How Can You Store a Water Softener Long Term? October 3, 2022 10:49
The best way to store a water softener during long periods of non-use is to "pickle" the system in salt water brine and leave it like this until you need to use it again.
Water softener resin is the material that's inside the water softener. It does the actual work of the water softening process - exchanging hardness minerals for sodium in the softening mode and then reversing this process when the system does a regeneration to recharge its capacity.
Water softener resin is prone to becoming fouled over its operational lifespan. This is what happens with the hardness minerals that the softener is removing become lodged in the internal structure of the resin beads. This leads to a long term and slow decline in the capacity and performance of the system. Elements such as iron and manganese are especially notorious for being able to make their way into the internal structure of the bead where they cause permanent fouling. The length of time that these elements sit on the resin is a big predictor of whether or not they will cause longterm fouling.
So the absolute worst thing you can do to softener resin is to load it up with hardness minerals and iron or manganese and then let it sit in that state for a really long time. So, when you're considering putting your softener on a "pause" that's longer than a month, it's important to follow these steps to keep the resin healthy and to ensure performance once it's brought back online. Here's what we recommend:
- Force a regeneration on the system and allow this to complete
- Add some extra water to the brine tank (1 gallon for smaller systems, 2 for larger)
- Wait for two hours for the brine tank water to reach salt saturation
- Force another regeneration, but this time stop the regeneration process as soon as all the brine has been drawn from the brine tank
- Unplug the power the softener
- Put the softener in bypass mode
The net result of this process is that the clean resin will be stored in a brine solution. This "pickling" of the softener resin will keep it in a state where any residual hardness, iron, or manganese that's still on the resin won't be able to cause any longterm fouling of the resin. The softener can be stored in this fashion for several months.
When you need to bring the softener back online, plug in the power, put the system in service mode (vs. in bypass mode) and immediately force a regeneration. Once this process is complete, the system will be cleaned out and ready to use!