By John Caloritis
Trouble Shooting a water softener begins with understanding and reacting to the symptoms found. Problems are often identified from water analyses. Water hardness is an indicator of performance, and should not exceed 1.0 ppm. Chloride or conductivity values are indicators of successful rinse protocols, and should not exceed those of the softener inlet values. While softener problems usually point to a brine problem, the exact source of the problem is not always obvious. Simple observations are sometimes very helpful. Examples include: brine tank salt level (is the volume dropping?), water meter readings (has the cycle been exceeded?), controller settings (is the unit going through the appropriate steps for the requisite period of time?).
All of the above presuppose that the unit was sized correctly for the load (has that changed at all?). For problems that are less obvious, the “go-to” evaluation is an “Elution Study. This is a more involved study that should be supported or completed by an industry expert. In this study the goal is to plot salt readings at defined intervals throughout an entire regeneration cycle. The results are graphed and the graphic output will point to potential areas of concern. More often than not, the unit is suffering from a brine concern (strength, flow rate, draw/loss of venturi, duration, etc.). The Elution study will shine a light on the broader issue and help focus on the more specific trouble shooting area(s) that require attention.
So if you have a water softener problem, reach out to your local Metro representative whose efforts will surely put you back on the right track.