Most people think that when you install a water softener, you are just connecting it to some pipes and letting it go. Not so. The process is a little more complicated than that. It has several smells and sounds that might make you nervous, so here is what to expect.
The installation technician does not actually bang on your pipes. He/she is using a wrench to turn water off, remove pipe sections, and attach hoses or pipes from your new water softener. When the hand and wrench slip, it can hit other pipes. However, you should not be concerned since no damage will be done to any pipe.
The Smell of Something Burning
The smell is not sulphur or brimstone. It smells like an electrical wire in a frayed cord singeing plastic. This smell is also akin to what some people describe as "a whiff of ozone." This too, is part of the process and it is not hurting anything. Essentially what is happening is that your technician is welding some pipes to the water softener (if you still have metal pipes) and/or welding some electrical wiring in place.
Large Clanging Noises and Rattling Sounds
Clanging noises, like massive helium tanks banging together, is the technician's way of getting your softener into position. The salt tablet half of the softener may be mostly plastic, but it does have a very heavy metal bottom to hold it in place and help process softener salt. The other half of the system contains the metal tank that is connected to both the electrical system and the plumbing system. Hence, the large clanging noises when the technician positions these two tanks.
As for rattling sounds, which sound like cereal dumped in a plastic storage container, this usually signals the last step of softener installation. The technician is pouring forty- or eighty-pound bags of salt pellets into the salt tank so that your system can start softening water right away. The sound is the pellets hitting the inside plastic walls of the salt tank and bouncing off of each other.
The Smell of Something Wet and Metallic
Finally, the last smell you may experience while your technician installs the softener is the smell of something wet and metallic. Wet, of course comes from the water that drips and leaks all over the floor during installation. The metallic smell that accompanies it is more than likely rust from inside the pipes. Years of hard water causes metal pipes to rust from the inside out, and the rusted iron falls out with the leaking water. After clean-up of this project, you will not notice it anymore.