Industrial Water Softener Maintenance and Troubleshooting

Industrial water softeners are integral components in many industrial applications, from food and beverage production to power generation and pharmaceutical manufacturing. These systems effectively minimize the hardness of water by removing minerals such as calcium and magnesium, which can cause scaling and damage to equipment. However, industrial water softeners can encounter issues that impair their effectiveness and longevity. Below is an overview of common maintenance and troubleshooting practices that Nancrede Engineering’s technical team has seen through our industrial water softener maintenance and repair services. If you are interested in our preventative maintenance program, contact Nancrede Engineering.

Regular Maintenance

Condition of the Water Softener Valves:
Viewing the valves inside and out and checking for wear and tear can prevent future issues ranging from a leaking brine valve to a blocked air valve. Cleaning and rebuilding the control valves and injectors plays a crucial role in the regeneration process. Keeping these components clean and free from obstructions is essential to prevent malfunctions and ensure smooth operations.
Water Softener Salt Levels:
One of the primary components of a water softener system is the brine tank that houses the salt used in the ion exchange process. Always ensure the tank contains an appropriate amount of salt because a lack of salt could prevent effective regeneration, leading to a hard water supply. On the other hand, too much salt can be used if the system is not working correctly or configured appropriately. During the brine cycle, a salometer can record the percentage of salt leaving the system. If there is too much salt use, this may indicate the need for a resin replacement.
Water Softener Pilot Valves:
Removing buildup on pilot valves as they become clogged can prevent the brine tank from overflowing and valves from not functioning correctly. Symptoms of this issue may be an increase in salt usage and shorter cycles.
Water Softener Valve Lubrication:
Keeping the moving parts on your softener lubricated will keep friction down and avoid the need for early replacement of industrial water softener parts.
Water Softener Resin Bed Inspection and Flushing:
Over time, resin beds can develop issues such as fouling or channeling. Fouling occurs when the bed accumulates organic material, reducing the effectiveness of the ion exchange process. Channeling is when water creates pathways of least resistance through the bed, thereby limiting contact with the resin. Regular inspection and testing can prevent these issues and ensure optimal functionality.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

Water Softener Hard Water Output: If the softener begins producing hard water, it could be due to several issues. Check the brine tank’s salt levels first as an inadequate amount can inhibit the ion exchange process. A malfunctioning control valve can also lead to ineffective regeneration cycles. In some instances, the resin bed may require re-bedding.
Water Softener Excessive Salt Usage: If the softener is using more salt than normal, it might indicate a problem with the system’s regeneration settings, a leak in the brine tank, a malfunctioning control valve, or a clogged pilot screen. Check for visible leaks and assess the valve for any issues.
Water Softener Ineffective Regeneration: This can be caused by a number of reasons, such as a blocked ejector orifice, a clogged drain line, or bad resin to name a few. While blockages can be cleared, the ineffective resin may require a replacement.
Water Softener Resin Bead Loss: Resin beads in the softened water usually signal a broken distribution system or a backwash flow rate that is either too high or too low. Inspect the backwash flow control and distribution system for any damages and make necessary adjustments or replacements.
Water Softener Significant Pressure Drop: This can be caused by a number of reasons. If the resin is older, it becomes less firm and a higher pressure drop is seen through the resin bed. High air pressure inside the softener can stop water from flowing. In this case, opening a bleeder on the softener may solve the flow issue by depressuring the softener. Depending on the cause lengthy steps may have to be taken. Potentially a pipe inside the softener or the backwash flow controller could be plugged. In some cases, a piece of plastic may have slipped in from emptying salt bags and covered up a distributor or flow controller. In this scenario, check the backwash flow controller and if that isn’t the cause, the media would have to be cleared out of the tank and a person would have to retrieve the blockage.

Be Proactive

Regular maintenance can substantially extend the lifespan of your industrial water softeners and ensure they function optimally. More complex issues should always be addressed by a Nancrede Engineering professional to ensure accurate diagnosis and repair.

By adopting proactive strategies such as Nancrede Engineering’s preventative maintenance and training plan and recognizing the common signs of malfunction, you can maintain the high-quality water necessary for your industrial operations. This not only ensures seamless production processes but also mitigates long-term operational costs, promoting efficiency and profitability in your business. If you are still struggling with your industrial water softener troubleshooting, we recommend that you contact Nancrede Engineering for consultation.