How to Drain and Clean a Water Softener

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Like every machine, water softeners need to be cleaned and drained, but the best thing here is water softener maintenance should be done only once a year. It would not be wrong if we say that a water softener requires low maintenance. But water softener drainage and maintenance increase the longevity and performance of your water softener.

If you have landed here with a query in mind that how to clean a water softener tank, then believe me; you are at the right place.

Cleaning and maintaining water softeners is not a big and tough deal. A simple homemaker like you can even do this. If you are eager to learn more about how to drain and clean a water softener, just scroll down, you will get to know more about it.

How to Clean Water Softener Salt Tank?

A Salt tank, also known as a brine tank is a place where a highly concentrated solution of salt or potassium is stored. This concentrated solution is called brine solution which flushes the mineral rank and recharges the resin beads. With time, the brine tank has to be replenished with salt or potassium.

A water softener has to be cleaned every year. But if on some days of the year you find discolored or smelly water with some increase in hardness, then it’s time to clean your water softener salt tank.

So before cleaning the brine tank, it has to be drained first. Ideally, the best time to clean the brine tank is when it has no salt in it. This way you won’t have to scoop the salt by your hand. Otherwise, water softener drainage is the next option. 

Cleaning a water softener tank will mean that you can’t drink the water from the faucet during a manual regeneration cycle. This is because of using bleach carefully and keeping it at 50-100 PPM as not damaging any resin beads, but enough to kill bacteria that may have been growing inside either tank.

Be careful with bleach. If there is too much bleach, it will make the beads stop working.

Step 1 – Choosing the Correct Cleaning Solution

Different cleaners are used for different types of water softener tanks. It depends what minerals are in the water.

You may need to search for your owner’s manual or find information about your specific type and brand.

Step 2 – Pouring the Solution into Tank

To make your cleaning the best, you should use the right amount of cleaner. Too much or too little could lead to a less clean house.

Read the instructions on your cleaning product. It will tell you how much of that cleaning solution to use. You can also adjust it to your tank size, as it may be different than mine.

You will need to add the solution to a brine tank. If you do not have a brine tank, you can pour it into your salt tank. Be careful because this could damage the salt in your tank. You should only do this when it is time to refill your salt.

Step 3 – Flushing the Debris

Find the valve that controls the unit and change it to the regeneration mode. This will help get dirt out of your tank. When you turn on your system, it will do this automatically.

Do this process twice to get a cleaner tank. The first time, some of the mineral build-ups may still be in the tank. If there are more, do it once more and then move on to the next step.

Step 4 – Switching Back to Normal Mode

Go to your control valve again. Turn the tank back on to normal settings. Run tap water through the tank to wash any cleaning solution out of it.

Where to Drain Water Softener:

Remember, never ever drain the brine solution on the grass or lawn, as it will cause damage to your grass and lawn plants. The best location to drain salt solution is in a washing machine, or a utility sink, or in the bathtub. Read on to know how to drain brine tank on water softener.

Cleaning Brine Tank:

  1. Once all solutions have drained, now take out the remaining salt with the help of a shovel and discard it. Make sure not to hurt the walls of the brine tank with the shovel.
  2. If there is a stubborn block of salt in the salt tank that is not willing to say goodbye to the brine tank, then it’s time to use warm water. Warm water will loosen this stubborn salt block and you can easily get rid of it. Technically this salt block is also called the salt bridge.
  3. Majority of the brine tanks have brine grid, which is a simple screen at the bottom of the brine tank. A brine grid is used to support salt above the portion of the concentrated brine solution. If your tank has a brine grid, simply pull it out.
  4. Make a soap mixture by mixing few tablespoons of dishwashing liquid into 1-2 gallons of water. Now use this water to scrub and rinse the interior of the brine tank. For this purpose, you can use a long-handled brush. Dump well and rinse with water.
  5. Now use 2-3 gallons of clean water and mix it with a quarter cup of household bleach. Pour this mixture into the tank and let it sit for 15 minutes. Scrub it with a long-handled brush and chlorine water,
  6. Dump and rinse with clean water.
  7. Put the brine tank at its actual place and Connect all the hoses and lines.
  8. Pour five gallons of clean water into the brine tank.
  9. The last step; add water softening salt to the brine tank. Make sure that the salt should not be less than two bags of 50 lbs. for best result; keep the salt tank at least a quarter fill. Never fill salt to the very top of the brine tank. Always leave about 7 inches of space below the rim of the tank.
  10. Now set the regeneration cycle for the coming night.

How to Clean Water Softener Resin Beads:

The resin tank is the place where the actual water softening procedure is done. So there are chances of calcium and magnesium buildup along with other minerals. This buildup serves as a hindrance in the water softening process. Therefore, the resin bed needs to be cleaned properly at regular intervals.

The best time to clean resin beads is when the salt level is low. This is the ideal time as you won’t have to struggle with unloading a massive amount of salt.

If you experienced increased hardness in your water, then the water softener resin beads have to be cleaned. For this purpose, there are some specialized resin bed cleaners available in the market which will remove the calcium, magnesium, and other mineral buildups from the resin bed. Besides this, it will restore the softening capacity of your softener and increase the life of the resin bed. Check out the Best water softener cleaner for giving a spa-treatment to resin bed. you can use this method to clean water whirlpool water softener too.

Water softeners help clean the water. They are good for us because they make it safe. If you want fresh, clean water, you need to take care of the resin tank. It needs to be cleaned and made new.

How To Clean A Water Softener:

When it comes to obtaining excellent or brownish-gray iron water, cleaning a water softener’s resin tank might make all the difference. So, how do you go about cleaning it properly?

You should clean your water softener when the salt is running low. You can unplug it or drain and refill it.

To get rid of the iron from your water softener, you can purchase something at the store. Follow the instructions on the package.

If you do not clean your water softener when it is running low, you will have to follow these steps.

1. Turn off and unplug the water softener

2. Empty out the tank, including any salt that it may have as well

3 Add in a bleach solution or an iron removing cleaner with the same instructions as to when salt is low

To Sump Up!

Cleaning and draining water softeners is an easy process that improves the performance of water softeners. Brine tank and resin beads both are equally important for the water softening process. Therefore, both have to be cleaned and maintained regularly.

Also, keep an eye on salt bridges; they can be removed easily with the help of a shovel.

Remember, maintenance and cleanliness give life to machinery and equipment. Don’t neglect them. 

What Can I use to Clean My Water Softener?

You can use many things to clean your water softener. You can use vinegar water, bleach water, dish soap water, or a special cleaner you buy from the store. To scrub inside the tank(s) you can use sponges or cloths that are gentle and will not scratch up the inside of the tank.

Can I Put Bleach In My Water Softener?

Yes, you can put bleach in your water softener. But you need to be careful about how much bleach you put in and when. Make sure that the water has been running for a little while before adding the bleach.

The maximum concentration of bleach that you can use in the combination is 100 PPM, which means one teaspoon for each gallon of water.

Will Bleach Hurt A Water Softener?

Bleach will not hurt the water softener if you use a little of it. If too much bleach is put into the water softener, it can permanently damage the resin bed and make it stop working. Bleach within 50-100 parts per million (PPM) will do better for our system when properly used. Chlorine will also do better by being at a lower level in the water.

If someone is worried about damaging the water softener, they could use bleach with 50 PPM per gallon.

Can I Put Vinegar in My Water Softener?

Yes, you can put vinegar in the water softener. You will follow the same rules as with bleach when using it to clean the water softener. This is because vinegar can damage the beads of resin in the water softener if you use too much of it (more than a tablespoon per gallon). By using less than a tablespoon of vinegar per gallon of water, no resin beads will be damaged in the water softener during a cleaning regeneration cycle.

The advantage of using vinegar rather than bleach is that vinegar is safe for humans to consume, so there’s no need to repeat the process with bleach.

How Do I Drain A Water Softener Resin Tank?

There are two ways to drain a resin tank. The first is to go through a regeneration cycle which will flush out any minerals that were in the tank. It is easier and takes less time, but you may not be able to clean as well as you would like. The second way is more work and takes more time, but you can access the tank and clean it better than if it was just on its own with water or without power.

How to drain a water softener?

Turn it upside down to drain out the water. Near a floor drain, place a 2-inch thick board on the ground. The softener should be positioned near the floor drain. Laying the softener over until the tank rim rests on the wood board with the inlet and outlet over the drain is a slow, careful process.

What do I do if my water softener is full of water?

Water flows in and out through the holes between the salt blocks. If the tank at the bottom is clogged, less water can enter, absorb salt, and then flow back out. It’s time to clean your tank if this is what’s causing it.

Can you drain the water softener into the ground?

Yes, if the total drop from the softener to the air gap is more than 4 feet. Yes (to allow excess water to drain readily so that it does not freeze).

Do you need a drain for water softener?

All water softeners do not require a drain, but those that do not function more like filters than softeners do. Water softeners will require a drain, and with that comes specific rules and restrictions regarding how drains and drain lines can be built. Some places will allow sewage to be discharged into septic systems; others will not.

Why won’t my water softener stop draining?

A blocked drain line/control, injector/venturi, or brine line/valve might be the cause. It’s also doable that the valve assembly in the salt tank is unable to pivot or that your house’s water pressure is too low (check and adjust as needed). Any obstructions must be dealt with.

Can I drain my water softener into my sump pump?

Manufacturers of sump pumps advise against using sump pits to remove the brine from the water softener. Furthermore, discharging brine from the water softener into a sump basin frequently voids the warranty on the sump pump.

How many gallons does a water softener discharge?

While a water conditioner discharges between 50 and 100 gallons of water at once, this is less than what would be discharged by a washing machine on its own. Before installing a water softener, you must first measure the size of the soil absorption area.

Is the brine tank supposed to be full of water?

It’s best to keep your water softener salt in the brine tank at least one-quarter full of water and no more than four to six inches below the top.

How often does a water softener drain?

Every two to three days is a good rule of thumb, but highly efficient softeners may generate daily or on multiple occasions. The hardness of your water is one of several things that influence when your water softener needs to be recharged.

Can you drain the water softener into the washing machine drain?

The garage is where you’ll typically find a water softener. They may also be found in the basement or the laundry room. It aids in the access of house drainage plumbing. Yes, a water softener drain may be inserted into your washing machine drain.

How long can a water softener discharge line be?

Water softener drain line routing: Keep the water softener drain pipe as short and low as feasible. The drain line must have a sufficient diameter to handle the backwash flow rate of the water conditioner.

Where does your washer drain?

A standpipe is a name given to the portion of a washing machine’s drain that connects to its stand. A standpipe is a vertical tube with an elbow at the bottom. The end of the pipe where it has an elbow remains filled with water, keeping sewer gas from entering your laundry room.

What size is the water softener drain line?

The typical drain line size is a 0.5″ polypropylene pipe that is both rigid and flexible. Many Home Improvement Stores provide “Big Box Water Softeners” and “Installation Kits” to assist with the installation.

Is the water softener drain pressurized?

A softener unit can produce enough pressure on its own to push waste 20 feet away. Yes, it could be sent down the drain of a washing machine drain standpipe. Because the flexible plastic drain line will be under much tension, make sure it’s firmly in place.

Can you install a water softener without a drain?

You may use a water softener without a floor drain if you put the discharge into a sink or washtub. The example I observed had the softener fed into a fiberglass washbasin, which became very dirty during the process. There was also a splash, and it splattered (being salty), leaving white stains all over the place.

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