1. It’s not using salt. Water systems likes water softeners and water conditioners require regenerates such as salt (sodium chloride) or salt substitutes(potassium chloride) to remove hardness and iron from your water. If your current system hasn’t been using salt for an unusual amount of time, it is not functioning properly and needs service immediately.
2. You’re experiencing signs of hard water. Have a softener but still getting deposits on your faucets and fixtures? Chances are it’s not working properly. Unless you have water at or above 100 gpm/1713ppm(10 times what the U.S. Department of the Interior considers “extremely hard” water), your water should not show signs of deposits when your softener/conditioner is working.
3. Water is constantly running through or from your softener. If your system sounds like it is constantly running, it is most likely stuck in a stage in the softening process. A lot of old and unfortunately some new systems function using a lot of moving parts, and those systems tend to wear down much quicker than some newer technology out there.
4. Your hot water feels/tastes/smells different than your cold water. If your hot water feels or smells hard, chances are your system is not working properly. Most of the time, when this is the case, your system is set at the wrong capacity and you are running out of soft water before it has a chance to regenerate. If you do not know how to set the capacity on your unit properly, call a local water professional.
5. You are on city water and your water appears yellow, peach, orange, grey or even brown in color. Chlorine is put in municipal water to kill bacteria. Unfortunately, it is a known carcinogen that is also very destructive to metals and plastics. The resin used in the ionic exchange process on the inside of your softener is usually a yellow or black color. Prolonged exposure to this chlorine can break down and dissolve the resin, creating a disgusting goo on the inside of the softener. There are systems out there (Watermax BEQ, HCIII-25CX) that remove the chlorine before the softener. This is the best way to keep your system working longterm on water with chlorine in it.