Soft water is commonly known for its benefits over hard water, but the softening of the water in your dishwasher can cause several different problems.
The calcium and magnesium in hard water are responsible for building up inside your machine, which then causes it to work less efficiently.
This results in several different issues that you may need to troubleshoot, which will be explained in more detail below.
Soft Water Problems With Dishwashers
1. Calcium Buildup
If you have hard water, calcium buildup is one of the first problems that you should look out for inside your machine.
This buildup occurs because the detergent cannot dissolve properly in your soft water and results in chunks of undissolved soap sitting on various parts of your machine and plate.
The calcium buildup can begin to clog the water jets and sprayer arms, which results in poor cleaning performance. It is recommended that you use a pretreatment product, before each load to help prevent this problem.
2. Excessive Foaming OrBubbles
Another problem that commonly occurs with soft water is excessive foaming or bubbles. This is because the calcium and magnesium are important components of your dishwater detergent, which are great for producing sudsing action to help remove food particles from your dishes.
Because you have too much calcium in your machine, it is unable to perform this function in soft water, which results in bubbles.
This problem is quite common in high efficiency machines, because the higher the efficiency rating of your machine, often means that you are using less soap.
3. Machine Will Not Fill With Water
The next common issue that can occur within your dishwasher is that the machine will not fill with water. This is a common issue in any dishwasher, but it can occur even more frequently in soft water machines.
If you have a hard time hearing your motor running or if you notice that your dishes are not being cleaned as well as they used to be, then this may be due to your machine’s inability to fill with water.
4. Machine Leaks Water
One of the common issues that you may encounter with your dishwasher is leaks due to calcium build up inside your machine.
When too much calcium builds up on the gasket around the door, it will prevent it from sealing properly and result in leaking during operation.
This can be visible from the outside of your dishwasher, but you can also find a buildup of calcium around your motor and pump.
5. Poor Dishes Cleaning Performance
The final and most common issue that occurs in soft water dishwashers is less than stellar cleaning performance.
This means that the soap or detergent does not dissolve properly or at all, which results in a poor cleaning performance.
In addition to this problem with the soap, the calcium begins to build up on your machine parts, which affects the water pressure and results in poor cleaning performance.
How To Solve Soft Water Problems With Dishwashers?
If you have been experiencing any of these issues with your dishwasher or have noticed that your dishes are not being cleaned as well as they used to, it is important to troubleshoot and fix the problem. Below, we’ll discuss what you can do to solve the problems.
1. Diagnose The Issue
The first step that you should take in most cases is to run a diagnostic cycle on your machine, using a commercial grade dishwasher pretreatment product such as Lemi Shine.
These products are designed to work in soft water and will help dissolve the soap suds, preventing them from leaving chunks on your machine and clogging everything up.
2. Buy A New Water Softener
If you have not installed a new water softener yet, then this is the first solution that we would recommend trying. It is important that you install a water softener that is designed for your household.
3. Install A Water Softener Drain Valve
Another solution that you can try, in order to prevent calcium from building up inside your machine, is to install a drain valve.
This will allow you to dump the calcium buildup on a weekly basis, which can be easily done with a bucket and hose.
4. Remove The Grinder Pump
If you have a low volume dishwasher, it is possible that your grinder pump is what is causing this issue.
You may want to try removing the grinder pump from your machine and install a standard drain valve. If you have to remove the grinder pump, then you will want to replace it with an air gap, which will prevent any type of backflow from entering your dishwasher in the future.
This can be installed on any faucet and we would recommend installing an air gap on all of your faucets, which you can read more about here.
5. Replace Door Gasket
If you have an older dishwasher with an old door gasket that is prone to leaks in soft water, then you may want to consider replacing it. You can do this yourself or contact one of our appliance pros for further assistance.
6. Replace The Door Seal
If you have a built in dishwasher, then there is a chance that your door gasket may be old and leaking.
If this happens, then you will need to remove your dishwasher door seal and replace it with an updated model that is designed for soft water applications. You can find a new door seal on our site and it is a pretty simple thing to replace.
7. Contact Appliance Repair Company
In some cases, you may need to replace your dishwasher from an older model from when they were built for hard water to a newer model. This may be something that you cannot fix on your own and is be best left to an appliance repair company to handle.
If you have soft water, it is important to reduce the calcium in your dishwasher. If you don’t, it can build up on your dishes or inside of your machine and prevent it from working properly.
Replacing an older model for a new one that has been designed to work with soft water is another option that you may want to consider.
If you have been experiencing any of these issues with your machine, now is the time to troubleshoot and fix them.