If you are looking for a way to dramatically improve the water quality going through your water supply, you have probably installed a water softener. A water softener is a great option because it can remove excess calcium and magnesium from your water supply that might otherwise irritate your skin and damage your plumbing appliances. On the other hand, there are some problems your water softener may develop from time to time.
What are a few examples of common problems that water softeners may develop? One of the most common problems is that water is not being softened as much as you would like, but you may also notice that your system is not regenerating appropriately, there is a leak in your water softener, or your brine tank is having problems. You might also notice a loss of water pressure, or you may feel like your water tastes a bit salty.
The exact way to fix these issues will depend on the problem you are experiencing, and water softener maintenance can prevent many of these issues. There are a few important points you should keep in mind. While you should not expect your water softener to develop any issues, it is beneficial to know how to fix them if they arise.
Common Issues Related To Water Softeners
There are several significant issues that you may notice involving your water softener. Some of the most common examples include:
1. Salt Bridge Formation in Your Water Softener
One of the most common problems you might notice is the formation of salt bridges. A salt bridge is a crusty substance that you might find on the surface of the salt in your water softener. There are a few reasons why you might find salt bridges in your water softener. They include:
- Your salt level is too high in your brine tank.
- There is too much humidity in the area in which your water softener is stored.
- It might have been a long time since you cleaned your water softener.
This problem is relatively easy to fix. All you need to do is use a broom handle to break up the salt bridge in the water softener. Then, you just have to use a cup or a net to remove the salt chunks that are floating in the water softener.
You also need to think about how to prevent salt bridges from returning in the future. Make sure you add the right amount of salt to your water softener, and be sure that you store the water softener in an area where the humidity level isn’t quite as high.
2. You See Salt Mushing Brine Tank
In many ways, salt mushing is the opposite of salt bridges, but it is still a significant problem that you need to address. Salt mushing takes place at the bottom of the tank instead of forming at the top. Generally, salt mushing takes place when salt recrystallizes and forms an inconvenient paste or sludge at the bottom of the tank.
The biggest problem created by salt mushing is that it can block the base of the tank and prevent your brine solution from entering the resin tank and interacting with the resin beads, which could make it hard for your water softener to regenerate appropriately and soften your water. It may also cause your softener to get stuck in a continuous regeneration mode.
If you notice that you no longer have soft water, one of the first things you should do is open your water softener, look at the brine tank, and see if there is salt present at the base of the tank that you need to remove.
This problem will take a while to fix, but it is not necessarily that complicated. You need to remove all of the water from the brine tank. Then, scrub the inside of the tank to get rid of the salt crystals that are stuck to the bottom. Replace the salt and the water softener, turn the water softener back on, and make sure it works appropriately. Look here for more detailed instructions on cleaning your water softener.
3. Your Water Level in the Brine Tank Is Too High
You are supposed to have water in your brine tank. After all, you need water if you want to dissolve the salt you add to the water softener and form an effective brine solution. On the other hand, you may notice that you have an issue if there is too much water in the brine tank.
There are a few reasons why the water level in your brine tank might be too high. They include:
- Your float valve might be set too high. The entire purpose of this valve is to control the amount of water you have in the brine tank, and if you want to fix this issue, you simply need to look at the manual and reduce the float valve level.
- You might have a water softener that is too old. Eventually, the components are going to wear out, and your water softener might not be able to do its job properly. You might need to replace the old components or purchase a new water softener.
- There could also be a problem with the water entry valve. If the water entry valve is broken, there might be too much water entering the tank, and an overflow happens.
You may want to troubleshoot a few of these issues if you notice that you have too much water in your brine tank.
4. The Brine Tank Looks a Bit Empty
There is also a chance that the water level in the brine tank could be too low. If you open the brine tank and you do not see a lot of water present, there could be a handful of reasons why this has happened.
One of the most common causes is that the brine tank is clogged. There is a tube that connects the brine line to the brine tank. It is supposed to fill the tank with water as it regenerates. If the line has gotten clogged, the tank might not be able to fill with water during the regeneration process, so you might want to try flushing the line. If the tank still does not fill with water, you might need to replace the line entirely.
You might have also set the float valve too low. Just as it is possible for you to set the valve too high, you may have also set it too low, so consider adjusting the setting to see if you can get your tank to fill with more water.
A broken water entry valve can also cause the brine tank to be empty, so you need to take a look at the valve to see if it has to be replaced.
5. The Salt Is Not Being Used
Your water softener is not going to go through salt that quickly, but if you notice that your water softener system is not softening the water, you should take a look at the salt level to make sure the salt is being used.
The entry valve motor could be broken, as it is supposed to control the amount of water that enters the brine tank. If you do not have any water entering your brine tank, your water softener can’t use the salt appropriately, and it could contribute to your water remaining hard when it should be soft. You might need to replace the entry valve motor to rectify this problem.
6. The Water Is Too Salty
It is true that your water softener is going to replace calcium and magnesium ions with sodium. While this will cause the sodium level in your water to rise, you should not be able to taste it much at all. If the water that comes out of your sink tastes salty, the settings on your water softener might be incorrect.
Your water softener will add salt to your water supply based on the settings you provide. If you input a number that is too high, your water softener might be adding too much salt to your water, which can impact the taste.
You may also want to take a look at the drain hose to see if it is pinched. This can cause your salt level to rise, so you may need to flush the drain hose to fix the issue. If that does not solve the problem, you may want to replace it.
7. You Have Brown Water
It can be incredibly disturbing if you see brown water coming out of your plumbing system, and you might instinctively think that your water softener is the culprit. The good news is that your water softener is rarely the culprit, and one of the most common reasons why you have brown water is that you have high sediment levels in your water coming from corroded plumbing somewhere else in the house.
There is also a chance that you may have bacteria that have accumulated somewhere in your water supply. While there is a chance that the bacteria could be present in your water softener, this is also highly unlikely.
You likely need to sterilize your water supply using a professional kit. You should always consult your manual or manufacturer before trying anything, but you might try to clean your water softener by adding a couple of ounces of bleach to 3 gallons of water, running a few regeneration cycles, and seeing if that fixes the problem.
If the problem is not fixed, then the problem was probably not your water softener, and you may need to call a professional who can take a look at other potential problems with your water supply. You can also try cleaning out the entire water softener just to be sure.
8. Your Water Softener Is Not Regenerating
Your water softener should regenerate every week or two. If your water softener is not doing so, it is something you need to fix as quickly as possible, as your water softener will eventually turn off entirely.
Some of the most common reasons why your water softener might not be regenerating include:
- You might have set the water softener to regenerate at a specific time, and it may not have reached that time yet. You need to take a look at the settings to see if they need to be changed.
- The water softener regeneration timer itself could be broken. You may want to change the settings on the timer, see if the water softener regenerates at that time, and further address the issue if it does not do so. You may need to replace the water softener regeneration timer.
- There could also be a clog in one of the tubes that causes your water softener not to regenerate. You might hear your water softener trying to regenerate, but the water itself might not be soft.
If this does not fix your water softener regeneration issues, you may need to call a professional who can help you. If your water softener does not regenerate at the right time, it will impact your water supply, and it could cause your water softener to burn out early.
Find the Best Water Softeners From DROP
These are just a few of the potential problems that your water softener might have if you notice that it is not working. You might be able to avoid some of these issues when you purchase water softeners from a reputable source.
DROP Smart Water Softeners are built to last, and since they are smart, they can alert you from the app of many of these common issues, so you are always in the know and always in control.
At DROP, we have a wide selection of water products available, and we can provide you with all the tools you need to take care of your water supply. Take a closer look at our selection today, and reach out to us with any questions you might have. We would love to help you find the perfect products to improve the quality of your water supply.