So you’re fed up with your hard water issues, and you’re looking to get a water softener to solve all your calcium and magnesium problems. You’ve done your research, and you’ve found the water softener system that’s perfect for all your household needs. The next step is to install the water softener.
To install the water softener yourself or not to install the water softener yourself, that is the question.
To make an informed choice about whether or not to hire a professional to install your water softener system, check out the complete process below!
Where to Install the Water Softener
- Location. Ideally, the water softener should be located where it’s easy to tie into the plumbing system, but out of the way. Usually, these locations include the basement, garage, utility room, or near the water heater. Make sure there is enough space around the water softener just in case you need to do any maintenance work on the softener in the future. The softener should NOT be located in an area that is prone to freezing temperatures. Cold weather will cause permanent damage and void your warranty. If the softener is located in an area that gets below 4 degrees Celsius, protect the device by draining the system to relieve the pressure. Also, your softener should not be located in direct sunlight or outdoors.
- Hookups. Your new water softener will need a drain which can be in the form of a utility sink or floor drain. The device will also need to be near an electrical outlet that is not controlled by a switch. Make sure this outlet has the appropriate amperage.
- Where to Connect. If you want to soften your household’s entire water supply, then installing the softener before the water reaches the water heater is a great option. This will help deter sediment buildup in the water heater from hard water. However, if you are installing a sodium-based water softener and want to reduce the sodium in your diet, then you will want to bypass certain faucets in your household to allow for hard water, usually the kitchen sink.
Detailed Directions on Water Softener Installation
- Clean the area. Place the water softener where you want to install it so you can measure the connecting pipes. Make sure the unit is oriented correctly and that the inlet will be attached to the water supply and the outlet is where you want the soft water to flow to. Clean and sweep the area around the proposed location of the water softener.
- Shut off water supply valves. Turn off the power to the water heater as well as the water supply. Locate and open a couple of the bottom-floor faucets or hose bibs to drain the residual water from the pipes.
- Cut into the water supply line. Use a pipe cutter to install elbow fittings so you connect two lines to the inlet and outlet ports. Make sure you are paying attention to the correct inlet and outlet orientation. Install a T fitting to the softener and run it to the outlet, if you are using a hose bib to carry hard water.
- Cut and install pipes. Solder all fittings and nipples on the pipes before attaching them to the plastic bypass valves. If you need to, use a reduce fitting to install pipes of different sizes. Make sure to use the compression fittings that come with the softener to attach the pipes to the softener. For homes that requires plumbing for safe grounding, then install a jumper across the pipes of the water softener.
- Clamp the drain hose to the device. Run it to the drain of your choice, whether it’s a floor drain or a utility sink. Make sure the end of the hose is at least 2 inches above the drain hole so there is no back siphoning of waste water. This hose should be clamped securely. Make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions on drain hose size according to the distance of its run and the its height in relations to the inlet.
- Connect the brine tank’s overflow tube. The overflow fitting must be positioned higher than the overflow’s discharge. Please follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Set the bypass valve to the “bypass”position. Turn the water on to run through the softener for a few minutes, flushing out any sediment and expelling air in the pipes. Restore the power in the water heater and open the valves for water. If the pilot went out, relight it. Check for any possible leaks.
- Plug in the water softener and set the bypass valve to “backwash” position. Press and hold the “regenerate” button until the valve indicates “backwash.” To stop the process before advancing any further, unplug the machine.
- Open the inlet control on the bypass valve slowly and only to partially open it. This will get rid of any built up air. Once you see the water flowing steadily into the drain and stops sputtering, you can open the inlet and outlet bypass controls full. Fill the tank with water and salt, as indicated by the manufacturer.
- Plug in the power cord. Press the “regenerate” button, and let the device cycle to the following stage. Repeat until “service” setting is reach.
- Finally, program the controls.
And there you have it! Now you can make an informed decision whether you should hire a professional to install your water softener system or to do it yourself!