Common Water Softener Problems: Tips and Tricks Included

What Are Some of The Common Water Softener Problems

Although water softeners are made to last, they will nevertheless occasionally have issues over the course of their years of use.

Like other equipment, water softeners occasionally experience the common water softener problems. Fortunately, you can usually fix the softener problems yourself without having to pay a costly professional maintenance fee.

We’ll discuss some of the most typical water softener issues in this troubleshooting guide, along with solutions you may try on your own.

Let’s start with the most frequent water softener issues you’re likely to have.

Water Softener Issues, Causes & Fixes

Most Common Water Softener Problems

Salt Bridging

One of the most frequent issues with a water softener is a salt bridge.

On the surface of the salt level, there is a hard, crusty structure known as a salt bridge. When the brine tank is kept in a humid environment or when the salt content is too high for the tank, salt bridges can occur.

It’s simple to get rid of a salt bridge once you’ve found it. Simply break the salt bridge in pieces with a broom handle, then use a cup or a net to fish the fragments out of the water.

By ensuring that the water softener is stored in a dry area and only adding salt to the fill line in the tank, you may completely prevent salt bridge construction.

Salt Mushing

Although they are both equally prevalent, salt bridging and salt mushing are distinct issues that are frequently mistaken for one another.

Salt recrystallizes and becomes sludge, which leads to salt mushing at the tank’s bottom.

The base of the tank is blocked by salt mush, which stops the brine solution from entering the resin tank. Both the softening and regeneration processes are impacted by this. One of the first issues to look for is salt mushing if your water seems to have lost its softness.

Salt mushing softener problems can be resolved by completely draining the brine tank of water and removing the salt. After cleaning the tank’s inside of any remaining salt crystals, add some new salt.

Too Much Water in the Brine Tank

Since water dissolves salt to create a brine solution, a water softener’s brine tank should be filled with water.

However, having too much water in the brine tank is one of the most typical water softener issues. The following are the most common causes of an alarmingly high or, worse still, overflowing water level in your tank:

You have a high float valve setting

The solution to this issue is the most straightforward and non-threatening.

The float valve in the brine tank regulates how much water is kept in the tank at any given moment. Follow the directions in your user handbook to lower the float valve in order to correct a too-high float tank.

Your Water Softener is Old

An outdated water softener system may deteriorate to the point that its parts are unable to perform their functions adequately. As a result, the tank can fill up with too much water. You might need to completely replace your softener if it is older than 8 years.

You don’t have a functioning water entry valve

The worst source of water in a brine tank is a damaged water entry valve since it frequently causes flooding. If the water entrance valve breaks, too much water will be allowed to enter the tank, causing an overflow.

The water entry valve regulates how much water enters the tank. To fix the problem, replace the valve.

Not Enough Water in the Brine Tank

Your brine tank could not have enough water in it, which would suggest that one of your water softener issues isn’t related to too much water.

You may not genuinely have an issue with this. It’s typical to not even notice the brine tank’s water. However, if your tank is only halfway full with salt and you still cannot see any water, the following may have occurred:

The Brine Line is Clogged

During the regeneration process, water is added to the brine tank through a conduit known as the brine line. This tube might not properly transfer water into the tank if it is blocked or broken. If flushing the line doesn’t cure the problem, replace the brine line.

Your Float Valve is Set Too Low

In the same way that the float valve may be set too high, it can also be set too low, which will prohibit the tank from holding enough water. To adjust the float valve to a higher setting in this situation, according to the user manual’s instructions.

You don’t have a functioning water entry valve

Once more, the water entrance valve may be at fault. A malfunctioning valve can both allow too much water to enter the brine tank and prevent any water from entering at all. If required, replace the entrance valve.

The Water Softener Isn’t Using Salt

If your water softener isn’t using salt, the entrance valve motor may be malfunctioning. The amount of water pumped into the brine tank is expected to be managed by this motor.

The salt won’t be able to dissolve in the water and no brine will develop if not enough water is entering the tank.

To solve this problem, swap out the entrance valve motor.

Many individuals mistakenly believe that their water softener doesn’t use salt when in fact it does. Keep in mind that salt bridges frequently occur in brine tanks.

You won’t realize when the salt underneath this layer is being consumed since a salt bridge forms on top of the salt that is already present. To see the real salt level in your brine tank, remove the bridge.

Your Soft Water Contains Floating Particles

Floating particles in your soft water are probably an indication that the resin beads in your water softener are nearing the end of their useful life.

It is conceivable that old resin beads will separate from the resin bed and fall into the softened water. They are safe to consume in moderation, but they are a warning that your resin beads need to be replaced.

A full tank of brand-new resin beads normally costs roughly $170. You may change the resin beads on your own; simply pour the new resin beads in their place after removing the old ones.

Your Soft Water Tastes Salty

You shouldn’t be able to taste the salt that standard water softeners add to the water, despite the fact that they do. Your water softener may be having issues if your soft water is too salty.

Incorrect settings are one of the easiest softener problems to fix when it comes to salty water. Based on the water hardness that you enter, your water softener will add a certain amount of salt to your water. The system can salt your water too much if you enter a figure that is too high.

An additional way for too much salt to enter your soft water is through a constricted drain hose. Check the drain hose, flush it, or replace it if required to avoid the problem with the salty water.

Your Soft Water is Brown

One of the most concerning issues with a water softener is this one. Why is your soft water brown when you want your water softener to increase the quality of your water?

Fortunately, a water softener alone very seldom causes brown water. The most likely causes of the brown water coming out of your faucets are either old, corroded plumbing within your home or excessive sediment levels in your water supply.

Rarely, a buildup of bacteria in the softening system might be the source of dark softened water. If you’re unsure of what’s causing your dark water, sterilizing your softener will help get rid of any potential bacterial accumulation.

Add 2 ounces of bleach for every 3 gallons of water in the brine tank of a water softener to use it properly.

Run numerous regeneration cycles before allowing your faucets to run dry for five minutes. If the water in your home is still brown, check it for sediment or hire a plumber to look at your drain hose.

Your Water Softener Won’t Regenerate

Regeneration is one of the most frequent issues with water softeners. At least once every two weeks, a softener that is operating properly will go through a regeneration cycle.

You must address the issue as soon as possible since if your system isn’t regenerating, it won’t be long until you can no longer obtain soft water at all.

Broken Regeneration Timer

A faulty regeneration timer is one of the most straightforward and, luckily, quickest fixes for a water softener that won’t regenerate. The regeneration timer sets the system up to run a regeneration cycle repeatedly.

The softener will only sometimes or not at all execute a cycle of regeneration if this timer is malfunctioning or damaged.

Set the timer to a certain time and wait for the softener to go through a regeneration cycle to see whether the regeneration timer is malfunctioning. If it doesn’t, the timer probably has to be replaced since it’s broken.

Clogging in the Tubes

Another frequent problem in water softeners that can limit how frequently they regenerate is clogging in the tubes. If this is the case, your water may not taste soft or may taste overly salty, even though you may hear noises that indicate your softener is going through a regeneration cycle.

To check if the problem is fixed, remove the tubes, cleanse them, then reinstall them and configure your softener to run a manual regeneration cycle.

Unusual Noises are Being Made by Your Water Softener

If your water softener is producing strange noises, you should be worried since this might mean that something is wrong with the system.

Loud clunking or whirring noises are a sign that one or more of your softener’s parts are blocked, worn out, or damaged.

Check the timer, motors, and air valves, as well as the valves and water lines. Replace or flush any of these components that are clogged, broken, or otherwise damaged.

If you hear water flushing from the system, it may just be going through a typical regeneration cycle. It’s okay in this instance. Your softener is just doing its job as long as the flushing doesn’t last for hours on end (more on that below).

Your Water Softener is Stuck in Regeneration Cycles

A water softener regeneration cycle lasts, on average, two hours. There may be a problem with the system if your water softener is undertaking regeneration cycles that are significantly longer than this or that occur far too frequently.

Clogged Water Line

Brine won’t be able to enter the resin bed if the pipe that connects the salt tank and resin tank is blocked. The softener will attempt to take brine from the tank repeatedly but will be unsuccessful, leading to an endless cycle of regeneration.

Remove and clean the water pipe, then set up a manual regeneration cycle to solve the problem.

Switches with incorrect settings or damage

Although water softeners are intelligent equipment, they are computer-based, so even the tiniest problem can prevent them from working effectively.

Verify that the system’s settings are still accurate and that no switches are damaged. If required, adjust the settings and repair or replace the switches.

Low Water Pressure

This problem more closely relates to your own water source than to the water softener. The softener could be unable to renew correctly if your water pressure is too low, which could lead to a stalled regeneration cycle.

To improve water flow into the system in this situation, add a booster pump upstream of the softener.

Your Water Softener is Leaking

Leaking is one of the worst and perhaps most disastrous issues that water softeners may have.

The first thing to do if you see a pool of water next to your water softener is to determine where the leak is coming from. Verify all of the connections made by the water pipes, tanks, and other components.

The most probable time to find a leak is just after a water softener has been installed or serviced. In this instance, improper installation is to blame for the issue. Adjusting the fittings should be beneficial.

Wearing down components might also create leaks. The problem should be solved by changing the components.

If you have a significant leak, turn off the water as soon as you can and call a plumber to assist you find the source of the issue.

Your water softener is configured improperly

There are several steps involved in installing a water softener for the first time, and there are many mistakes that might be made.

That should be quite apparent in your user manual on how to properly set up your water softener, but it isn’t always the case. Or perhaps your user manual is sufficiently clear, but you’re still baffled by the setup procedure.

It’s recommended to phone the manufacturer and request a customer service representative to walk you through the procedure if you’re unsure how to set up your water softener. If you’re still unsure, get expert advice from your neighborhood plumber.

Your Water Softener has Died

It may sound dramatic, but the system is not doomed if the water softener dies.

Check sure your softener is connected in and turned on first if it doesn’t seem to be doing anything at all. If it still doesn’t function, the motor is probably broken. When a motor fails, the system is unable to renew or carry out any other necessary functions.

The most likely reason for a motor failure is if your wires and water pipes are still in good condition yet the motor won’t start. If you are still covered by the warranty, you could be eligible for a free motor replacement. If not, you’ll have to buy a new motor on your own own.

One of the most expensive tasks is to fix or replace the motor, so think about if a new water softener would be necessary instead.

Your water softener is lowering the pressure in your water
Your water softener may be to blame for low water pressure in your plumbing system for one of the following reasons:

Incorrectly Sized System

Your plumbing system’s water flow requirements won’t be met if your water softener is too small. You will need to replace your water softener with a system that is the proper size if the maximum pressure output is too low for your home.

Iron or Sediment Buildup

Water pressure can be lowered by iron, sediment, and scaling in any area of the water softener. The impurities that have accumulated inside the unit present resistance to the passage of water.

These impurities may even cause the system’s drain hose to block. Add a mineral cleanser to the tank to alleviate this problem, and if required, flush out the clogged drain hose and brine.

Clogged Resin

Reduced water pressure may be caused by the resin bed itself. Resin beads discharged down the drain line may clog the pipe as the resin ages, lowering the amount of water that can exit the system.

Your Water Isn’t Soft

A water softener’s main function is to keep hardness minerals out of your plumbing system. Therefore, dealing with hard water from your softener is perhaps the most aggravating water softener issue.

Salt Accumulation & Clogging

One of the primary reasons for hard water is a salt buildup in the salt tank. Blockages and clogs can also stop the system from softening water as it should.

Activated Bypass Valve

The bypass valve being turned to direct water away from the system is another possible issue. In this instance, turning the bypass valve will send water into the softener.

Demand for Softened Water Is Too High

Your need for softened water may exceed the system’s capacity, which would lead to inappropriate regeneration of the resin beads. As a result, just a portion of your water would be softened.

You have a dirt-filled brine tank

If impure salt, such as rock salt, is put in the tank, dirt, silt, and other undesired things may accumulate.

Every 6 to 12 months, you should clear out the tank to keep sediment and filth from clogging the drain. Here are the steps to cleaning a salt tank for a water softener.

Avoiding using filthy salt is the greatest technique to avoid dirt in the salt tank. Use high-purity salt instead, such as pellets of evaporated salt.

How to Diagnose and Fix Water Softener Problems: Step by Step

The next step is to identify which of the various issues is impacting your softener now that you have a list of potential issues to consult.

The procedure for identifying and resolving issues with the majority of water softeners is as follows:

You will need a bucket, a water-safe vacuum cleaner, and a 4-in-1 screwdriver.

You must carry out this action. Check the power of the water softener first. It’s simple to unplug a water softener. Most water softeners require energy to regenerate between softening cycles; otherwise, they won’t operate.

Next, inspect the bypass valve or switch on the softener. Before you assign blame to the water softener itself, consider the possibility that the source of your water supply issues isn’t actually the softener at all. To ensure that water is flowing through the system properly, check the bypass button or valve on top of the water softener.

Refer to the user guide. The user handbook will provide you with all the crucial details you require to properly manage the softener, including when the resin beads require cleaning and replacement. To change or clean the resin bed, adhere to the instructions.

Checking the Regeneration Timer is the next step. Check the regeneration timer if the softener isn’t renewing normally. If the timer is broken, replace it.

Additionally, you need to look for broken air valves. After the softener has regenerated, air discharge is brought on by a damaged air valve. If the valves are damaged, inspect them and replace them.

Clean out clogged water feed lines and valves. Make that the brine tank, brine tube, and drain flow line are not clogged and flush them if they are.

Replace the salt, please. The best course of action is to replace the salt if a salt crust or salt mush has developed in the brine tank.

Then, reprogramme or replace the control valve. If the control valve is malfunctioning, do both. Before shelling out cash out of pocket, confirm that the control valve on your softener is still protected by a guarantee.

You might also look at the salt dosage setting. A wrong salt done setting or brine tank blockages are likely to be the root of excessive salt consumption. Check for these common water softener problems, and make the appropriate corrections.

The last step is to clean the system. Finally, wipe out the system as directed by the manufacturer.

Common Water Softener Brand Problems & How to Resolve Them

Have a popular brand of water softener that needs repair? Most likely, these softener problems have also been encountered by others.

It is common knowledge that even the greatest water softeners may be flawed. Here, we’ll examine some of the most typical issues reported by well-known water softener companies and provide solutions.

Whirlpool Water Softeners

Too much water in the brine tank is the most typical Whirlpool water softener issue. This is typically brought on by a defective or broken rubber gasket.

Take the following actions to fix the problem:

Place a replacement rubber gasket on order and wait for delivery.

Turn off and disconnect your water softener, put it in bypass mode, and empty the brine tank of all the salt.

Remove the broken gasket and replace it with the new one after disassembling the nozzle on top of the water softener tank. the nozzle back together.

Connect the plug and turn the system on. Set the softener to run a cycle, but don’t fill the tank with salt yet. Check to make sure the salt in the brine tank isn’t piling up too much.

Softener problems fixed if the tank has just around 2.5 inches of water in it. After draining the water, add salt to the brine tank as usual.

Culligan Water Softeners

Two of the most frequent and common water softener problems with a Culligan water softener are low water pressure and continual water drainage.

If your water pressure is low, To test your water pressure without the system flowing through it, switch the softener to bypass mode. There might be a problem with your water pressure that is unrelated to your water softener. If so, you might want to add a booster pump.

Check to see if the water softener is the proper size for your water use if your water pressure is regular.

Check to see whether the sediment filter needs to be replaced if it is blocked.

Finally, look to see if the resin beads are obstructed. If so, clean them out with a resin cleaner and replace the resin beads and bed if required.

How to stop water from draining continuously: If you hear trickling water that doesn’t stop, your water softener may be stuck in regeneration mode.

Turn on the bypass valve and refer to the instructions above for fixing a water softener that keeps renewing. If not, contact Culligan customer service.

GE Water Softeners

Error codes and malfunctioning control panel buttons are two frequent water softener problems with GE water softeners.

Bring out your user handbook to rectify trouble codes. This will explain what each error code means and how to fix it. Call GE’s customer care team for immediate assistance if you’ve misplaced your user manual or simply want additional information.

Make sure the water softener is plugged in and turned on in order to fix control panel buttons that aren’t functioning. Although it may seem obvious, the control panel requires an electrical connection in order to function. You may need a new touchpad clip if the softener is on but the buttons are inoperable. Purchase a fresh clip from the supplier.

After replacing the clip, test the buttons. Replace the nozzle and the gasket if they are still not functioning. If the system’s control panel is still unresponsive, contact GE customer service.

SpringWell Water Softeners

Owners of SpringWell water softeners frequently deal with low water pressure and leaks.

If your water pressure is low, Try checking your own water pressure when the softener is in bypass mode. If the pressure is low while the softener is not in use, you may need to add a booster pump or adjust your home’s pressure gauge.

Check the sediment filter to determine whether it needs to be replaced if your water pressure is good other than when the water passes through the softener. If so, the sediment filter may be blocked.

The pressure ought to be restored after the sediment filter has been changed. If not, use a resin cleaner on the resin beads and replace them as needed.

Check the system’s connections and o-rings to see whether the leak may be fixed. The majority of leakage problems are caused by improper installation or worn o-rings.

In case the o-rings need to be changed. If required, manually tighten fittings and connections.

The high-quality parts used in SpringWell’s softeners should fix the leak problem. Contact SpringWell customer service if not.

How to Prevent Water Softener Problems and Prolong your System’s Lifespan

Although water softeners don’t last forever, there are things you can do to keep them in good condition and stop them from breaking down too soon.

Use high-quality salt; impure salt, such as rock salt, is significantly worse for your water softener than highly pure salt, such as dissolved salt pellets. This will lessen the amount of cleaning required to maintain a water softener.

Additionally, keep an eye out for salt bridges and clogging. You should rapidly establish a pattern for adding salt to your water softener and get a solid grasp of when and how much to apply. Look for a salt bridge or a blockage at the bottom of the tank if your salt isn’t draining as it typically does.

Additionally, you should clean the resin tank as often as advised by the manufacturer. The manufacturer should also provide product recommendations.

The longevity of the resin is aided by the fact that resin bed cleaners are more effective than the water used to cleanse the resin tank during regeneration.

Do not overlook the venturi valve. When the system regenerates, the venturi valve in your water softener transports the brine solution from the salt tank to the resin bed. To avoid a drop in water pressure, the Venturi valve should be regularly cleaned, checked for damage, and replaced as necessary.


How can you tell if your water softener is clogged?

If the hardness of your water fluctuates, that is the surest sign that your softener is clogged. You can have a clog in the system if you start to have hard water problems once more.

What can go wrong with a water softener?

A water softening system’s most frequent softener problems are continually draining, an excessive amount of water in the brine tank, salt bridges and mushing, sediment buildup in the salt tank, and blocked resin.

Should a water softener’s salt tank be filled with water?

Yes, however until the salt tank is less than half filled, you should be able to see the water. If the water is visible, there is possibly a trapped float or some softener problems that is allowing too much water to enter the tank.

What happens when water softener stops working?

If your softener isn’t working, you can wind up with hard water or water that tastes salty, depending on the problem.

How can the effectiveness of water softener be determined?

You won’t have hard water in your house if your water softening system is functioning. Additionally, the softener’s output pressure should be equal to your regular water pressure, and you should hear it regenerate when it is supposed to.

How do you unclog a brine tank?

Use the back of a broom to scrape away any salt bridges from your brine tank, then empty and clean it out. To make sure the system is operating properly, refill the salt and set it to manually renew.

Leave a Comment