Installing a water softener in your mobile home can seem like a daunting task, but it’s actually a straightforward process that you can tackle yourself with the right planning and materials. A water softener is an important investment that will improve the quality of your home’s water by reducing mineral buildup and eliminating limescale on fixtures and pipes. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the entire process of selecting, purchasing, and installing a water softener tailored for your mobile home.
Why Install a Water Softener in a Mobile Home?
There are several key reasons why installing a water softener is beneficial for mobile homes:
- Prevents scale buildup – Hard water contains high levels of calcium and magnesium that cause limescale deposits on plumbing fixtures, pipes, and appliances. A water softener prevents this by removing the minerals.
- Protects appliances – Scale buildup can damage water heaters, washing machines, dishwashers and other appliances. Soft water keeps them functioning properly.
- Improves personal hygiene – Hard water leaves behind soap scum and makes it harder to lather. Soft water allows soap and shampoos to suds up better.
- Enhances cleaning power – Detergents dissolve and activate better with soft water, improving cleaning ability. Less soap scum also makes cleaning easier.
- Increases lifespan of pipes – Scale buildup in pipes eventually leads to clogging. Soft water avoids corrosion and prolongs the lifespan of plumbing.
- Saves money – With all the benefits above, a water softener saves you money in cleaning products, appliance repairs and replacements, and plumbing bills.
Choosing the Right Water Softener
Selecting the appropriate water softener for your mobile home is the first critical step. Here are the key factors to consider:
- Water hardness – Test your water’s grain per gallon (gpg) hardness level. The harder your water, the larger capacity softener you need.
- Household size – The number of residents in your home affects daily water usage. Size your softener to handle enough water for your needs.
- Space available – Measure where you want to install it. The softener system requires floor space and a nearby power outlet.
- Budget – Water softener costs range from $200 for a small salt-free unit up to $2,000 for a large whole house system.
- Features – Consider convenience factors like salt-free options, electronic controls, and wifi monitoring.
Once you’ve determined your needs, select a water softener sized appropriately for your household’s water hardness level and daily water usage. Optimal softening comes from correctly sized units.
Water Softener Types
There are two main types of water softeners to choose from:
Salt-based ion exchange – This traditional type uses sodium or potassium salt during its ion exchange process to remove calcium and magnesium ions by replacing them with sodium or potassium. Salt-based softeners are the most economical choice for whole home systems.
Salt-free water conditioners – These newer options use filtration media like ceramic balls or magnetic coils to physically attract and neutralize mineral ions. Salt-free softeners don’t eliminate minerals but do reduce their effects. They’re best for minor hard water issues.
Salt-free conditioners have benefits like lower installation costs and being eco-friendly and low maintenance. But for severely hard water, a salt-based softener is typically the better solution.
Where to Install a Water Softener
The ideal installation location for your water softener depends on your mobile home’s layout. Here are key factors to consider:
- Near the main water supply line – For easiest plumbing connections.
- Accessible floor space – For salt bag storage and servicing needs.
- Well-ventilated – Avoid small enclosed spaces.
- Won’t freeze – Can’t be located outdoors or in uninsulated areas.
- Near a drain – For the brine tank overflow line.
- Grounded electric outlet – To plug in the softener’s power transformer.
Many mobile homes have limited space, so measure carefully before purchasing to ensure your softener model and placement location will work. Clearing out closet space or installing in the laundry room are common mobile home options.
Water Softener Installation Steps
Once you have the right water softener model for your mobile home and a suitable location picked, follow these key steps to properly install it:
Gather Necessary Plumbing Supplies
You will need:
- Bypass valve to control water flow during installation
- Inlet and outlet hoses with matching fittings
- Extra tubing, clamps, teflon tape, and rubber gaskets
- Shut-off wrench to disconnect water lines
- Basic hand tools like pliers, screwdrivers, cutoff tool
Turn Off Water Supply and Drain Pipes
Protect yourself and your home by shutting off the main water valve and opening taps to drain the lines in the area you’ll be working on.
Disconnect Existing Water Supply Lines
Use the shut-off wrench to detach the cold water supply line from the main valve in preparation for connecting it to the softener.
Mount Bypass Valve
Attach the bypass valve to the inlet and outlet of the water line. This allows you to bypass the softener if needed for maintenance.
Attach Inlet and Outlet Hoses
Connect the inlet hose from the bypass valve to the softener’s inlet fitting. Connect the outlet hose from the softener outlet to the home’s plumbing.
Install Brine Tank
Place the brine tank near the softener. Attach the brine line from softener to the tank’s safety float valve. Run the overflow drain line to a suitable drain or outside.
Connect Drain Line
Run the softener’s main drain hose to a nearby laundry or floor drain. This will flush out brine solution during regeneration cycles.
Reconnect Water Supply
With all connections made, turn your main water supply back on slowly and check for leaks.
Add Salt and Sanitizer
Pour rock salt into the brine tank and add sanitizer as recommended. This prepares the softener for initial regeneration.
Program the Settings
Set your desired water hardness level, regeneration schedule and other preferences in the softener’s computer control panel.
Perform Initial Regeneration Cycle
Run the softener through an initial full cycle by hand to flush the unit. Verify proper drainage.
Bypass and Test Hardness
With your softener fully connected, take final hardness readings of taps both with the unit bypassed and online to confirm it’s working.
Maintaining Your Water Softener
Once successfully installed, just a few ongoing maintenance steps will keep your water softener running smoothly:
- Check salt levels – Ensure the brine tank always has adequate salt, refilling it as needed. Use only special water softener salt.
- Test water hardness – Periodically test taps both before and after the softener with test strips to ensure optimal softening.
- Sanitize annually – Use sanitizer kits yearly to keep the softener’s resin bed germ-free and operating efficiently.
- Clean brine tank – Occasionally flush out any salt bridge buildup from the brine tank. Check the safety float.
- Replace filters – For salt-free softeners, replace the filter media like ceramic balls per the manufacturer’s schedule.
- Watch for leaks – Inspect fittings, hoses and connections to make sure no leaks have developed. Fix immediately if found.
Following the steps in this guide, you can successfully size, purchase and install a water softener tailored for your mobile home. A properly functioning water softener will improve your home’s water quality, protect plumbing and appliances, and reduce cleaning hassles. Just be sure to clean and maintain your softener regularly so it continues providing all these residential benefits year after year.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the benefits of a water softener for a mobile home?
Installing a water softener provides many benefits for a mobile home, including preventing scale buildup, protecting appliances, improving personal hygiene, enhancing cleaning power, increasing lifespan of pipes, and saving money on household costs.
What factors should I consider when choosing a water softener?
Key factors are your water’s hardness level, household size, installation space available, budget, and convenience features like salt-free options or electronic controls. Size the softener appropriately for your home’s needs.
What are the main types of water softeners?
The two main types are salt-based ion exchange softeners that remove mineral ions and replace them with sodium or potassium, and salt-free water conditioners that use filtration media to neutralize hardness minerals.
Where is the best location to install a water softener?
Ideal installation spots are near the main water supply line, with ample floor space, good ventilation, protection from freezing, proximity to a drain, and a nearby electrical outlet.
What plumbing supplies do I need to install a water softener?
You’ll need a bypass valve, inlet and outlet hoses, tubing, clamps, teflon tape, rubber gaskets, shut-off wrench, and basic hand tools like pliers and screwdrivers.
How do I maintain my water softener properly?
Check salt levels, test water hardness periodically, sanitize the unit yearly, clean the brine tank, replace filters if a salt-free softener, and inspect for leaks. Proper maintenance keeps it working optimally.
Can I install a water softener myself or do I need a professional?
If you are fairly handy and have plumbing experience, you can install a water softener yourself by following the steps outlined in this guide. Otherwise, hire a professional installer.
What is the average cost to install a water softener?
A typical installed cost often ranges from $1,200-$2,000 for the unit and professional installation fees. DIY installs cost $500-$1,000 just for the softener itself.
How long does a water softener last?
On average, a properly maintained water softener will last between 15-20 years. The resin bed may need replacing halfway through the lifespan. Higher quality units can last up to 25 years.
Are water softeners bad for septic systems?
No, water softeners are actually beneficial for septic systems. The added sodium from the softener regenerations helps break down waste in the septic tank. Just be sure to use only septic-safe salt.
Installing a water softener tailored for your mobile home provides a wide range of residential benefits by removing hardness minerals and preventing their problematic buildup. This guide covers how to determine your mobile home’s needs, choose the right water softener type and size, pick an optimal installation location, and follow the steps for proper DIY installation and ongoing maintenance.
With some planning and preparation, you can successfully outfit your mobile home with a water softening system that will improve your home life through better appliance functioning, easier cleaning, and enhanced water quality flowing from every tap. The project is a worthwhile investment that pays ongoing dividends through reduced household hassles and costs.
- Water softeners prevent scale buildup, protect appliances, improve hygiene and cleaning, and prolong pipe lifespan.
- Size the softener based on household water hardness level and daily usage needs.
- Salt-based ion exchange softeners are best for severely hard water issues.
- Install the softener near water lines and power but away from freezing temperatures.
- Carefully follow installation steps for inlet/outlet lines, drain line, brine tank and programming.
- Maintain through regular salt replenishment, hardness testing, sanitizing and inspection.