This post by Gary the Water Guy discusses How to Winterize a Cottage Water Softener.
The only time you would need to think about winterizing your water softener is when you plan on shutting off all of the heat in a home or cottage over the winter and you're concerned about it freezing. Well unfortunately there is no way to keep a water softener from the damage caused by freezing without removing it and storing it in a warm place.
This is actually pretty simple to do if you have a water softener that is easy to bypass and disconnect like our water softeners with their Clack WS1 valves. Also, two piece water softeners are far easier to remove and drain than one piece units, so keep that in mind when investing in a water softener.
Once you have determined that your water softener can be easily disconnected for winter storage just follow the following procedure.
1) Put the water softener into a regeneration cycle and wait until you hear the unit backwashing water to the drain. Bypass the water softener.
2) Advance the water softener through the regeneration cycles until it gets back to the service or home position.
3) Unplug the water softener and disconnect the drain line, but be ready to catch some water flowing back from the drain line especially if it is over head.
4) Shut off the water from the pump and disconnect the water softener inlet and outlet from the household plumbing, be prepared to catch any water that will leak out.
5) Disconnect the brine line (the smaller tubing going to the brine tank) from the water softener and hold down to drain.
6) Lean water softener over a bucket to remove some of the water to make it easier to remove from your home. Then use a dolly to keep the softener reasonably upright while you move it outside. Once outside lay it down until it drains completely.
7) Remove any water that is above the salt in the brine tank and stir the rest of the water with the remaining salt. The salt content of the brine will keep it from freezing.
8) Drain the rest of the house hold plumbing. Be sure to open the bypass once all of the plumbing has drained.
When it comes time to re install your water softener in the spring, reverse the steps above and make sure there are 4-5 gallons of water in with the salt. Once everything is assembled, bypass the water softener before turning the water back on, then put the water softener into backwash mode and slowly refill the water softener by partially opening the bypass inlet until you see water flowing to the drain from the drain line. Advance the valve through the regeneration cycles until you get to the service position.
Open a faucet and let water run to drain to remove air, etc. Check for leaks. Then start a complete regeneration cycle until finished and your water softener is back in service.
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