Plumbing Fixtures Clogged By Water Softener Resin Beads
We were called to diagnose and resolve some plumbing issues at a 10,000 square foot house. The plumbing problems all related to the generic term of low water pressure. One of the key pieces of evidence was that the problem was universal throughout the house and not limited to any one fixture or area. So what should you do?
Check the big picture items like the main water meter and any secondary valves (like those found in a garage that shut off water to the entire house). If these valves are fully opened, you might check the PRV (pressure reducing valve). After snooping around, we decided to have a look at a fixture. After turning on the bathtub, there were tiny beads coming out of the tub spout. This was a dead giveaway that the water softener had ruptured.
The softener has resin beads that are inside a membrane. These resin beads play a vital role in exchanging salt for minerals and hardness in the water. However, when the membrane breaks that holds these resin beads in place, they are free to travel wherever the flow of water takes them. In this case, to every faucet, shower, bathtub, and toilet that were used prior to the problem being diagnosed.
If this happens to you, immediately go to the water softener and engage the bypass valve. This is found at the rear of the piping behind the softener and will completely bypass the softener. In effect, it is like no softener is installed. Your only option to once again have soft water is to replace the unit.
To repair the plumbing clogs, you will need to go to every affected plumbing fixture and remove the resin beads.