When it comes to water softener installation, all it requires are some basic plumbing skill, a little bit of time, and some DIY savvy.
If you are going to install a water softener by yourself, this guide is coming in just in case you want to get some more confidence before you get the job done.
Let’s get started!
Step 1 – Test Your Water
You have to test your water to determine if you really need a water softener.
If your water is soft, there is no reason to install a water softener.
You need to purchase a water hardness test kit from your local store or from any online commercial website.
Test your water hardness
1 – Take a cup to get sample water from your tap.
2 – Dip a test strip into the water for at least three seconds, you should follow the instructions that came with your kit.
3 – Take the strip out and compare it to the chart (that also came with the kit).
Determine if you need a water softener
If your water hardness is greater than 120 PPM, then you should consider installing a water softener.
If the number is lower than that, it’s not really necessary to soften your water as you have not any major problems with your water hardness.
Determine the size of water softener
To determine the size of the water softener you need, or the grain capacity of the water softener, you will need to take the PPM number, multiply it with your daily water usage in gallons.
For example, if your water hardness is 250PPM, your water usage is 160 gallons, then the grain you will need is 250 x 160 = 40,000 grain.
Step 2 – Choosing A Good Water Softener
There are quite many water softeners on the market.
You can buy a single tank one, or a large dual tank and professional system.
All you need to consider is a good brand, a model with many good reviews and positive feedback from the customers.
Step 3 – Installation Preparing
Now, you’ve got your water softener system, before you do anything, make sure that you have all the required tools and softener parts readily available.
Be sure you check the included user manual of the product.
For safety of you and others, please always read and observe all the safety messages in the user manual and on the product.
It’s important to read, understand, and observe all the potential hazards that could injure or kill you or others.
Your home may have copper, PVC, CPVC, PEX, steel piping.
Each type of piping requires different materials to complete the installation job.
So, make sure you have the right tools.
Prepare Plumbing Water Supplies
It depends on your water system, you may need various fittings, glue, connection kits as they don’t come with the water softener.
You will need to choose the right size of pipe and adapter for your system.
If you have an old water softener, you may have the in and out ports reversed, if so, it will require you to swap or cross the pipe to have a proper installation.
Begin by turning off the incoming water supply and open the nearby faucets to relieve water pressure.
Please also make sure your water heater is turned off and unplug all the power cords.
Tools that you will need
- Pipe cutters (for plastic or metal)
- 2 channel lock pliers
- Teflon tape
- Tab measure
- PVD glue and primer
- Normal tape
- Flex connectors with suitable size
- About 4 bags of water softener salt
- Air gap fighting for drain line if needed
Prepare The Product and Parts
If you have an existing or old water softener, please remove the old system first.
Remove your new water softener from the carton, make sure you remove the parts bag containing all of the installation materials from inside of the salt storage tank.
Place the tank near to where you want it plumbed.
You will also need to remove any additional packaging from the tank.
Next, remove all of the parts from the bag to make sure you have all of the parts needed for proper installation.
Refer to the user manual for the details, the parts may be slightly different depending on which model of water softener you are installing.
It’s important to note that when you remove the clip and shipping cap from the outlet port and the control valve to ensure that the turbine or water meter stays in place and is not lost.
You will notice the valve has the in and out marked clearly on the ports located on the back of the water softener.
Parts come with the water softener:
- Control valve with bypass
- Upper basket
- AC adaptor
- Silicon packet
- Bag of resin
- Tank with distributor
- Funnel to put the resin in
- Brine tank with brine line if the system is a dual tank one.
Prepare The Location
A water softener needs to be installed at a place that is clean, nearby a power outlet, and nearby a drain.
It may be necessary to level the area with a piece of plywood and shims underneath.
Step 4 – Start Water Softener Installation
Now, you can start the water softener installation process by assembling the unit.
Install The Drain Valves and Drain Lines
Insert the rubber grommet and drain elbow into the hole in the back of the water softener.
This line is a gravity feed and must be run to the floor drain, or other suitable drain locations.
The water softener usually comes with a ⅜ inch drain line, you will need to check with your local codes to make sure that it’s ok to use the drain line.
If you have to use a rigid line, you may have to make some changes to your plan.
Connect the drain hose to the valve drain elbow on the back of the water softener.
This line is a pressure drain used to discharge the regeneration water.
The line can be run a maximum of 30 feet in length and eight feet high.
It must drain to a suitable location such as a floor drain or laundry tub.
Fill In The Resin Tank
Put the distributor in the middle of the resin tank.
Cover or tape the distributor to make sure no resin gets into the distributor.
Pour in the resin using the funnel provided.
Remove the tape on the distributor.
Install The Bypass Valve
Install the o-rings on the bypass valve before connecting to the unit’s control valve.
On some models, it’s necessary to use the silicon grease provided, while others have the o-rings greased and installed already.
Push the bypass valve into the control valve. This valve can be oriented in the up position or the down position depending on your home plumbing configuration.
Install the retainer clips, making sure that all three tabs are fully engaged.
You will need to repeat the last three steps for the install adapters.
If you are using copper and soldering joints, do not solder the plumbing well attached to the installation adapters because the heat will damage the adapters.
Connect The Pipes and Tubes
Go to the plumbing where you are putting your water softener.
Cut into the plumbing to make an in and out point for the water softener.
Join the in and out point with a bypass valve that can close and open to get water through or bypass the water softener when needed.
If your plumbing is copper, use a metal cutter, if it’s PVC, use a plastic cutter one.
Connect the flex connectors into the inlet plumbing, and then tighten it into the inlet of the water softener.
Repeat these steps for the outlet side of the plumbing and softener.
Connect The Brine Tank
Next, if you are using a twin tank (dual tank) water softener, you will need the brine line, and brine line parts.
On the softener valve, unscrew the brine nut
Attach the brine nut to the brine line.
Attach the brine sleeve to the brine line.
Insert the line into the valve, then tighten the brine line nut.
Put your brine tank in place.
Before connecting the brine line, you can cut the line to the desired length.
Connect the brine line to the brine tank, and push it firmly into place.
You can now fill the brine tank with salt but don’t over fill it.
Connect The Power Adaptor
Unbox the power transformer and run power to the valve.
You are now ready to connect your new water softener to your existing plumbing.
One thing to keep in mind, if you have a copper plumbing or steel pipe system in your house, it may be part of your ground system for your electrical lines.
By installing a water softener, you are potentially breaking that ground connection.
So, you need to follow your local plumbing and electrical codes to find a way you can put a jumper wire from your copper to copper.
If you have a PVC or CPVC, you will not need to worry about it as the electrical system is grounded with its own ground rod.
Program The Water Softener
Next, you will need to program your water softener, this step requires you to know your water hardness level to complete it.
Steps to program your water softener.
1 – Hold down the “Back” button and “Up Arrow” at the same time.
2 – Press the “Back” button, then use the “Arrow” buttons to set the hour
3 – Press the “Back” button again, then use the “Arrows” to set the minutes.
4 – Press the “Back” button twice to get to the “Type” menu set
5 – User the “Arrow” buttons to set it to “TM”, which is a delayed meter
6 – Press the “Back” button twice (again) to set your system capacity that you already know after testing your water hardness level.
7 – You can set your system capacity (in GAL) using the “Back” and “Arrow” buttons.
8 – Press the “Back” button twice to set your system Regeneration Time
9 – There are default settings, you can leave them all or change the info using the “Back” and “Arrow” buttons.
10 – Refer to the user manual of the product to set your Brine Fill (BF) time, BF time is based on the size of your system.
Water softener programming is now completed.
Step 5 – Complete The Installation
Press and hold the “Cycle” button (the far right one), the message “Go to BW (Backwash)” will appear.
Make sure the water outlet on the valve is in the OFF position.
Slowly turn the main water supply line back on, keep turning on the water supply slowly in some minutes to avoid adding too much water pressure to the system at once.
Slowly open the water outlet on the valve
Finally, turn on a cold water faucet, and maybe also a hot water tap, to purge out any air residing in the water lines.
Check around the system and water lines to make sure no leaking happens.
Your water softener installation is now completed and the system is ready for use.