We moved into our house last summer. The water in our area is pretty hard, so we have a water softener for the house. The water softener has an impeller attached to it to meter the water and regenerate after a certain amount of water is used. Our furnace also has a humidifier attached to it, which is fed by post-water-softener water.
After the weather started getting cold last year, we turned on the humidifier. We then started having problems with our water softener - it was being used up before it was time to regenerate. After a few weeks I realized the humidifier might be at fault and shut it off. The water softener problem went away.
I suspect that the trickle of water used by the softener was not enough to turn the impeller attached to the softener, and over the course of multiple days might have consumed numerous gallons of softened water (I'm not sure how much the humidifier actually uses).
So, the questions:
- Could this indeed be the problem?
- Is there a solution for this?
- Could there possibly be another cause?
I could move the water source for the humidifier to be before the water softener, but then the humidifier may get gunked up over time. However, the softener water seemed to crust up the humidifier's insert with salt, so ...
I should also mention that about a month ago we had to have the stuff inside the softener changed and the valve overhauled - it hadn't had maintenance for probably 15 years. The impeller would be this old, too.