How to Restore Your Water Softener's Performance by Cleaning the Media

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What do you do if you have an older water softener that just doesn't seem to be doing the job any more? You can call in a water treatment specialist to check over your system, and pay for a service call, but before you do, why not clean the media yourself?

The media inside the, you guessed it, media tank is what does all of the work to soften your water. In time the media can get fouled and using a media cleaner can restore the media's performance almost to when it was new. If you are on a municipal water supply, a product like Res Care Water Softener Cleaner will work for you. Use one half cup for every 1 cubic foot of media (most softeners are 1 cubic foot). Pour the Res Care directly into the brine well and then regenerate the water softener two times, one right after the other and performance should be restored. Then run water at the faucet nearest the water softener until water tastes, smells and looks normal. If this doesn't restore the performance of your water softener, give it a couple of weeks and follow the same procedure again. Following the above procedure once a year should keep your media bed from fouling.

If you have iron in your water, a better choice would be a product like this Rust Out Water Softener Iron Remover. Dissolve 1 cup Rust Out into 1/2 gallon of water and pour directly into the brine well and regenerate twice. Again, run the tap nearest the water softener afterward until the water returns to normal. Following the above procedure twice a year will keep your water softener from becoming iron fouled in the future.

With a Tannin filter, the procedure is similar but the cleaner is different. You need to dissolve 1 cup of Citric Acid Tannin Filter Cleaner into 1/2 gallon of water before pouring into your brine well and regenerating twice. Then flush until taste and colour return to normal. Repeat annually for peak performance.

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  • Gary Beutler