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You need to figure out whether the water softener should be placed before or after the water heater. Then you need to check the general and specific installation requirements for both appliances. And finally, you must check the plumbing of the house and the heater’s anode rod regularly to make sure there is no excess damage.
Placing Your Water Softener Before Or After Your Water Heater
Deciding whether to place the water softener before or after the water heater can be a tricky one. You will find advice for both ends and the decision is based on your plumbing situation.
When the ion exchange takes place in a water softener, the calcium and magnesium in the water are exchanged for sodium. Now, if you place your water heater after the softener, it will receive water that has sodium, which is an excellent conductor of electricity.
An average water heater lasts for 8 to 12 years. The problem that most people encounter is that the tank gets corroded. This tank contains an anode rod that absorbs metals and protects the lining in the tank from corrosion.
But when it receives water that is rich in sodium from a softener, the anode rod wears off sooner than it should. That’s because sodium increases the speed of the tank’s decay by five times.
Now, ideally, the water softener should be as close to the main source of water supply as possible. This is because you want to remove the hard metals from damaging the plumbing by causing metal buildup from the hard water. But if you place the water softener after the heater, it will receive boiling hot water, which is not good for its internal components.
Can You Put Softened Water In A Heating System?
You can. But it is best to see if you can fill the primary circuit with unsoftened water through the bypass valve. This way, the sodium-rich water won’t cause corrosion sooner than it should.
Should Water Softener Be Hooked Up To Hot Or Cold Water?
A lot of people tend to soften all the water coming into the house. But you don’t need to do that for cold water taps like toilets and basement sinks. So, you can choose to hook it only to hot water taps.
Get The Installation Requirements Right
Apart from getting the equipment in the right order, you should also get the specifications right. This is because the needs of every household are different. However, you will always need to make sure that:
- At the inlet, you receive three gallons per minutes
- The maximum water pressure is 125 PSI
- A water softener has adequate power coming from a 120-volt outlet
- There is circuit breaker protection for the softener system
- If you are using an extension cord, it’s a 20 AWG replacement cord for appliances (when applicable)
Inspect The Heater’s Anode Rod Regularly
Whether you place the water softener before or after the water heater, you now know if the bigger problem is hard water or corrosion due to soft water. If you placed the softener before the heater, you will need to check the anode rod regularly to make sure the wear and tear hasn’t taken it down.
Inspect The Plumbing Regularly
If the softener is placed after the heater, you need to check the plumbing to make sure that the minerals coming from the hard water are not causing a buildup in the lines that might clog the water heater components.
Your situation might not be the same as your other friends or family members. So, place your water softener before or after the heater based on the problem you are trying to solve.