Are you experiencing low water pressure? That’s so frustrating. Did you know your water softener could be the culprit? There are several ways that water softeners can cause low water pressure, so let’s take a look at how you can find and fix water pressure problems.
Start by isolating the issue
The easiest way to determine whether your water softener is the source of your low water pressure is to switch the bypass valve to the “on” position. If the pressure remains low even when water is not flowing through the softener, then the problem lies elsewhere.
- For example, a pipe may be clogged or corroded where water enters your house, before it even gets to the softener. With our hard water here in Minnesota, that can be a problem. (It’s the same problem you can develop throughout your home if you don’t soften your water.)
- Or, there may be a leak in a pipe that leads to the water softener. Leaks are also a common issue.
- If you’re on a municipal or other public water supply, it’s also possible that, for some reason, your provider’s water pressure is down. If your neighbors are having problems, too, contact your utility.
What if the water softener is involved?
If bypassing the unit restores pressure, then you’ve confirmed the softener is involved. But why? Here are some common problems to check:
1. Your water softener is just too small
If the appliance doesn’t have enough capacity to keep pace with your family’s water usage, you’ll have chronically low pressure (and possibly other problems).
An undersized water softener will immediately become apparent if it’s brand new and you start to experience low water pressure immediately after installation. But, you might also outgrow your water softener over time as your family grows, in which case you’ll want to upgrade to a larger unit.
There is a formula that experts use to determine the most efficient size for a home: Multiply the number of people X gallons used daily per person X grains of water hardness. But it’s a lot easier to just give us a call and let our Haferman experts advise you.
2. A sediment filter is clogged
Water softeners may be outfitted with filters that capture particulates in the water before they can get into the rest of the system. Like all filters, these need to be cleaned or replaced regularly. If they become clogged, that will restrict water flow, resulting in low pressure.
3. The resin bed is clogged
If sediment does escape the filters, it can accumulate in supply pipes or the resin bed, restricting water flow. Sometimes iron or scale can also clog the pipes or bed, causing the same problem. The solution is to clean the tank. If iron build-up is an issue, you can try adding mineral cleaner to the bed or setting the water softener to regenerate more often.
4. Escaped resin is clogging a fixture
If the resin in your tank is not replaced in a timely manner, it can eventually deteriorate and break apart. It can then travel through your plumbing, clogging faucets or your shower head. This would cause the water pressure to drop at that location, though not necessarily elsewhere in your home. If this seems to be the problem, clean the fixture and flush the pipes. Then test the resin to see if replacement is in order.