bypass water softener valve

3 Easy Ways to Bypass your Water Softener

If you have a water softener in your home, you should understand how bypass valves work and how to use them appropriately. 

Sometimes, your water softener needs to be bypassed, like when performing maintenance or going on vacation. But you don’t know how to do it?

Don’t worry. I will let you know of 3 easy and simple ways to bypass your water softener. 

Let’s jump in!

How do Bypass Valves Work? 

Your water softener unit must be bypassed when performing repairs or maintenance. Simply locate the valve and open it to stop water flowing through the water softener. It is also necessary to switch off the inlet and outlet pipes.

Although the steps are straightforward, there are different types of bypass valves available. You will need to understand each type of bypass valve to use it correctly when bypassing a water softener.

These doors are often fitted with knobs or handles that can be rotated from closed to open. In most cases, the bypass valves are closed. 

Your water softener can, however, be bypassed simply by opening the valve and removing the inlet and outlet pipes. You can bypass your water softener by turning on the bypass valve temporarily. (as and when required) 

Bypassing your water softener can be done for several reasons. Gardening doesn’t require soft water, so give your system a break from continuous water treatment.

3 Easy Ways to Bypass Your Water Softener

Water softeners come with three types of bypass valves. They have different bypass valve types, which can usually be turned but can also be pushed in or levered. Identify your bypass valve by looking at the back or top of your water softener.

The three types of bypass valves and the ways to activate them are – 

  1. A push-pull or push-push bypass valve has a simple button that you press to open and close it.
  2. You activate the inlet and outlet valves of a turn bypass valve by turning the handle or switch. Depending on the valve, each one may have its own switch or handle.
  3. Activating a lever-style bypass valve’s inlet and outlet valves is to be done by moving the lever.

3 Valve Bypass

These steps should be followed if your water softener uses a 3-valve bypass :

  1. Identify the two large hoses from the water softener, one for the inlet and the other for the outlet. To find the bypass valve, follow these two hoses. 
  2. Be sure to close the water softener’s water inlet and outlet valves. There will be plastic knobs on these valves to keep them connected to the pipes. 
  3. You need to turn them to 90 degrees to be perpendicular to the hoses. 

The water softener will not receive water now.

To restart it, turn the handle on the bypass valve so that it will line up with the pipe. Bypass valves are located between the inlet and outlet valves.

Make sure the handle runs parallel to the main pipes by turning it 90 degrees. 

Finally, when the bypass valve is closed, and the inlet and outlet valves are opened, the valves will return to their original position.

Single Valve Lever Type Bypass

Here, on your water softener, you’ll find a lever-like valve. On that lever-like valve, you will see a small indicator showing which setting it is on. It will either mention a bypass or a service. 

Then, stop the water softening process by turning the valve to the bypass position. 

Now, water will stop flowing to the water softener once the inlet and outlet valves are closed. 

To restart the water supply again ensure that the valve is in service and that the lever has been returned to its original position by placing it back in the service position. 

Once the inlet and outlet valves are opened, water will flow through the softener again. 

Ta-da! Everything in your water softener is now normal again.

Push Type Valve Bypass

The first step is locating the push knob near the tubes running off the softener. You can locate the two large inlets and outlets on the back or side of the water softener. Look for a push knob that says bypass or on/off.

In general, push valves can be divided into two types. First, the push-push valve works by pushing it in from one side and then out from the other. Secondly, you can use a push-pull valve in which you push it in from one end and pull it out from the opposite end.

Remember – A push-push valve may come with colored knobs to indicate its setting. It is generally understood that the blue or green knob indicates the service is on, while the red or black knob signifies the service is off.

Bypass the water softener service by turning the knob inward. Continue pushing the knob until it is fully inserted, and you cannot push it anymore. You’ll see arrows and labels indicating which setting you’re in.

If you have a push-push valve, your knob will move out on the other side when you push it in from one side.

Restart the service by pulling out the knob or pushing it in from the other side. Alternatively, push the knob from the other side if your valve is a push-push type. If your valve is a push-pull, pull it back out.

You must check and keep a tab on the labels to be sure the push button is in the on or service position.


What Should be the Water Softener Bypass Valve Position?

There are different types of valves, but they are usually angled to the left. A bypass valve usually turns clockwise when it is in bypass mode.

What does Service & Bypass mean on Water Softener?

To soften water, the water softener should be set to the “Service” position, but when you don’t want it to soften water, it should be set to the “Bypass” position. 

In simple words, if the water softener is in its “Service” position, water flows through it, while if it is in its “Bypass” position, water does not flow through it.

Should Water Softener Bypass Valve be On or Off? 

The water softener will automatically go into bypass mode during regeneration, even if you open the bypass valve. Unsoftened water will flow through your water heater and around your house.

However, if possible, turn off your water softener’s bypass valve when it is not required. Turning off the bypass will let water flow back into the water softener again.

Can I Regenerate my Water Softener in Bypass Mode?

It is common for water softeners to regenerate (clean themselves) at night. Typically, this occurs between 2 am and 4 am, when most homeowners won’t be using water. 

When the softener is in regeneration mode, it automatically switches to bypass mode; at that time, any tap in your house will allow hard water to get in. 

Softened water will be directed through the resin bed once the softener has regenerated.


So before you go… 

It is obligatory to know your valve type to bypass your water softener smoothly. Even the best water softener will fail if it is forced to function incorrectly.