While maintaining a water softener is a relatively simple task (dumping a bag of salt into the brine tank about once a month really can’t be that difficult), the same cannot be said for when it comes to installing one. And botching the installation up isn’t something you can really afford, what with the high initial investment you made to just buy one.
Therefore, knowing exactly how to install a water softener before you pick up your tools is very important. And our water softener installation guide is just what you need to get started on this difficult task.
- Installing an Ion-exchange Water Softener
- A word of advice
- Installing water de-scalers
Installing an Ion-exchange Water Softener
Step 1 – Choosing the right place
The first thing you need to do is scout out a perfect spot for installing your water softener. When considering potential candidates for the spot, keep these three things in mind: access to the water mains & electricity, protection from the elements, and an easily installable drainage system.
Of these three, protection from the elements takes the highest priority, since this greatly affects how long you’ll be able to keep your water softener in running shape. Quite often, you’ll find the best place where you can keep your water softener protected from the elements is quite far off from your water main lines. It’ll be a bitter pill to swallow, but if it’s possible to connect your water softener through extensive plumbing in this scenario, then it’s what we recommend you do.
Even if you are forced to install your water softener outside the house, however, you should at least build a box around it so as to keep it safe, though this should only be done as a last resort. (learn more about how to maintain your water softener and keep it clean)
Step 2 – Creating a connection from the hard water mains and supplying water to the rest of the house
Now that you’ve chosen where you want to install your water softener it’s time to whip out those tools and start plumbing. The goal is to feed the water mains pipe coming to your house into the water softener and then delivering the water that comes out of the softener to the rest of the house. And to redirect the water like this, you need to cut off a section of the water mains pipe, before it branches off even once to deliver water to the separate parts of the house.
Start by switching off the water mains and letting the water in the pipe empty out. Cut off a large enough piece so as to fit the water softener in between the two open ends, and prepare the cut ends so they can join the water softener’s outlets. We highly recommend getting a plumber for this part of the task, especially if you need to redirect water from outside your house since the procedure can get fairly complex very quickly.
Step 3 – Attaching the water softener setup
Once the connection to the mains and the rest of the house is ready, connecting the water softener to these fittings should be pretty simple. Most water softeners are built to stand on their own, so you don’t need to worry about nailing the softener to a wall to keep it stable. Just attach the hard water mains to the hard water inlet on the softener, and the soft water outlet to the rest of the house, and you’re basically done.
Just be sure your connections are tight and secure though; you don’t want messy leaks when you switch on the mains to start getting soft water into your house.
Step 4 – Installing a discharge pipe
If you were smart about where you chose to install your water softener, you should already have a drain nearby to dump all the discharge water for when the softener rejuvenates itself every once in a while. Simply direct the discharge pipe that extends from the softener into the drain, holding it in place by fixing it to the wall if possible. If the drain is too far away for the pre-attached discharge pipe to reach, considering extending it with longer pieces of pipe, or collecting the water in a large bucket to be drained off at regular intervals.
Step 5 – Hooking up to an electrical outlet
Last but not least, you’ll need to hook your water softener up to an electrical outlet. This shouldn’t be too much of a hassle since the water softener already comes with a power cord that can easily fit in any standard household socket. You might have to use an extension wire to reach the nearest socket, but aside from that, you shouldn’t face any trouble completing this simple step.
A word of advice
While I myself am a strong advocate for doing things by yourself and not paying the unfairly high fees that professionals may sometimes charge you, in the case of water softeners, I must ask that you tread carefully. After all, no amount of surfing on the web will let you gain expertise equal to that of a seasoned professional, especially when it comes to plumbing. You might also find yourself struggling to finish the job with your lower quality tools, and unintentionally causing more problems than you set out to fix.
However, the biggest reason to call for professional help when installing a water softener is that these people know the best way to handle your task from start to finish. They’ll be able to tell which spot would be the best to install your water softener far better than you could have ever judged on your own, saving you a lot of trouble had you gone ahead and installed it yourself. They’d also frankly do a much cleaner job at installation, minimizing breaks and accidental damages that you would have been otherwise unable to avoid.
So, if you feel like installing a water softener yourself would be biting off more than you can chew, then we highly recommend you call professional help (for professional advice on what to look for when buying a water softener, click here).
Installing water de-scalers
Installing electronic water de-scalers
Unlike the ion-exchange water softener, installing an electronic water de-scaler is a very easy task, mostly because it doesn’t require any complicated plumbing setups. Just pick a good section to fix the device on, nail the electronic compartment to the wall, and plug the device into your household electric socket. It really can’t get simpler than that.
Installing TAC water conditioners/de-scalers
Since the TAC water conditioner resembles the ion-exchange water softener a lot in shape and structure, the process of installing the former is near identical to the latter in almost every aspect. The only real difference is that TAC water conditioners don’t use any electricity, so you don’t need to worry about that part when installing them.