What If Water Softener Is Not Using Salt? – Reasons

What-If-Water-Softener-Is-Not-Using-SaltA water softener has become a necessity considering the recent times when water is increasingly polluted by either landfills, increasing calcium levels, and impurities caused by natural or artificial causes.

Whatever the reason, the hardness level in the water will eventually damage your water softener, especially if you do not check it every often.

You will either start to notice strange noises from the water softener, or it will stop working completely as you will notice that the hard water has started to damage and leave streaks on your utensils, bathroom floors, faucets, showerheads, and laundry.

It is essential to reach the root cause of what is causing the water softener not to use salt, which is essentially its main purpose and the way it works.

This article is specifically designed to highlight the five most common reasons your water softener might have stopped using salt and will provide solutions.

This video will show you how to troubleshoot your water softener in case it is not using salt:

Water Softener Not Using Salt? – 5 Reasons & Solutions

Following are some of the most reasons your water softener is not using salt;

Salt Bridge



By far, the most common issue of a water softener is that, at some point, it will stop using the salt due to the formation of a salt bridge. Please don’t get confused, as this bridge does not open a way. Rather it blocks the way for the new salt you keep on adding, not realizing the issue is within the brine tank. So, the brine tank is responsible for softening your water, where you add salt to soften your water. This bridge comes in between the new salt and the hard water.

How To Fix The Salt Bridge:

  • First, you will notice hard water from your taps, and it is obvious as the faucets will have mineral markings.
  • Get an old broom or any wooden stick that you have and push it down the brine tank just below the base, and you will immediately feel the bridge, so push it down.
  • Your water softener may be placed in a humid area, such as the basement, which causes the salt to melt and stick together hence forming the bridge, make sure to move it away from the damp atmosphere.

Clogged Nozzle Venturi


If you have well established that there is no salt bridge, look for the nozzle venturi in the brine tank. This part is responsible for pulling the brine solution out of the brine tank. If it gets dirty, it will get clogged and stop pulling the brine solution; hence, the water softener will fail to utilize the salt.

How To Fix The Clogged Nozzle Venturi:

  • The first thing you need to do is unscrew the cap and free the nozzle and venturi. Make sure to be cautious around the seal.
  • Next, take the screen support away then separate the nozzle and venturi. In a large bowl, get some warm water and carefully place the nozzle venturi, and use a precise tool such as a cotton bud to get rid of any debris.
  • You should also clean the screen, gasket, cap, and plugs. Before putting the O-ring seal, make sure you use a lubricant to hold it back into place.

Clogged Water Eductor


The eductor nozzle is located within the control valve, and if it gets clogged, it will stop the water softener from drawing the salt in. It is located in different areas of different brands and models, so make sure you read the user manual to identify where the eductor nozzle is.

How To Fix The Water Eductor:

  • You need to locate where the eductor nozzle is in your water softener which you should easily find in the user manual.
  • Remove the clip and then the cap and move onto disintegrating the assembly as shown in the diagram above.
  • Next, separate the screen and check if it has any salt or debris around it, if so, either clean it or proceed to replace it with a new one.
  • For cleaning the nozzles, use small tools such as a thin toothpick.
  •  Check if the eductor throat needs any cleaning or replacement.
  • Put everything back together after the repair.

Issues with Regeneration Cycle


The water softener’s regeneration system ensures that the previously absorbed and separated hard minerals are flushed out so that resin beads can be recharged again for another softening cycle. There could be that the timer of the regeneration system has malfunctioned, or it could be that the valve motor that controls the entire regeneration process by pushing the water to the salt tank for regeneration.

How To Fix Regeneration Issues:

  • The timer might mess up with the schedule of the regeneration cycle and end up regenerating it at the wrong time so make sure to check if it has malfunctioned.
  • You can test it to see for yourself if it is working or not by scheduling a regeneration cycle for night time. If it regenerates in the daytime, that means it has a problem so have it replaced as soon as possible.
  • If there are motor issues such as the motor running too slow or not working at all, the water softener will not work properly or use salt so call a professional to replace it.

Utilization of Incorrect Salt type


Not just the salt type but the size of the salt also matters according to your water softener’s features. If you use the wrong salt type, your water softener may very well be in danger of being malfunctioned.

How To Fix Incorrect Salt Usage:

  • Make sure you are using the evaporated salt because it has fewer chances of hardening; hence no salt bridges will be formed, and it is 96 percent pure, so it is ideal for usage.
  • For size, use pellets or crystals, which will reduce the chances of hardening and forming bridges.


How can I stop the salt bridge from forming even though I moved the water softener away from a damp area?

Usually, the salt bridge is formed due to high humidity and if you have already moved it away from the damp atmosphere and still have the issue, try this. Try to avoid overflowing the brine tank with too much salt, as it will leave the dried salt as a layer that will clump eventually, so make sure you fill it halfway through.

Does the salt quality matter in a water softener?

Yes, there are usually two types of salt for the water softener: evaporated salt, which is the best option to choose, and rock salt, which is quite inefficient as it does not remove impurities as effectively.

Final thoughts

Like any other device, water softeners aren’t immune from getting malfunctioned from time to time. Not using salt is the most problematic issue because that is the only way a water softener functions. This article presented some of the most common reasons your water softener is not using salt and provided solutions, so make sure to follow the correct usage instructions, and perform diagnostics yourself before calling in a professional.

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