How to Use Your Water Softener’s Bypass Valve

More likely than not, the best water softener for your home is going to boast a high efficiency rating. These units are great because they use less salt (and often less water) to turn your hard tap water into soft water. At some point, though, you might actually want to turn your system off. That’s where the bypass valve comes in. These nifty switches can make your efficient unit even more cost-effective!

About the Bypass Valve

You’ll typically find the bypass valves where your water softener connects to your home’s main water pipes. When the bypass valve is turned on, water is directed away from your softener unit. That’s why some people prefer to use their bypass valve when they know they’ll be using a lot of water outside. Soft water is great for indoor appliances and washing laundry, but it’s not exactly the “green” choice for lawn care. By using hard tap water for those high-water chores, you’re able to control your unit’s efficiency even more. Because water doesn’t run through the softener when the bypass is on, your softener won’t need to recharge, refill, or filter all that outdoor water. It even helps the salt in your softener last a lot longer.

When to Use It

You can also turn the bypass valve on if you’re having problems with your unit. The bypass setting will keep water out of the softener system until your repairs can be made. You’ll still to be able to get water indoors—like for running the dishwasher or flushing the toilet—but it’s left untreated. Of course, you don’t have to rely on a bypass valve for watering your plants. Your best option for water conservation is probably to keep a rain barrel. By collecting naturally-soft rain water throughout the week, you’ll always have access to a “free” water supply for your garden! That way, you get the best of both worlds—an efficient softener unit for your water indoors, and an environmentally-friendly water source for your outdoor use. At the end of the day, the bypass valve is just another way to make your water softener even more energy-efficient. It allows you to control when your softener runs, and when you can do without it. By understanding the features on your own water unit, it really is easy and affordable to get the water you want at every tap!