How to clean your water filter and drain your water softener
Our water filters and softeners exist to make our lives easier, safer and healthier. But nothing in life worth having comes easy and while they are perhaps not the most maintenance-heavy machines in your home, you must give them a little TLC every once in a while.
Of course, how much maintenance you’ll need will depend on several factors – the hardness of the water in your area and how often the devices are used being chief among them. But the processes involved in keeping them clean are largely uniform.
Cleaning your water filter
It might seem a little counterproductive that a device installed to effectively clean our water needs to be cleaned itself but there will come a time when your water filter starts acting up. Nine times out of ten, if this happens it’s because you need to give your filter a good clean.
All machines require maintenance and a water filter is no different. However, the method used to clean it effectively will depend on your specific type of water filter.
Reverse osmosis filters – These work using a reverse osmosis membrane filter and activated carbon. To clean them, start by shutting off the water supply and releasing the water from the tank. Next, open the casing and take out the pre-filter and membrane before using a bespoke chemical cleaner to sanitise the system. Don’t forget to rinse your system before reusing.
Activated carbon or charcoal filters – The process here is similar but you have to be a little more careful and it takes a lot longer. You will need to submerge your filter into a chemical solution here and let it sit for a few days to allow it to really do its trick. Next, rinse the filter thoroughly for at least 5 minutes, also letting it soak in water for a while.
Cleaning your water softener
If you’ve had your water softener installed for a while you’ll probably be quite used to enjoying all of the benefits by now. But there will come a time when the resin (the plastic beads that collect and dispose of the hardness salts in your water) will need to be cleaned. Otherwise, the softener will stop removing hardens from your water and the machine itself could end up being damaged.
To clean your water softener you must start by isolating the resin and washing it with a concentrated salt solution. This rinses all of the hardness caught in the resin and effectively reconditions it for reuse. The lifespan of your resin should last at least 20 years, however, it will not last half as long if you don’t clean it semi-regularly.
You’ll know it’s time to give the water softener tank a clean when the tank starts to regenerate more frequently than usual. As far as which cleaning solution to use, there are dozens of bespoke branded resin bead cleaners on the market. Just be sure to read the label before making your purchase.
Finally, you might also find sludge and hold building up in your softener tank. The former is caused by salt pellets breaking down in the tank and the former builds up when water is left in the tank for too long. The sludge can be removed manually and many moulds can be eradicated with a severe scrubbing. You might, however, need to run a bleach cycle through the unit to fully remove all traces of it. In this case, refer to your softener’s manual and apply the amount of bleach stated.