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I bought a Hague WaterMax 63BAQ used water softener about two years ago. It didn't work until a few days ago when I had a specialist come fix it. (see this post Any idea what parts were replaced on my water softener?)

So being a new water softener user and excited about my 'new' water softener I have some questions..

1) My water softener was sitting there for about 2-3 years, and in the brine tank there are crystals all over (see the picture). How do I clean these and what are they called?

2) The lid was off - there are floaters (random trashy things) floating in there, I removed them, is that the proper procedure? I'm assuming because I have the lid back on it things won't get in there as much.

3) Are there any general maintenence / cleaning tasks I will need to perform? Apparently the technician said that the only thing we'd need to do is add a resin cleaner from time to time. Is that correct? The manual says that

"Your appliance may be disinfected with 5.25% sodium hypochlorite, which is the active ingredient in household chlorine bleach. To disinfect your appliance, add 4.0 fluid ounces of chlorine bleach solution to the brine will of the brine tank. The brine tank should have water in it to carry the solution into the appliance. Start a manual regeneration."

4) After uploading the picture I also realized that i'm very low on salt. I know that it was potassium tablets put in there, I read in the manual you should not mix them. Should I remove them or wait for the potassium pellets to dissolve? I want to switch to the sodium / salt ones. What is the proper procedure?

Sorry for the many questions, thanks in advance...

White Crystal film enter image description here

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Do you have reason to suspect the white crystals in your brine tank are anything other than salt? –  BMitch Jul 19 '13 at 11:30
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1 Answer

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1) The crystals are most likely deposits left from the evaporation of water that used to be in the tank (as you mentioned, you had the lid off). As the water evaporated, the dissolved minerals transitioned into their natural crystalline structure, which is attractive to the dissolved minerals -- rinse and repeat and you have a larger crystal structure adhered to the wall.

2) You could -- but from the look, my personal preference would be to empty it and give it a good and thorough cleaning.

3) A thorough cleaning once a year is often recommended. Is it necessary? Maybe not, but it couldn't hurt anything either. I'm sure your owner's manual outlines a deep cleaning procedure, but if not, there are a number of resources on the internet.

Regarding the disinfection -- I would follow the manufacturers recommendations. You should use a fragrence-free bleach. Store-brand bleaches often have less additives than Clorox, which is good when the use is "food"-related. Clorox uses additives which aid in the removal of soils (things like caustic soda, soda ash), surfactants, and other ingredients to help prevent stains (sodium polyacrylate). 4 oz does seem a bit much, but the manufacturer would know better than me what should be used.

4) I'm not sure why your manual does not recommend the mixture of potassium chloride and sodium chloride -- these are mixed in water softeners quite often to decrease the saltiness of the drinking water and save a bit of money. My vote is, when in doubt, follow the manufacturers recommendations -- they only spent millions developing the thing (of course, they would also like to make money when you need to replace it, so it's a bit of a double-edged sword).

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