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DIY - How To Install A Water Softener

by Mark Timmons February 01, 2021 6 Comments

Before Starting - Here's Some Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver
  • Teflon Tape
  • Razor Knife
  • Two adjustable wrenches
  • Additional tools may be required if modifycations to home plumbing are required.
  • To maintain full valve flow, be sure the
  • plumbing size matches the size of the valve. The outlet pipe should be the same size or larger than the water supply pipe.
  • Use copper, brass, or PEX pipe and fittings. Some codes may also allow PVC Plastic pipe.
  • ALWAYS install the included bypass valve or install a 3 shut-off valve hard piped bypass. Bypass valves allow the water to be turned off to the softener but can still provide water to the house for water use during repairs or service.
  • 5/8" OD, 1/2" ID drain line is needed for the valve drain.
  • A length of 5/8" OD drain line tubing is needed for the brine tank overflow fitting (optional).
  • Extra Course Grade or Crystal Solar Salt (99.8% pure) water softener salt is needed to fill the brine tank.

A Quick Overview Of The Water Softener Regeneration Process

The water softener provides a Regeneration process whereby brine solution enters the mineral tank, driving-off the collected hardness ions and replenishes the surface of the resin beads with more sodium ions. This process is automatically initiated by the control valve on the mineral tank. The regeneration process has five basic cycles as follows:

  1. Backwash - The control valve directs the water flow in a reverse direction through the mineral tank, separating the resin beads and flushing any accumulated particles to a waste drain.

  2. Brine & Rinse - In the first part of this cycle, the control valve directs the brine solution downward through the mineral tank, driving-off collected hardness ions and replenishing the resin beads with sodium ions. The second part of the cycle rinses hardness ions and excess brine from the mineral tank to the waste drain.

  3. Rapid Rinse - The control valve directs the water flow downward, settling and re-compacting the resin bed.

  4. Brine Refill - The control valve directs fresh water into the salt compartment to create a new brine solution for the next scheduled regeneration.

  5. Service - This is the normal “operating” cycle where hard water enters the mineral tank, comes into contact with the resin beads, and exchanges hardness ions for sodium ions - the water then becomes “soft” and ready for use.

Assembling Your Water Softener

1. Remove the tank from the box.

2. Verify the riser tube is secured in the bottom of the tank. The tube should not pull out of the tank.

resin tank assembily for a water softenerresin tank assembly for a water softener

3. Install the clear, plastic cap that is provided in the install kit onto the distributor tube.

step 3 on how to assemble a water softenerstep 3 on how to assemble a water softener

4. Use the blue funnel provided to pour the media into the tank. Pour it evenly around the hole to ensure it is well distributed in the tank and pour slow enough to keep from plugging the hole. A helper may be needed to hold the funnel during the filling process. NOTE: It is recommended that a dust mask and safety goggles be worn to prevent possible injury.

step 4 on how to assemble a water softenerstep 4 on how to assemble a water softener

5. When the media is installed, move the tank side to side to settle the media. Remove the funnel and cap from the distributor tube. 

6. Lubricate the distributor O-ring and the outer tank O-ring

step 6 on how to assemble a water softenerstep 6 on how to assemble a water softener

7. Install the upper basket on the bottom of the valve by lining up the tabs then turning the basket clockwise to lock it in place. Place the upper basket over the distributor tube and push the valve onto the tank. Thread the valve on the tank by turning it clockwise. Be sure not to cross-thread the valve on the tank.

8. Tighten the valve hand tight then snug it further by tapping it with the palm of the hand. DO NOT use tools to tighten the valve or damage could occur.

step 8 on how to assemble a water softenerstep 8 on how to assemble a water softener

Now That Your Water Softener Is Assembled - Let's Start The Installation

1. If your hot water tank is electric, turn off the power to it to avoid damage to the element in the tank.

2. If you have a private well, turn the power off to the pump and then shut off the main water shut-off valve. If you have municipal water, simply shut off the main valve. Go to a faucet or spigot (preferably on the lowest floor of the house) and turn on the cold water until all pressure is relieved and the flow of water stops.

3. Locate the softener tank and brine tank close to a drain where the system will be in- stalled. The surface should be clean and level.
NOTE: Any solder joints being soldered near the valve must be done before connecting any piping to the valve. Always leave at least 6" (152 mm) between the control valve and joints being soldered when soldering pipes that are connected to the valve. Failure to do this could cause damage to the valve. The softener system is equipped with male pipe threaded ports on the control valve bypass. The bypass is marked with arrows to show proper flow direction. The arrow pointing toward the valve indicates the inlet. The arrow pointing away from the valve is the outlet.

step 3 on how to install a water softenerstep 3 on how to install a water softener

4. Insert the provided plumbing fittings into the bypass. 3/4" and 1" male pipe thread fittings are supplied so ensure you pick the correct one for your plumbing. Tighten the retaining nuts hand tight, ensuring that the fittings are not cross-threaded.

step 4 on how to install a water softenerstep 4 on how to install a water softener

5. Be sure to use Teflon tape or another pipe sealant on the plumbing fitting threads and install them on the bypass accordingly. Use an adjustable wrench to ensure they are tight.

step 5 on how to install a water softenerstep 5 on how to install a water softener

NOTE: All piping should be secured to prevent stress on the bypass valve and connectors.

NOTE: Connections above are made using a stainless steel flex connector with a rubber gasket and do not require Teflon tape.

6. Connect the drain hose to the valve and secure it with a hose clamp. Run the drain hose to the nearest laundry tub, floor drain, or approved air gap fitting. The drain can be run overhead or down along the floor. Drain tubing should be a minimum of 1/2" ID. When running the drain overhead, it is important that the tubing has no dips or kinks. If the drain is running overhead and must run linearly to the available drain, it is recommended that a hard pipe is used of a larger diameter than the drain line. This linear pipe should have a physical "drop" toward the drain (1/2": 10'). The goal is to have a gravity drain without much back pressure when traveling long distances.

DIY step 6 on how to install a water softenerDIY step 6 on how to install a water softener

NOTE: A direct connection to a waste drain is not recommended. A physical air gap of at least 1.5" should be used to avoid bacteria and wastewater traveling back through the drain line into the softener.

NOTE: Be sure to secure the drain line. The softener will drain with force and it should be secured to prevent a leak. Hose clamps should be used to secure the drain line at the connection points.

7. Connect the brine line to the control valve by removing the nut and sleeve from the control valve. Slide the nut and sleeve over the brine line. There is a brass stiffener pre-installed in the line.

DIY step 7 on how to install a water softenerDIY step 7 on how to install a water softener

8. Push the brine line in the control valve until it stops. Then push the nut down on the fitting and tighten it hand tight. Use an adjustable wrench to tighten the nut an additional 1/2 turn.

CAUTION: Use two wrenches to tighten the brass nut. The brass fitting must be held while tightening the brass nut. If not, damage may occur to the valve body.

DIY step 8 on how to install a water softenerDIY step 8 on how to install a water softener

9. Now connect the brine line to the brine tank safety float assembly. Remove the brine tank lid and the brine well cap. There is a red clip on the cap that will be used to hold the brine line in place. Remove it, and the tape holding it and put it to the side. Then push the brine line through the brine tank and brine well. REMOVE the brass insert for this connection. Push the brine line into the brine safety valve. Make sure it is completely pushed in. Then install the red locking clip around the brine fitting be- tween the gray collar and the brine elbow. Install the white cap on the tube.

DIY step 9 on how to install a water softenerDIY step 9 on how to install a water softener

10. Turn both bypass handles so they are perpendicular to the bypass to place the unit in the bypass position. Slowly turn on the main water supply. At the nearest cold-treated faucet or spigot, open the faucet and let the water run for a few minutes or until the system is free of any air or foreign material resulting from the plumbing work. If a faucet is used, make sure the screen is removed first.

DIY step 10 on how to install a water softenerDIY step 10 on how to install a water softener

11. Make sure there are no leaks in the plumbing system before proceeding. Close the water tap when the water runs clear. Check for leaks again.

12. Open the brine tank lid and add 1-2 gallons of water to the brine tank. Add a minimum of 80 lbs of salt to the brine tank.

NOTE: Salt should be filled, used completely, and refilled. Salt should not be "topped off" each month. It is better to completely fill the tank with salt (full is 2" below the top of the white safety float tube in the tank) then use the salt until the water can be seen on top of the salt. Then refill the salt

13. Proceed to startup instructions

NOTE: The unit is not ready for service until you complete the startup instructions

System Start-Up 

1. With the bypass handles in the bypass position, initiate an immediate regeneration. This will advance the valve to the backwash position.

2. Once the valve has stopped moving and is in the backwash position, slowly open the bypass handles about 1/8th turn. Water should slowly enter the tank.

NOTE: If there is a loud knocking sound, simply turn the bypass handle back a bit as the system is filling too quickly.

3. During the backwash cycle, slowly open the bypass valve until there is water coming out of the drain hose. Then open the bypass valve fully.

4. Allow the system to backwash and push all the air out through the drain.

5. The valve will automatically move to the Brine Draw cycle when the backwash cycle is complete. Skip this cycle by pressing and holding the “Set/Change” button on the control valve or by pressing “Go to Next Regen Step” on the Water Logix App.

6. This will move the valve to Rapid Rinse. Allow the unit to rinse for the entire cycle. The water in the drain should be running clear by the end of the Rapid Rinse cycle.

7. The valve will then advance to the Refill cycle. Allow the system to refill for the entire cycle. This will ensure there is no air in the brine line and that it is primed for the system's first regeneration.

8. Once the system has returned to the Service position after the Refill cycle, the system is installed and ready for use. Just make sure to check the salt and don't allow it to run out.

Congratulations, you have now successfully installed a water softener.

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June 24, 2021 daryoush balbas

I have a question, how far could water softener drain discharge, I have a situation for draining discharge water I have go up about 5 feet and travel along ceiling about 45 feet and drop down 5 feet to point of discharge is that possible with water softener.

June 28, 2021 Mark Timmons

Yes, you can do that. I would upsize the drain to 3/4".

July 31, 2021 George Culbertson

In a well water system, where should this be installed in relation to the surge tank, before or after?

August 20, 2021 Mark Timmons

A water softener should always be installed after the pressure tank.

November 28, 2022 David Long

How do I adjust the “softness” of the system I bought from you guys?

November 28, 2022 Mark Timmons

The hardness scale runs from 0 GPG (grains per gallon) to infinity. A water softener will typically take it down to below one grain. I assume you do not want the water to be extremely “slick.” To keep it from being slick, regenerate your system at 6 pounds of salt per cu/ft of resin. For example, if you have a 2 cu/ft water softener, it should regenerate at 12 lbs. of salt. If you have questions, call our Technical Support Department!

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