Have you decided to buy a water softener? A crucial thing to think about is where to install it. Some systems are a and can take up a lot of space – space you might not have inside your home. Outdoor installation may seem preferable.
However, keep in mind that you will need an outdoor water softener enclosure or at least a cover if you want to install it outside of your home. Let’s find out more about it.
Can A Water Softener Be Installed Outside?
It’s complicated. Technically, you can. However, exposure to elements is not conducive to longevity. While most manufacturers advise that the ideal location for a water softener is at ground level near the water’s point of entry into the house, they also advise you to avoid outdoor installation if possible.
In ideal conditions, you should install the system in a shed or basement, somewhere protected from sun, rain, wind, and adverse temperatures.
Is There Any Law?
Although there are no laws that stop you from installing a water softener outside of your home, some states banned the use of salt-based water softeners. For instance, water softeners that use sodium or potassium salts and discharge salt solutions into sewer lines are prohibited in California and Texas.
The reason these systems are illegal in some parts of the country is that the salt brines resulting from the regeneration cycle can negatively impact the environment. Furthermore, water softeners also waste gallons of water, an aspect that may concern authorities.
Consider Outdoor Conditions
Salt or saltless, there is no such thing as an outdoor water softener. In fact, most manufacturers would advise against it, and in some cases, placing the system outdoors may void its warranty.
However, if you have little to no indoor space, here are some crucial things to consider.
Before deciding where to place your water softener, consider the temperatures in your area. Most water softeners are made of robust materials that can withstand most temperatures, but sudden temperature changes can affect durability.
The primary temperature consideration is the freezing risk. If you live in a colder climate area, consider building an insulated outdoor water softener enclosure if you can’t install the system in a basement or garage.
Remember that the water softeners’ resin tanks are generally made of fiberglass, a material with poor insulation properties. Low temperatures may cause the water to freeze, causing temporary blockages in the best case and damaging the entire water softener in the worst-case scenario.
If you don’t want to build an enclosure, you should buy a neoprene water softener cover and check the system regularly throughout the winter.
Sunlight is another element to consider before installing your water softener outdoors. Exposure to UV rays can deteriorate the resin bed and weaken any plastic or composite components. Over time, they may become brittle and will break easily.
Where Should You Install a Home Water Softener?
You should install a home water softener at ground level, as close as possible near the water’s point of entry into the house.
If you also want to install a whole-house water filtration system, you should install the softener after the filter on the pipeline – removing chlorine and other contaminants before softening the water can increase the softener’s lifespan.
Even though the softener should be installed near the water’s entry point, you can position it indoors, in a basement or garage.
If an outdoor installation is the only possible solution, you can:
- Install the water softener underground: Burying the water softener is a common practice. This procedure reduces exposure to elements, keeping the system from freezing, and you can protect the expensive equipment from theft. The main downside is that you’ll have to dig it out for maintenance. Tree or bush roots can also damage the system or make it hard to access it.
- Use an outdoor water softener enclosure: These are essentially cabinets designed to protect your system from elements. Some enclosures are insulated, whereas others are not. They are all waterproof, though. If you want to buy an outdoor enclosure, options vary from plastic to metal cabinets. Alternatively, you can build it yourself.
- Use a water softener cover: If you live in a warmer climate and freezing temperatures are not a risk, you can install a water softener outdoors and use a special cover to protect it from elements. These covers are generally made of canvas or polyurethane fabric and are waterproof. You may also find neoprene covers that could be a more appropriate solution during winter.
How to Winterize a Water Softener?
If you live in a milder climate where the weather doesn’t get extremely cold, you might not have to winterize your water softener. Insulating the pipes and tank with a water softener cover or installing the system in an enclosure will suffice.
However, if the softener is installed in an area where it could freeze, you must winterize it to protect it from potential damage.
If you live in a cold climate and want to keep using your water softener throughout the winter, install it indoors or inside a very well insulated enclosure.
To winterize your softener, follow the quick steps below:
- Locate the main water valve and shut it off to stop the water supply to the softener.
- Open a faucet inside your home to vent pressure in the system.
- Move the step to the bypass valve or close the inlet and outlet valves (depending on the water softener model). You can now turn the water back on if you want to water in the rest of the house.
- Unplug the water softener’s transformer from the wall outlet.
- Separate the softener from the bypass valve or adapters, then remove and disconnect the brine well.
- Tip the brine well upside down to drain the water, then gently place the softener on the wooden support or floor to drain the brine tank and the other system parts.
- After you’ve drained all water from the system, cover it with a water softener cover and store it over winter in an enclosed space.
What is the Best Water Softener Cover to Use Outdoors?
Whether you want a cover to protect the system from elements or to keep it in pristine conditions during winter, the Covers & All Store is the best water softener cover you can get. The product is made from heavy-duty synthetic fabric. It is waterproof and snowproof and provides 100% protection against UV light.
Suitable for protecting your water softener while in use, the cover is breathable and provided with side air pockets that promote ventilation.
This water softener cover comes in various sizes and suits most water softeners on the market. If your system doesn’t have a standard size, you can order a custom cover. Cleaning and maintaining it is easy, and handles allow for seamless fitting.
Most water softener brands recommend installing their products indoors. Some may void warranty if you don’t follow this recommendation.
That said, installing your water softener outdoors is possible, as long as you live in a milder climate or take all steps to winterize your system during the colder months. If you opt for outdoor installation, a water softener cover can help you prolong your product’s lifespan.