

Once you unlock the bypass valve and gently feed water into the softener, the air trapped in the pipes will come out, which may be quite noisy. It is normal, and there is no need for concern. The noise levels will start decreasing as more water flows into the softener. Wait for the noise to disappear, then unlock the valve completely.

Step 10: Countercheck the Different Parts

Once the valve is fully open, inspect each part of the water softener, especially around the valves, plumbing adapters and other plumbing fittings. Every part of the water softener should be connected correctly to the main unit.

Start Installing Your Water Softener

That’s all there is on how to install a water softener. Of course, if you require help, then get some professional advice.

The water softener installation project may seem initially overwhelming but, once you have familiarized yourself with its different parts and the various instruments, you will find that the installation process is quite easy. With a water softener in your home, you will see a significant decrease in the amount of scale buildup and enjoy the various benefits of soft water.

To summarise, find a suitable location to place your unit – your mains water system or under your kitchen sink are great choices. Then, make sure you turn off the mains system, the water heater, and the hot water system, and let all the water drain out of the pipes. Install your water softening unit and slowly reintroduce water into the system. Flush out any debris and carefully inspect your work for any leaks.

Let us know how you get on!

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