How to Install a Water Softener

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The process of installing a water softener is one that is usually reserved for contractors to do, but a particularly handy man may be able to do it on his own. Find out how to work with water lines and valves when putting in a water softener with help from a master plumber in this free video on installing water softeners.

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Video Transcript

When living in an area with hard water, you're probably going to want to install a water softener. This is a task that typically you want a contractor to do for you, it's not something that a homeowner necessarily drops off and does his own. But some guys are handy enough, where you can do it. What we'll do is, talk about the process today and kind of go over how things work. A lot of these houses here in Arizona, particularly will have this water loop that comes out through here, not including this. This water loop is basically your main water coming in to the house itself, running out in the loop and then running back in and tying in before it goes to any of the outside appliances, the sinks, the water heater, things along those lines. Some houses do not come with a loop built up like this. What you'll need to do in that case is, have somebody do either a locate for you or have one of your local contractors come out, give you an idea where that might be. It's never an impossible task, just sometimes it takes a little more than other places. Here we have a loop that's already built in, so what we do, is we come in, shut the water off to the house, is our first thing. Make sure that we don't have any power to anything in where we're at, because safety is first, without a doubt. So we come, we go ahead and cut the lines after we depressurize it, make sure the water is off. Solder a few fittings on here, solder into our bypass valve which is this valve here, every unit comes with one. Some of them are different configurations than others but this is a bypass valve. We solder into the bypass valve and we solder out. A lot of them have these flexible lines with these fittings here that are just simple. You just simply tighten them on to the fittings themselves, off of the male adapters, and these are female flexible lines that come in. This is a real easy system in process to do, once you get it out of the wall because it gives you kind of some range of place to where to put the thing itself. Once all that's installed, what you do is, you go ahead and you put the system in bypass. The next thing that we do past that, is turn the water softener into it's regeneration mode. And then you go ahead and you put the bypass off. And what this does, is it starts the by, it starts the process of the water softener by taking the water, putting the brine, the water solution into the brine and then pulling it back off and doing your initial cleaning on your beads. Some manufacturers recommend you do this a couple of times before you actually put the unit in service. After doing that and taking your time in making sure that all your drain works, that nothing else leaks, you've got no drips, no problems anywhere. Go ahead and plug your system in, do that, make sure that your drain is draining out the outside like you're supposed to or whatever drain it's going to without leaks, and put the thing in service. Once that's done, all you do is set the time on the unit itself and let it go. This system is a separate resin tank and brine tank system. It's pretty typical when you have more than three bathrooms, you'll see this kind of a system because of the high flow rate that water comes through. Flow rate is something we need to talk about when selecting one of these units. This is a larger system for this home because it's got this separate brine tank and this separate resin tank. A lot of these systems are, the tank, this resin tank will sit inside the brine tank and it looks like a little cabinet that sits up against the wall. The systems are very similar, they do exactly the same thing. The only thing is that this one handles a little more water than your standard cabinet type system. Typically when we set up a system like this, we like to see it on a concrete floor in a garage or in a mechanical room. This one has a dip in the floor just like this because it has a drain going out the other side that's kind of behind this, we can't really see it back here. But it, what it does is, it will hold the water and retain the water just in case a leak happens and that you don't damage the home. This is the drain coming out of the unit, what it does is, this goes into the wall and it goes to the outside of the house and drains to the outside of the house, on to the ground. Something you want to be aware of, is that when you're using salt, if you have this draining to the outside of the house, you don't want it where anything grows. Because salt will kill your plants, there's no getting around that. Another system that you can use in this is Potassium, Potassium is more friendly than salt itself, just because of the chemical breakdown in it. What it comes in, is pellets instead of a salt, crushed up salt looking thing. And what it does, is it goes through your system without creating the whole salt brine mixture that you have in there. And it's much more environmentally friendly when it comes to septic systems, it won't kill your bacteria and nose. And sometimes there's, I've heard people talk that there's a taste difference. And it does the same thing, you just use a little bit more of it and it's a little more expensive. But if you've got plants and stuff, please use that instead, because otherwise you'll end up with a problem and killing your plants.

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