A water softener overflow is caused by a damaged valve in the water pump or a leaky pipe or connection. Water softeners use chemicals to make tap water more drinkable by removing some of the hardness minerals (calcium and magnesium) from the water. As these minerals are removed, they leave behind mineral deposits inside pipes, valves, etc. These mineral deposits block flow through the system and cause the valves to stick open. Eventually, the deposits build up enough pressure to blow out a small hole at the stem of the valve or the pipe connection causing a sudden, explosive release of water that floods the area around the valve. A water softener overflow may require emergency repairs to prevent further damage to plumbing fixtures or flooding due to a burst pipe.
Water softeners were first introduced in the early 1970s and have been widely adopted by homeowners since then. Most American homes now have a water softener installed. Many people assume that water softening is a luxury item that only wealthy families can afford, but today’s high-tech systems are affordable and convenient. Softeners are simple devices, consisting mainly of a water tank and a control panel. The tank periodically releases a chemical called ion exchange resin, which removes the hardness minerals from the water. In doing so, the resin attracts negative ions from the air to replace the positive ones that are removed from the water. Once the resin becomes saturated with the unwanted ions, it is replaced with fresh resin and the cycle begins again. By using an electronic timer, a user can set the time between cycles to match their lifestyle and schedule.
Hardness minerals in water include calcium, magnesium, sodium, chloride, sulfate, carbonate, and bicarbonate and are commonly referred to as Calcium Carbonate, Alkalinity, Chloride Hardness, Sodium Hardness, Sulfur, Bicarbonate Hardness, Calcium Hardness, Magnesium Hardness, Sulphates, Soda Lime Hardness, Total Hardness, Molarity, Ion Exchange Resin, pH, and Calcium Hardness Index.
Most modern water softeners are electronically controlled. If a problem occurs, the softener will sound an alarm and display a message on its display screen. In addition, many newer models include an automatic shutoff feature that shuts off power to the unit if it detects a leak in the piping system. When installing a water softener, make sure that the piping connections are properly sealed and that adequate space exists between the piping and any electrical boxes. Also make sure that any drains or vents near the softener are clear of obstructions.
The following are warning signs that indicate water softeners need to be repaired:
• Noisy operation;
• Sticky valves;
• Leaking valves;
• Slow drainage;
• Pipes bulging or deformed;
• Swollen joints;
• Poor water quality;
• Discharge of chlorine gas;
• Rapid corrosion of iron fittings;