Softener location – What do I need to know?
You’ve done your homework
You’ve tested you water and consulted a professional and determined you need to treat for hard water. You’ve checked with your local health department for any rules on dealing with salty waste water. You’ve also checked to see if salt softeners are banned and cleared those hurdles. You know you want a salt softener to fix up your water. Now it’s time to figure out where exactly is the best softener location.
What do I need to know for a great softener location?
When considering the best salt softener location there are a few important things to keep in mind. First, it needs to be installed near the water line carrying the water to soften. Other important softener location considerations are; it has to have a firm level surface for proper equipment support and it also needs to be protection to prevent freezing, direct water spray and direct sunlight.
Softeners produce a salty waste stream that needs to be piped off somewhere, they need a drain to capture the salty waste and carry it away. It is important to make sure the backwash drain line is installed with a proper airgap. The purpose of an airgap is to prevent cross contamination with sewer waste. Whether the softener will be draining into the sewer or septic line or even onto the ground please be sure to use a proper airgap. It is advised you consult a licensed plumber with any questions.
If you live in an area where it freezes you must protect the waste drain line from freezing. A frozen drain line prevents softeners from regenerating but the system itself will not know it did not regenerate. It will simply go through he motions and return to service. Eventually, capacity for hardness removal will be exhausted and you will be faced with figuring out why your water is not soft and how to fix the problem.
Nearly all softeners use a small amount of electricity to run the system control(s). They don’t use much power and can be plugged into a normal wall outlet but they do need to be located near power.
As far as how much space is required, it all depends upon the system size. A typical softener will fit an area about 3 feet by 1.5 feet. Height will be between 5 and 6 feet high. Additional space is required for salt storage and room to stand and work around the softener.
Softeners require salt to work. Because softeners need salt it is important to consider locating the softener where it will be easy to haul and store salt and fill the brine (salt) tank. If you thinking about locating your softener in a well house be prepared. A softener in the well house might mean hauling heavy salt bags long distances through all sorts of inclement weather, darkness and perhaps mud or snow in the winter and spring.
Most softener salt comes in 40 pound bags and a typical residential brine tank holds 6 to 8 bags. An average salt softener will use about 30 bags or 1,200 pounds of salt per year. The amount of salt will vary with water hardness, volume of water treated and softener settings.
During regeneration all softeners make noise as gears turn, pistons move and water flows. Consider noise because salt softeners usually regenerate at night (2:00 AM). The fact they make noise during regeneration may be an important consideration especially if a bedroom is nearby the softener location under consideration.
What to do if you can’t find a good softener location
As an option to the typical salt softener consider addressing all hard water problems with Cascadian® PolyHalt® which does not require salt, power or a drain, is smaller sized and does not require floor space because it hangs on the wall and maintenance is simply annual filter replacement.