How to Rebed Your Water Softener
The water softener resin inside your water softener will eventually need to be replaced. The resin will become exhausted and have a much weaker capacity for removing hardness, or it can simply be fouled due to high levels of iron, sulphide, organics etc. In some cases, you can rebed your water softener with new water softener resin so that it may continue to soften your water for many years to come.
Bypass the Softener and Disconnect The Plumbing
Most Water Softeners have a set of bypass valves in between the connection to your houses plumbing. Close this bypass and remove the softener from your plumbing. This is normally done by turning a valve or pushing cylinder. Once in bypass, disconnect the softener from the bypass valve. Removing the softener from the bypass is usually achieved by unscrewing a big plastic collar which secures the softener to the bypass.
Opening Up the Softener
Professional grade water softeners use screw on control valves (water softener heads). The male threaded end of the head screws into the female threaded fiber wound tank (water softener tank). Unscrew the water softener head by grabbing ahold of the front and the back of the control valve body and spin the valve counter-clockwise. Make sure that you do not grab the control valve front display or LCD screen as it could damage or break. Unscrew the water softener head untill it is out of the thread and gently lift the control valve up. You will see that the water softener head is attatched to a plastic tube known as the riser. Get a good grip of the riser and seperate it from the softener head by lifting the head upwards slowly.
Removing the Old Resin
Take a Shop Vaccuum and vaccuum up any old resin and water that is currently in the softener tank. Once the bulk of the resin has been removed while using a shop vaccuum, pull the riser out and put it aside. Pour some water into the tank and shake the tank around until you are able to remove the resin located on the sides of the tank. In certain cases, it may be viable to add bleach to your water mixture and shake the tank in order to better sterilize the tank. Rinse out the water and/or bleach and move on to cleaning the riser and upper basket if there is one. Inspect the riser tube and lower basket for any cracks or weakened parts. Cracks will allow resin to blow through the softener and leak into the rest of your house. Also inspect the upper basket which may be located on your water softener head. If no cracks are discovered, vaccuum the riser and upper basket until they are rid of any old resin.
Adding the New Resin
Insert the riser untill it hits the receeded bottom of the softener tank and cover the top of the riser tube with some tape. Grab a funnel that will fit inside the opening of the softener tank and a cup or pitcher to pour the resin in. Take a scoop of resin and steadily pour the new water softener resin inside the water softener tank. Keep adding the necessary amount of water softener resin and make sure to leave enough freeboard room between the resin and the top of the tank.
Plumb In and Start Up
Re-install the water softener and plumb everything back in, but make sure you leave the softener in bypass mode. The new water softener resin may contain some fractured resin or colouring that you do not want to allow into your plumbing. Initiate a regeneration and step the regeneration through untill your softener is in the backwash stage. Slowly open the bypass valve as to not shock the softener with air. Once the valves are fully opened, your softener will flush out the weaker resin. Once the backwash is complete, start your water softener through a full proper regeneration cycle.