How does water become hard? All of the Earth’s fresh water originally falls as rain, sleet and snow. Surface water is drawn upwards by the sun, where it forms as clouds. As it falls back to earth it is pure and soft, but it also begins to pick up impurities in the air. Finally, as it seeps through rock and soil it can gather hardness, iron, and acids, as well as unpleasant odors and tastes.
Water is known as the universal solvent because over time it dissolves everything it comes in contact with. High concentrations of dissolved minerals, specifically calcium and magnesium are picked up through limestone and dissolved by rainwater leading to hardness in water. Years ago, people who wanted soft water would gather rainwater in barrels and cisterns before it was able to pick up impurities from the earth. In today’s world, we can soften and condition water by running water through an ion exchange media designed with the superior ability to attract and capture dissolved hardness impurities found in water.
The softener or conditioner directs the flow of your household water through a column of media. This media is comprised of minute pockets and crevices. It captures and holds the hardness impurities in the water. When they can no longer hold any more, the system must be regenerated or recharged.
Next, the media is backwashed to remove any sediment that may have accumulated in the tank. This sediment is flushed to the drain. In the second phase of the recharge, the media is automatically drenched in a salt solution (brine) removing the hardness impurities.
The system is then rinsed of any remaining brine, so the system is again ready to soften the water. Under normal conditions, this cycle can be repeated indefinitely as the media lasts for years and years.
A filter, like the softener, directs the flow of water through the media. As the water travels through the media, particles like iron and sand are captured by the media.
Next, the media is backwashed to remove any sediment that may have accumulated in the tank. This sediment is flushed to the drain.
All WaterCare softeners, conditioners and some filters are designed to use salt. All salt, regardless of its source, may contain insoluble matter, which accumulates at the bottom of the brine tank and requires periodic cleaning. If pellet or rock salt is used, you should clean out your brine tank at least once a year. If solar salt is used, the brine tank will require less frequent cleaning. However, you should periodically check for salt bridging*. For proper operation of a water softener or conditioner, the brine tank should be at least 1/3 full of salt at all times.
We recommend the use of solar salt for best results. Water softeners and conditioners manufactured by WaterCare can support the use of potassium chloride (KCI) as a regenerant in lieu of sodium chloride.
WARNING: Do not use salt containing mineral bed cleaners. Salts that claim any iron cleaners, rust savers, or additional cleaning agents should not be used as they can harm the media. Only “plain” solar salt, rock salt or block salts should be used. Contact your dealer for more information.
At no time do we recommend the use of resin or media cleaners in the brine tank without first contacting your authorized WaterCare dealer. Some cleaners require not only proper handling but can be detrimental to the tank’s media bed.
*Salt bridging occurs when a gap is formed between the salt and the water preventing the salt from dissolving in the water and making brine. The effects of high humidity as well as the use of some brands of purified salt products may cause bridging.
A quick way to check and eliminate this problem is to press your knee against the side of the brine tank and listen for the salt to readjust inside the tank. You can also take a broom handle and make a mark about 30 inches from the end and carefully begin to probe down through the salt with the handle. If an obstruction is found before the mark on the broom handle reaches the rim of the brine tank, a bridge has probably developed. Continue probing to break up the bridge.
These simple precautions will help keep your water treatment system looking like new, and help ensure that you experience trouble free service for many years.
WARNING: Water is always inside your controller, media tank and brine tank, and must be protected to prevent the water from freezing temperatures. If your unit should freeze, do not attempt to disassemble it. Call your authorized WaterCare dealer for service.
A periodic clean out of the brine tank is recommended to keep your system operating at peak efficiency. The following is a step-by-step procedure to properly clean out the brine tank. To reduce cleaning time, it is suggested that you perform this clean out when the salt supply is low.
Following is a list of suggested tools to use:
Cleaning the brine tank.
PLEASE NOTE: Allow about 2 to 3 hours for brine solution to be made before the system regenerates.
The AC transformer comes with a 15-foot power cord and is designed for use with the control valve. The transformer should only be used in a dry location.
In the event of a power outage for less than 24 hours, the control valve will remember all settings and time of day. For an outage over 24 hours, the only item that needs to be reset is the time of day, which will flash when a reset is required. All other settings are permanently stored in the nonvolatile memory.
Time of day will not need to be reset. The system will recognize resumption of power and will switch back.
If a power loss occurs for less than 24 hours and the time of day flashes, this indicates the battery is depleted. The time of day should be reset and the non-rechargeable battery should be replaced. The battery is a 3 Volt Lithium Coin Cell type 2032 and is readily available at most stores. To access the battery, remove front cover.