If the water plumbed into your home is hard water, then it’s more than just a small nuisance. Hard water stains your soaking bathtubs, shower heads, and sinks. It also decreases the cleaning strength of your detergents. When you have hard water, calcium and lime scale deposits can form in your pipes and faucets which can also reduce the lifespan of your home’s hot water heater. To prevent these expensive problems, consider installing a water softening system in your home.
Here is a DIY guide for installing one.
Where Should You Put It?
If you’re just replacing an old softener, then go ahead and install your new one in the same location. If you don’t already have one, then install it in a place where it’s easy for you to tie it into your plumbing system. In most homes, this will be the basement, utility room or garage. It may be near the water heater. Give the system enough space for maintenance and servicing.
Avoid installing your water softener in a part of your home where the temperatures could drop to freezing levels. Doing so will damage the unit, and it will void out your warranty. Don’t install it in a place where it will be in direct sunlight. Also, install it indoors instead of outside.
What Hookups Will You Need?
Water softeners need a floor drain or a utility sink. Also, make sure that your water softener has access to an electrical receptacle, one that can manage the required amperage. Take a look at the manufacturer’s specifications for this information.
Connecting the Pipes
If you’re installing a water softener for your home’s entire water supply, then put it in before you install the hot water heater. This will decrease sediment build-up in the hot water heater. If excess sodium causes a health problem, you’ll want to bypass a few of the kitchen faucets that you use for drinking water like the kitchen sink. Salt-free water softening systems are available.
Plumbing the System
Most water softeners feature a bypass valve that you’ll need to assemble and connect to the unit. Along with this, some local plumbing codes will have a requirement that all softening systems are installed with shutoff valves that lead to and from your softening system to ensure that you can turn it off easy and fast.
Before installing the system, clean the area where you intend for it to go. Place it so that you can make easy measurements for the pipes that need to be connected. Notice how the unit is oriented, and make sure that the inlet is able to connect easily to the water supply pipe while the outlet is facing the water heater.
The next step is to shut off the water supply valves to the hot water heater as well as its power. Then, open the hose bibbs or bottom-floor faucets to drain the water out of the pipes. Cut into your home’s water supply line with a pipe cutter. This will make it possible for you to install elbow fittings, allowing you to run the bypass valve’s outlet ports and the two inlet lines.
Cut and install the bypass valve pipes. This is a DIY project, so you’ll need to solder the system’s nipples and fittings before connecting them to the bypass valve. Sometimes, the pipes are too big for the system. If this is the case, purchase a reduce fitting. The softener will come with compression fittings. Use them to connect the pipes to the unit.
Connecting the Unit
Fasten the drain hose to your new softener. Then, run the hose to a utility sink or drain. Make sure that the end of the hose is positioned at least 2 inches over the drain hold. Doing so prevents wastewater from back siphoning. Keep in mind that the size of the drain hose must be based on the run distance and height according to the inlet.
At this point, you’ll be ready to connect the brine tank’s overflow tube. When connecting it, make sure that the overflow’s discharge sits lower than the overflow attachment. Now, set the unit’s bypass valve to the proper position, and turn your home’s water back on, allowing the softener to operate for several minutes to get rid of any sediment and push out air that may be in the pipes. Along with this, open up the water heater valves and reactivate its power, or turn the unit’s gas valve back on. You many need to light the pilot light.
Shift the valve over to the “backwash” setting once you’ve plugged the unit into the power outlet. Then, press the “regenerate” button, and hold it until the valve moves to backwash. Open the unit’s inlet control a little. This will allow the air to release. Wait until the system runs through a cycle. Then, program the controls.
If you’re new to DIY installation projects, take a peek at a few YouTube videos. Seeing everything coming together is sure to encourage and inspire you to get going and take on your water softener installation project. Doing jobs like this saves money and is sure to increase your confidence.
- How to Install a Water Softening System in Your Home - October 9, 2018