Why is my water softener draining (Resolved)

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Written By John Roe Stephen

Water softeners remove minerals such as calcium and magnesium from hard water to convert it to soft water, which is more palatable for cooking and drinking.

However, water softeners are not meant to keep on draining all time. Instead, they are programmed to run only a few times. For instance, some people program their water softeners to run in the morning while others prefer the night.

Nonetheless, it is possible to hear the water softener constantly draining, which is not a good thing. If that is what has been causing you sleepless nights, this article will help you resolve a constantly draining water softener.

Does a water softener drain itself?

When water enters, it gets in contact with resins on the water softener. Since the resins are negatively charged, it attracts the calcium and magnesium ions found in the hard water since they are positively charged.

 After the magnesium and calcium ions have been drawn from the water, they are replaced by sodium ions which give the softening effect

The water softener should not drain itself constantly. Instead, it is programmed to drain at specific timelines.

Therefore, if it is constantly leaking, you need to check what the problem is.

How often should my water softener drain?

Maybe you have heard regular noise in the mechanical room as the water softener regenerates and wondered how regular the water softener should regenerate?

Generally, the water softener should drain at given timelines to keep the resin which absorbs the hardening components active.

Typically, the water softener should drain one or two times a day. However, there are several factors which determine how regular the water softener should drain:

  • The level of water hardness. Extremely hard water may require often draining
  • Amount of iron. Water with higher amounts of iron require often draining too
  • The amount of water used. Households with more occupants are likely to use large amounts of water, hence need frequent resins regeneration which implies more frequent draining

Why are the causes of constant water softener draining?

Power source interruption

Most water softeners are computer programmed on the cycles they should drain and when to stop.

In case of a blackout in your home, the water softener will get stuck on the cycle it was before the blackout.

For instance, if it is draining, then it will keep on draining because there is no command sent to stop it. In other words, the water softener keeps on draining until the computer power is restored.

You can set the system to a bypass mode to stop the water flow into the unit when this happens.

Electrical outlet controlled by a switch

If you have plugged the water softener in an electrical outlet controlled by a switch, you will have to control the water softener manually.

For example, if the switch is turned off when the water softener is regenerating, then the water softener will continue to drain until you switch the outlet on, which sends the signal to the computer to continue the next regeneration phase.

Malfunctioned computer

The water softener cycles are controlled by a computer. It is good to note that the computer is also prone to failures that a power surge or spike may cause.

As a result, if the computer malfunctions, it can no longer control the water softener. Actually, the water softener cannot change from the cycle it was when the computer failed. Thus, if it was draining, then it will keep on draining until the computer is repaired.

Hence, it is essential to check the water softener computer’s condition regularly.

The timer or drive motor is no longer functioning

Water softeners have drive motors which advance the internal piston, which controls the flow of water through the valves,

The motor is electric-powered, making it prone to the effects of an electrical surge.

Additionally, if there is extreme iron or hard water build-up in the system, the motor might be forced to work extremely hard, resulting in burnout and inefficient operations.

Due to the burnouts from an overworked motor or effects of power surges, the motor might stop working. Consequently, it can no longer control the water softener operations as expected. Therefore, it will not stop it from draining.

The water pressure is too high

The water softeners have seals which have a pressure limit they can handle.

Typically, they are designed to deal with mid-level and not too high water pressure. The too high water pressure causes the water to seep past the seals and continue draining.

Final words

Water softeners are computer-controlled and programmed to run at specific times. Typically, it is set to drain one or two times in a day, depending on several factors.

However, due to some reasons, the water softener might keep on draining. Some of these are a faulty computer or too high water pressure.

Additionally, the water softener will not change its cycle until the power is restored in case of a power loss. Thus, it would keep on draining if it was in the drain cycle.

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