Finding water softener resin beads in your pipes can be alarming. These small, bead-like particles floating through your water system indicate an issue with your water softener. But how did the resin beads end up in your pipes in the first place?
In this article, we'll examine the causes of water softener resin leakage and steps you can take to remedy the issue.
What Are Water Softener Resin Beads?
Water softener resin beads are small, spherical plastic beads contained within your water softener's mineral tank. The beads attract and cling to the hard mineral ions in your water supply like calcium and magnesium. This process removes the minerals and softens your water.
The resin beads are kept in the mineral tank through screens and valves. However, damage or malfunctions can sometimes cause beads to become dislodged and leak into your home's water supply. Finding resin beads coming through your faucets or shower head is a clear sign your water softener needs repair.
How Do Water Softener Resin Beads Get into Pipes?
There are a few potential causes for resin beads ending up in your plumbing:
Broken Screens or Gaskets
The screens and gaskets designed to hold resin beads in the mineral tank can become damaged over time. Cracks or tears can allow beads to leak through. Wear and tear, mineral buildup, or age are common culprits.
Refilling the resin tank after regeneration without the proper precautions can wash some beads down the drain into your pipes. Opening valves before the resin bed has settled can also lead to backwashing and leakage.
Resin Tank Failure
In some cases, a full resin tank failure due to cracks or broken fittings leads to a sudden, heavy leakage of beads into the system. This may be preceded by symptoms like reduced water pressure or flow.
Bead Build Up
Over time, bead fouling can restrict water flow in the softener. This excess pressure can dislodge beads past worn screens and gaskets. Regular resin cleaning and replacement helps avoid build up issues.
Dangers of Water Softener Resin in Pipes
While plastic resin beads themselves aren’t harmful to ingest, their presence in your water system can cause several problems:
Plumbing System Damage
The beads can get stuck and accumulate in faucet aerators, shower heads, and other constricted points in the plumbing. This causes clogs and restrictions requiring disassembly and cleaning.
Resin Bed Contamination
Once resin beads escape the mineral tank, they can no longer soften your water supply as intended. The resin bed needs to be fully replaced for the softener to work correctly.
Potential Bacteria Growth
Stagnant beads collecting in pipe corners or dead spaces provide area for bacteria growth. This may lead to unpleasant odors or tastes, and could potentially cause health issues if ingested.
As more and more beads accumulate, they can significantly reduce water pressure and flow to fixtures. This may affect the availability or temperature of hot water.
How to Remove Water Softener Resin Beads
Getting resin beads out of your plumbing system involves:
Run all faucets, shower heads and other water outlets at full flow for several minutes. This will help flush out any loose beads in the pipes. Repeat periodically to clear any new beads dislodged from the softener.
Installing inline strainers before fixtures can catch many escaping beads. However, the strainers must be diligently monitored and cleaned to prevent clogging.
Water Softener Repair
To fully resolve the issue, your water softener unit needs to be repaired to stop further bead leakage. Replacing gaskets and screens or rebuilding the resin tank will help secure the beads.
For major resin leakage or softener malfunction, seek professional water treatment service for inspection and repairs. Technicians have the skills and tools to correctly diagnose issues and perform necessary repairs.
Trust Aqua-Wise for Water Softener Repairs
If you’ve found water softener beads coming through your pipes, call the experts at Aqua-Wise Water Treatment Solutions for service. For over 25 years, we have provided Tampa area homes reliable, professional water softener repairs, replacements, and maintenance.
Our skilled technicians will properly inspect your unit and plumbing to determine the cause of resin leakage. We'll make all necessary repairs to stop beads from escaping into your pipes. We offer residential water softener repair services across Tampa, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, and surrounding areas.
Schedule your service today or call 727-236-7161 for water softener repairs. Invest in keeping your water system and plumbing running clean and clear.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are resin beads made of?
Resin beads are made from polystyrene plastic polymers. The beads have a slight electrostatic charge that attracts positively charged mineral ions.
Are resin beads harmful to ingest?
The plastic resin beads themselves are non-toxic if accidentally swallowed. However, their presence may allow bacteria growth which could cause illness if ingested.
Why is my water softener leaking beads?
Damaged screens/gaskets, improper refilling, resin fouling, and tank failure are common reasons for resin bead leakage into plumbing pipes.
How can I prevent resin beads from escaping?
Routine water softener maintenance like gasket replacement and resin cleaning coupled with professional repairs at signs of trouble can prevent bead leakage.
Will resin beads damage my hot water heater?
While not directly damaging, beads collecting in the heater’s air intake can cause flow issues. They may also allow bacterial growth inside the tank over time.
Invest in keeping your water softener and plumbing in great shape. Contact the pros at Aqua-Wise Water Treatment Solutions in Tampa today for repairs!