Do Water Softeners Reduce Water Pressure? August 2, 2020 00:00
Do Water Softeners Reduce Water Pressure?
Water Softeners are the most efficient way to deal with the problem of hard water. You've installed a water softener recently and begun to enjoy a "hard water" free home, but you're now noticing a decrease in water pressure. Don't worry, it's not just you!
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.
Does installing a water softener reduce water pressure?
Not necessarily, there are numerous potential causes that may cause low water pressure such as:
- Do your neighbors have low water pressure: It may be a municipal problem and needs to be addressed by your local water department.
- Pipe corrosion has severely narrowed the inside diameter of the water pipes in at least one place: This is very common in older houses with steel pipes. If it is the steel pipes, you may need to repipe your system to resolve the issue. While repiping falls under the category of a major plumbing repair, many times it can be done relatively quickly and cost-effectively.
- Your water softener is not the right size for your home: A water softener system that cannot deliver on the household needs will hold back the flow and lower the pressure of any water that goes through the line.
- Regeneration: Your water softener system may be regenerating (AKA cleaning itself) or stuck in an automatic regeneration cycle and not passing through enough unsoftened water during the cleaning time.
- Clog: If the water pressure is low at only one fixture, the problem is often due to a clogged aerator screen or a partially closed water supply valve. It may also happen that a washer slips and blocks some of the lines. Shower heads can easily clog without lowering the water pressure anywhere else.
- Water supply: The main water supply shut off lever outside your house may be partially closed.
- Water pressure regulator set too low: This brass valve can be found on the main water supply line before it connects to the water softener. Increase water pressure with care. Too much pressure may bring on a whole new set of problems. If possible, turn a faucet on nearby so you can check the effects of incremental adjustments.
- There is a hidden leak somewhere in the water line: This is a serious issue as it can lead to considerable damage if not found and handled.
Can a water softener cause water pressure problems?
It’s also a good idea to become familiar with your water softener manual. At least be aware of when and how to perform periodic maintenance and how to troubleshoot should it fail to operate properly.
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.
The Resin Bed is Blocked:
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.
There are Resin Particles in the Supply Pipe:
When your resin tank 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, stop 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. If the sizing was not correctly done then the device will not be able to meet the consumption demand in the house. How do you know the size of water softener that is appropriate for your home?
To decide the suitable size for your house, multiply the number of water users in the house with gallons of water that each person uses per day multiplied by grains of hardness. For example, 70 gallons per person multiplied by 4 people in the house multiplied by hardness grain of 15.5ppm. You should select a water softener that can handle that load.
The Water Softener is being used during Regeneration:
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.
How to check if it really is your water softener restricting flow:
- Turn the valve on top of your tank that says “bypass.” This will allow water flow straight into your house without going through the water softener system. Now check some of the faucets that had low pressure. Are they back to normal? If so, it is your water softener that is the problem.
- Check the sediment filter that catches dirt and debris from entering the treatment system. Do this by removing the top of the softener. If it is clogged, replace it.
- Although the resin bed in the softener tank should not need to be replaced, highly chlorinated water can break down the resins and turn them to mush. Eventually, the tank restricts the flow of water. This can also happen from bacteria build-up. If the resin has been destroyed, you will have to dump the resin bed, clean out the tank and refill the tank with new resin. However, we recommend having a professional service to handle this.
How do I fix low water pressure in my water softener?
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.
Still need help?
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. Give us experts at Aquatell a call and let's troubleshoot together!