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Water Softener Service – Is Your Drain Line the Problem?

by Nov 17, 2011

pinched water softener drain line

Do you need water softener service, but are unsure what’s wrong?

You adjusted your softener settings, you made sure you have salt, but you still have problems like hard water, low pressure, or discolored water.

The source of your frustration may not actually be a wrong setting, or broken part.

Your softener might be a little “backed up”, and it could be a real problem. Here’s why:

Why Your Water Softener Needs a Drain

Water softeners remove hard water minerals, and to some degree, they also remove small amounts of dirt and debris from your water.

The hard minerals stick to little plastic resin beads, and the dirt settles and collects at the bottom of the tank.

After so many gallons have been treated, the softener needs to clean itself out, aka regenerate.

The softener uses salt to remove the hard mineral deposits built up inside the system.

But what about all that crud in the bottom of the tank?

This is where the softener drain line comes into play – You need a POWERFUL flush to get it out!

What Happens if the Softener Drain Line is Blocked?

If you were watering a plant, and someone steps on the hose you are using, what would happen?

The plant wouldn’t get much water.

Now think about your water softener. You need to flush out all the crud you’ve collected in the tank, but the drain line has collapsed. What was once a ½” line, is now ⅛”.

How is all that dirt and debris going to get out of the tank? Answer: It’s Not!

Over time, dirt and excess hardness and iron will begin to plug up your water softener resin. Once damaged, resin is very expensive to replace, and you end up with a huge water softener repair bill.

If a drain line becomes severely restricted, it can actually blow off the softener during regeneration and cause a massive flood!

Drain Line Best Practices

On water softener service calls in Minnesota, we find a wide variety of drain line material being used.

The industry standard is a ½” polypropylene drain line that is rigid, yet flexible.

Many of the Home Improvement Stores sell “Big Box Water Softeners” and “Installation Kits” to get them connected. The drain lines included in these kits are often made of a soft, squishy material that is similar to what you will find on a furnace condensate drain line.

This soft plastic material is usually clear or dark green in color, and you can easily pinch the line together with your fingers.

With the help of gravity, these “Big Box” drain lines will collapse after several years.

Hard plumbed water softener drain line

A better approach, is to use PVC or CPVC and hard-plumb the drain line. We often install softeners with hard-plumbed drain lines, and we ALWAYS use them on Iron Filters.

These drain lines don’t collapse on themselves, and they’re harder to knock off of the drain. They are a much better long term solution as they can easily last 25 years.

Do You Need Water Softener Service Because of a Bad Drain Line?

If you think you might have a bad drain line, or that it could have damaged your system, we offer a FREE SERVICE INSPECTION to help you determine if your system needs a repair. We can also be reached at (952) 479-4553 for more information.

About Premier Water

Premier Water is a local, family-owned water treatment company based in Chanhassen, MN. Since 1978, Premier Water has provided Award Winning Service for Residential and Commercial Water Softeners, Iron Filters, and Reverse Osmosis systems.

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