Flushing Water Softener Resin from Your Pipes

Dori Wittrig February 8, 2021

Some homeowners in Fountain Hills like to use water softeners to make their water feel slick and to reduce mineral build-up. But water softeners can create problems and require regular maintenance to protect your water heater and pipes. One of the biggest problems shows up in the form of yellow resin beads.
What are these and how do they get there?
Your water softener has resin beads inside a brine tank that do all the work. These beads need to be cleaned every few weeks and that is where the salt pellets that you add come in. The softener uses the sodium in a cleaning process that takes place at night while you sleep to regenerate the beads for continued use.
These non-toxic beads of resin are made of polystyrene, also known as “ion exchange resin beads”. They are incredibly tiny, measuring only 0.3 to 1.2 mm in size. You may be familiar with polystyrene in its foam form, something we call Styrofoam.
We will spare you the technical description of how it works to soften your water, but suffice it to say that over time, these beads sustain damage and break down, or the membrane that holds them becomes damaged. These membranes do not last forever. When this happens, they escape their holding tank and leak into your pipes.
You may not even be aware of the resin build-up in your plumbing, although you would know for sure if there is a reduction in your water pressure or if you find tiny yellow beads in your toilet, sink, or bathtub.
If you suspect resin build-up, your plumbing system will need to be flushed. The first thing you should do is put your water softener into Bypass Mode to prevent water from running through it and dragging more resin into your pipes. Next, we recommend that you hire a professional plumber to flush out your plumbing system.
For Fountain Hills and Verdes residents, we recommend Aqua Pro. You can call them at 480-837-2229.

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