How to Clean the Brine Tank of a Water Softener

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Cleaning the brine from a water softener brine tank means initially checking to see if the water levels are low. Find out how to use a broom handle to break up salt residue with help from a master plumber in this free video on water softeners.

Part of the Video Series: Water Softeners
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Video Transcript

There may come a time when you need to clean the brine from your water softener brine tank. Typically the first thing that you do, is make sure that your levels of salt are low, because you don't want to a lot to clean out. Make sure the water level is low, there's a time to do it, when you do it, that's the first thing you need to look for. It's not something that you necessarily have to have a time frame for, once a year, that's what I do it with my own. The first thing we do is, open the tank lid, just set it aside. The next thing we do is, obviously look in to see what we've got. Sometimes you'll have a salt residue at the bottom, that's kind of there. What I usually do first and foremost on that, is get just a broom handle and kind of just stir it around, knock it around. Sometimes it's soupy and you don't have to worry about that. Many different times you have to break up the salt at the bottom, it's like one solid brick and it creates sometimes what's called a salt bridge. Which will meet, sometimes be an air gap which will make your water softener not work as well. What I usually do is get a broom handle as you can see, something similar to this, something not too aggressive or sharp or heavy or anything like that. And I get kind of a reference point on the outside of the brine tank on how deep this is. Sometimes you can make a mark on it, put some tape, whatever you'd like to do, or just use your thumb. And I'll kind of dip down in here and stir around and just break things up and make sure I'm not getting too far. What you don't ant to do, is get too aggressive and punch against the side of the tank really hard, because you can't break the brine tank. And that leaves you starting over with the brine tank. So what we do is, just kind of break it, break it all up, stir it all up, make sure you're down at your bottom with your reference point, kind of all the way around. And then you move on to your next step. This is the float and what this does is give a water level inside of the brine tank, for when your salt's in here. So it basically works kind of like the float valve on your toilet. Once it gets to a certain level, its' hard for me to reach in there to describe it, but it lifts up a float and it stops the water flow coming in here. That actually creates the brine that will later be sucked into your resin to do your regeneration for your system. So it's basically a little float valve in there that turns the water off and on as it makes your brine. O.k., there's no real, simple, easy way to do this, it's kind of basic. What we do is, we vacuum out the bottom of the brine tank. We're looking to just get it pretty much cleaned up from what it is and kind of go from there. If you feel more comfortable wiping it down when you're done, you can do so. Then the last thing you do, after you get that vacuum, is you go ahead and grab your towel and wipe it down. Sometimes what I'll do is, get a little bit of a damp rag and just wipe the sides you know, if you've got it all open and everything you'd like, go ahead and get it cleaned up. So just do that, get that done and there you have that.

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