The annoyances of hard water, like calcium buildup on faucets and spots on clean dishes, can be eliminated with the installation of a water softening device. Hard water contains excessive amounts of magnesium and calcium which water absorbs as it runs through aquifers. Water softeners replace the magnesium and calcium ions with sodium ions, which eliminates the problem of scaly buildup.
You will need some plumbing knowledge to install your own water softener. Some devices are programmable and others require salt, so carefully read the instructions before you begin your project.
Your water softener system should come with several pertinent parts:
- Bypass valves
- Copper caps
- Overflow or brine tank
You may need several of your own tools, if they were not included when you purchased the softening device:
- Plumbing risers
- Pipe cutters
- A copper tee (with branches)
- Plastic tubing
- Soldering iron
Before you begin, turn off the main water line since you will disconnect piping. Then, follow the steps below.
Step 1 - Fuse (or Solder) the Risers and Copper Caps.
Risers are vertical tubes made of metal or plastic that will help to prevent the connections from warping when fused with the copper caps. Use a soldering iron to do this.
Step 2 - Connect Plastic Tubing to the Water Softening Device.
The softening device comes with several fittings: draining, inlet and outlet fittings. (The inlet and outlet fittings are for hot and cold water.) Use plastic tubing to connect to the drain fitting and another piece of tubing to connect to the tank of the softening device itself. Ultimately, the plastic tubing will remove the excess calcium and magnesium from your water.
Step 3 - Connect the Bypass Valves.
Here, you'll need the bypass valves that came with the softening device. Connect the bypass valves directly to the inlet and outlet fittings of the device for your hot and cold water, and then tightly connect the copper caps and risers to the valves.
Step 4 - Use a Rubber Washer to Prevent Leaks.
Place a rubber washer or ring inside the inlet and outlet pipes before you feed the tubing from the device to your home pipes.
Step 5 - Move the Water Softening Device into Place.
Put the water softener where it will stay. Simply slide it where you want it to be, and leave yourself a few feet for working room.
Step 6 - Connect your Water.
First, drain as much water as possible from the piping system. Second, cut a portion of the main cold water supply pipe and route the ends so they face the softening device.
Step 7 - Connect your Copper Tee to the Supply Piping.
Connect the copper tee to the supply pipe and fuse it to the device's inlet fitting. Then, using a branch of the tee, connect the softening device's outlet fitting to the supply pipe. Fuse that connection, too.
Step 8 - Test the Softening Device.
Last but certainly not least, turn your water on to test the device. Tighten any leaks or loose fittings.
Water softening devices will vary in their installation, but the results are universal. You will have cleaner dishes and no scaly buildup.