How to Get Rid of Amber-Colored Beads in Your Plumbing

If you have a water softener connected to your home’s plumbing system, you might notice amber-colored beads appearing in the toilet, sink and other fixtures at some point. These beads are called water softener resin, and while they’re not toxic, they can clog up your plumbing system. In today’s post, local plumbing and HVAC contractor McLay Services shares how to get rid of water softener resin in your pipes.

How Water Softeners Work

A typical water softener system consists of two tanks. One contains brine or saltwater, and the other contains water softener resin, which are beads covered with sodium ions. As hard water flows into the treatment tank, the beads create a reaction that swaps the sodium ions with the calcium and magnesium ions found in hard water. Treated water is then piped into the home’s plumbing system. The sodium ions in the beads are “restored” using the brine. This process can be started manually or as an automated process that typically occurs when the water softener isn’t in use.

How Does Resin Get Into the Plumbing System?

The resin beads are held in place in the treatment tank by a membrane that prevents the beads from flowing freely. If this membrane breaks, however, the beads can go wherever the treated water goes, which could be to virtually any water fixture in the house. While the resin beads do break down over time, they don’t readily dissolve, and therefore will likely cause clogging.

What Should You Do?

Before you call a plumbing and air conditioning professional, check your water softener’s user guide. Some models are designed to be maintained by the user and may have written procedures that explain how to flush out resin beads. The typical flushing process requires bypassing the water softener then flushing the water heater, followed by running all kitchen and bathroom fixtures, including the dishwasher and washing machine.

If you’re unsure how to do this, you can call on professionals to do it for you. One advantage of working with plumbers like us who offer heating and air conditioning services as well is that, in addition to water heaters, we know how to service heating systems that utilize hot water for distributing heat.

Call McLay for Your Plumbing & Air Conditioning Needs

McLay Services is your leading provider of plumbing and air conditioning repair services. Give us a call at (909) 392-2202. You can also fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment. We serve customers in Pomona and Claremont, CA.

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