Water Softeners are the most efficient way to deal with the problem of hard water, and with hard water problems becoming increasingly common, the use of water softeners has also increased. With this increase in the number of water softeners, there has also been a reported increase in cases of low water pressure in homes where water softeners are installed. In some cases, the problem is sudden, with the situation manifesting with any prior indication, and in some cases, it is a gradual process with the water pressure lowering with time. While there is a possibility that the problem is caused by your water softener system, there are also other reasons why your water pressure is low, and before taking any drastic action, it is important to at least rule out some of the other possibilities.
Popular causes of low water pressure
As mentioned earlier, there are several reasons why your water pressure level is low, and some of these reasons are common occurrences and with the right knowledge, they can be rectified or avoided altogether. Some of these reasons include:
The shut on/off valve is not fully opened:
The water into your home is regulated by a central valve located somewhere outside the home. The valve controls a mechanism that can shut off, or turn on the water into the house. The valve can also regulate the amount of water that flows into the home, and in a situation where the valve is not opened fully, it may cause the water pressure to be low. If you have used this valve to recently stop the flow of water and you turned it back on to discover that the water pressure in your home is low, then it is possible that the valve is not fully opened. In some cases, it can be accidentally turned by playing children, or pets as they move about, and if this is the case, you simply have to turn the valve open to the end, and this will increase the amount of water flowing into the house, thus increasing the water pressure.
A faulty pressure regulator:
Most water delivery systems are equipped with pressure regulators, and the pressure regulator controls the pressure level of the water flowing into the house. When a regulator is faulty, it can create several problems for the water pressure in the house. The water pressure regulator ensures that the amount of water flowing through your pipes is just the right amount to ensure that there is no damage to your pipes caused by water pressure. When the water pressure regulator is faulty, it causes the water pressure to drop and as such, the amount of water delivered to the house will be in little quantities, or there will be no supply to the house.
The plumbing is responsible for the distribution of water throughout the home. Plumbing pipes can be made of plastic or metal. Metal pipes are not used as frequently anymore, but they are found in older plumbing systems and in cases where you move into a home with plumbing already installed, this can be the case. Metals can rust with time, without the proper care and when used as pipes, with a lot of water flowing through them daily, they can rust very easily. When rust sets into metal pipes, it can cause the pipes to leak, or break in certain locations, providing an exit for the water, causing little water to be delivered to the home, and causing low water pressure in the home.
Backed-up supply pipes:
When your supply pipes are clogged, there is a reducing effect on the water pressure in the home. When there are particles present in the pipe, such as sand particles or some other strange particle present in the pipes, it can cause accumulation and block the flow of water, through the pipes and into the home. It can result in a reduced flow of water or can even cut off the flow of water into the home entirely.
Bad water dispensing outlets:
Even when there are no problems involving the water supply to the home, you can still have low water pressure if your taps are damaged. The damaged taps will not produce the amount of water it is supposed to and as such, you may believe that you have low water pressure in your home when all you have to do is change your taps, and you will have regular water pressure again.
You need to rule out all these other possibilities before considering the idea that your water softener is the cause of your low water pressure, as it will probably be best if one of these options is the cause, and it will likely cost less to fix. You also need to verify that it isn’t a problem from your water distributor, as that is also a viable possibility.
How water softeners bring about low water pressure?
If your water pressure is low and you have recently installed a water softener, or you have verified that other causes are not responsible, then it may be your water softener causing your low water pressure. If this is the case, it is important to know how the problem originated, so you can effectively handle it. Here are some of the ways, through which your water softener can be causing low water pressure:
A particle filter is blocked:
Hard water is often littered with particles and to this end, many water softeners are designed with a particle filter to trap all particles trapped in the water. When such a process continues, the particles will continue to accumulate in the filter until the path is heavily covered or blocked, and as such will cause low water pressure or will stop the flow of water altogether causing concern.
A blocked resin bed:
Some of the particles that have been filtered from the water, can sometimes escape the water filter and find itself in the resin bed. In some cases, it can be an iron build-up that causes the accumulation, and regardless of what causes it, the outcome of the accumulation is the same, it blocks the route of water flow and in turn, reduces water pressure.
Resin particles in the supply line:
When your resin bank gets filled and is not replaced on time, it can cause the tank to break open and the pieces of the tank will flow with the water and into the water supply channels of the house. The particles will eventually collect in a particular location in the supply pipe and cause a blockage, reducing the amount of water flowing into the home, thus creating low water pressure, and in extreme cases, hinder the flow of water altogether.
An undersized water softener:
The size of your water softener can also determine the water pressure in your home. A small water softener will not be able to produce enough water for high water pressure in your home, so when a small water softener is installed where there is a large demand for water, there is going to be low water pressure.
The water softener is regenerating:
The regeneration process of a water softener is the process where the hard water is converted into soft water, using the salts in the softener. The process usually requires a lot of water pressure and while it is ongoing, it can result in low water pressure in the home.
Also Read: Water Softening Process (Explained)
What to do if your water softener is the problem?
If you have realized that the cause of your low water pressure is your water softener and you have identified the way the problem is occurring, then you can carry out any one of the required processes to improve your water pressure. These processes include:
- Wait for the regeneration process to be completed: In the event that it is the regeneration process that is causing your low water pressure, you simply need to wait for the process to be completed. This should not be difficult as the process only takes a few minutes, and once it’s complete, your water pressure should return to normal.
- Clean your particle filter: Maintenance practices are very important in prolonging the life span of most equipment and it applies to the water softener. It is important to clean or replace old/damaged particle filter to ensure that particles don’t accumulate and alter your water supply, as if this is not done regularly, it can have other implications.
- Get a bigger water softener: A small water softener may have been appropriate for your home at one point but that changed with an increase in numbers, or you installed one and noticed it’s not big enough. Regardless, you will have to get a bigger unit, one that will support the required amount of water in your home.
- Unblock your resin bed: Depending on the cause of any blockage in your resin bed, you can approach it differently. Where a build-up of iron is responsible, you can simply add a cleaning agent, to eliminate the iron build-up, or you can clean the resin bed where it is necessary.
Our Top Water Softener Recommendation: Fleck 5600SXT
Other problems associated with water softeners
After you’ve done everything necessary to improve your water pressure, if you still notice that you are still having low water pressure issues, then you may have to change your water softener to ensure you no longer have low pressure related problems. Some other common problems you may notice relating to your water softener include:
The high sodium content of water:
This is common especially with a salt-based water softener, and while there are not many drawbacks to this problem, the water produce is usually unsafe for drinking and under no circumstance should you or anyone else do so.
As the water softener works, it discards and dispenses a lot of water due to a high concentration of mineral and this water is released into the environment and can be harmful to the ecosystem