Water Softener Problems – Common Reasons & Solutions

Water-Softener-ProblemsAny device that has to do with regular functioning and frequent operation reaches its time or starts creating problems after a while.

A water softener is no different, especially if you use it to soften water that exceeds the normal hardness or if you are a big family and require water softening at a large scale over a period of time.

If you do not use a water softener currently and if you are living in an area where there are a lot of hard water minerals in the main water supply,

Chances are that most of your clothes have white stains on them, your kitchen appliances malfunction from time to time, your utensils especially the steel ones have water markings on them, your bathroom fixtures, faucets, bathtubs all have mineral residues, etc.

A water softener is essential because it helps you soften the hard water by performing an ion exchange process where the sodium ions are exchanged and the minerals in the water such as calcium and magnesium are reduced.

Oftentimes the water softener will face problems such as the water that it softens has a salty taste to it, or the brine tank is filled with bridge or mush of salt that hinders the water softening process, sometimes it does not even regenerate properly, or it could be that you did not install it correctly in the first place.

This article will help you determine the most common water softener problems, and their reasons, and provide solutions for them.

Water Softener Problems – Common Reasons & Solutions

Here’s a video on how to maintain your water softener:

Following are the most common problems, their reasons, and possible solutions for you:

Salty Water


If you have recently noticed that your drinking water tastes saltier than you are used to, it might not be the water softener that is causing the problem.

This means that the salt input depends on the hardness of the water and so if you have set a high level of hardness on the water softener settings, it will add up more salt to the system, resulting in the salty taste of water.

Another way your water gets salty is the problem with the stressed drainage pipe which is not flushed properly so make sure to drain it out and continue until you notice changes.

Bridging & Mushing


If we connect the issue of salty water or the water softener using too much salt, the most common product of it is salt bridging which is quite self-explanatory. The bridge of salt is usually a hard layer that forms around the brine tank which prohibits the water from being softened effectively.

Another reason why this happens is if the water softener functions in an excessively humid area. The solution to getting rid of the salt bridge is to slightly knock it off using a wooden handle and manually get the pieces of salt out of the tank.

In salt mushing, if you are using crystallized softener salt, you will notice a mush of salt forming on the base of the brine tank which then blocks the path of the brine solution which should be passing through the resin in order to soften the water effects as well as initiating the regeneration process.

To get rid of this problem, just scoop out the salt mush inside of the tank and refill it with the fresh one.

Issue with regeneration


In normal circumstances, the water softener should be performing a regeneration cycle once every fourteen days or so, depending on the settings it is operating over. A regeneration cycle is necessary because if the excess minerals inside the brine tank are not flushed out, it would cause problems for the next batch of water to be softened.

If the water softener fails to regenerate, you would not be able to get the water softener as you are supposed to. One of the reasons why the regeneration stops is because of the faulty digital clock, and it is quite simple to resolve.

If there is a problem with the timer, it will cause the regeneration cycle to perform every day without stopping which is also a problem and on the other hand, it will not regenerate at all.

All you gotta do is set the timer for regeneration at night-time for instance and listen for the sounds. If it does not regenerate at the set time, your digital timer needs instant replacement.

Incorrect setup & Installation


While it might seem easy to get a water softener, installing and setting it up requires care and attention to detail. The location, connection system to the house and main water supply, drainage, etc, all matter as shown in the picture above.

Try to follow the instruction manual that comes with your water softener. If you still have problems reading or following the directions in the manual, ask a professional for help. You can either ask your company or any specialist plumber who knows what they are doing.


What should I do when my softener is not using the salt?

Usually, it is due to a salt bridge in the brine tank of the water softener, but if there is no salt bridging and your softener still does not work then it is a great time to call the company or any professional for assistance and check-up of the device.

I just bought a new water softener and it stopped working only after a month, what could possibly be wrong?

If you have checked all the above problems provided in this article, then make sure you check the resin beads inside the brine tank. If the water is too harsh, it is a high possibility that the resin beads have worn out because of the excess contaminants in the water.

Final thoughts

In conclusion, a water softener can have problems from time to time, so it is important that you maintain it and check for any existing problems so that you do not have to waste tons of money on buying a new one.

Most fixes are easy, and anyone can fix their water softener easily while some require extra care and a professional’s assistance. A good water softener is a hefty investment so make sure you know how to deal with any possible problems.

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