Installing a water softener can be a challenging process but is definitely doable for anyone that is significantly handy and has a selection of basic tools. Through this next section we’ll go over the basics of home water softener installation to help educate you on what you’re getting yourself into if you do end up deciding to do the installation yourself instead of calling your local plumber. You’ll need to rely on the manufactures instructions for things that are specific to your softener. Installing yourself will help you save money and learn something new!
Pick the Right Water Softener System
Believe it or not, picking the right water softener system can be one of the more time consuming tasks of the install process. Since there are so many different brands and types of water softeners it can be very time consuming to actually make the final decision on which unit best suites you and your household.
There are some key features and specs to look for when choosing your water softener, the first being grain capacity. Grain capacity is the maximum grains of water hardness the water softener system can remove before it needs to regenerate. So, the larger your household, the larger your grain capacity should be. The actual physical size of the unit is another important thing to factor in when choosing your unit. If you do not have much space and need something more compact, there are all different shapes and sizes. An important feature for me personally is a digital monitor. This will learn your water usage habits and perform the regeneration process during your sleep hours, whether its at 3am or 3pm.
Find the Right Location in Your House
Being strategic when finding the right location for your new unit is important. Installing it in the wrong place could leave you seriously frustrated and require relocation and reinstall of the unit. So do yourself a favor and really take the time to decide which spot is best in your home.
The perfect spot should be out of the way, near existing plumbing, nearby an outlet and have a good spot to drain like a utility sink or an exit pipe. Most of the time this is right next to your water heater. It is very important to install your new unit inline before your water heater. If you live in an area where the temperature gets below freezing, make sure to install it indoors and not in the garage where it will be exposed to freezing temperatures. This will cause permanent damage to your water softener. Once you’ve found the perfect spot you new water softener system it is time to move to the actual install of the unit!
Install the Bypass Valve
If you’re unsure of what the bypass valve does, it is a very simple concept and is actually described in the name itself. It is simply a valve that bypasses the water softening system. Told you it was simple! A bypass valve is strongly recommended when installing a new water softening unit. The bypass valve is very important when it comes time to service the unit. Without a bypass valve servicing the unit can be very time consuming and require unnecessary plumbing that could have easily been avoided. The bypass valve also comes in very hand when you have to use a large quantity of water that does not need to be softened. This will save you from wasting large quantities of softened water!
Connect the Water Supply
This is pretty obvious step by can be the hardest part of the installation process. You will first need to shut off your homes water supply for obvious reasons. Once the water is shut off you’ll need to turn on a few faucets on your lowest floor or basement to relieve the water pressure. Once the faucets are done draining you’ll need to cut a section of pipe out from your homes water supply. The size of this section will vary depending on your unit. Cutting out the pipe section will give you room to add the necessary fittings for the installation of your new unit. Once you have the proper fitting in place, connect your water line into the inlet and outlet your water softening unit.
Connect the Drainage Line
Your new water softener will need to be connected to a drain or utility sink. The Drainage line will play an important role when it comes to the regeneration process as well as provide proper drainage for backwash from your softener. You’ll want to follow the instructions that come from the manufacturer to properly perform this step.
Start it Up!
Now that your new water softener unit is installed, it is time to start it up! First, turn on your homes water supply and inspect for leaks in the joint and connectors involved in the installation. Once you’re done with the inspection, it’s time to plug the unit it to an outlet and turn it on. Before you begin using your new water softener you will need to start the regeneration process as well as sanitize the tank. This step is process is unique to different brands and manufactures.
This project is generally a little more complicated than your normal DIY project but definitely can still be performed by someone who is pretty handy. As always, if you’re unsure of your abilities, it is best to call a plumber to ensure the job is done right.