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What Happens if My Water Softener Runs Out of Salt?

If you have invested in a water softener, you expect it to run properly. At the same time, there are a lot of moving parts that have to work together if you want your water softener to work as you expect. This includes salt.

What happens if your water softener runs out of salt? If your water softener runs out of salt, it will not function properly. The most immediate consequence is that you may start to have hard water running through your house, which can cause limescale to build up throughout your pipes.

Therefore, it is important to make sure you have salt in the brine tank of your water softener, and you must stay up to date on routine maintenance. What else do you need to know about the salt in your water softener, and what happens if you run out of salt?

If You Do Not Have Water Softener Salt in the Brine Tank, Can Your Water Softener Run?

Before diving into what happens when your water softener runs out of salt, you need to understand how a water softener operates. In general, there are two large components that work together to provide you with soft water. The first is your brine tank and the second is your resin tank.

The resin tank, which is also known as a mineral tank, contains countless resin beads that are responsible for stripping excess calcium and magnesium ions from your water supply. When water flows through your tank, the resin beads will exchange sodium for the magnesium and calcium in your water supply through ion exchange. This will provide your house with a supply of soft water.

So, if you do not have salt in the brine tank, or if you allow your brine tank to run out of salt, what happens? There is no longer any sodium in your water softener, so you do not have any sodium ions to exchange for the magnesium and calcium in your water supply. There is a chance that your water softener may continue to run, but ion exchange is not going to happen. Therefore, you will still have hard water going through your water supply.

What If I Forgot To Add Salt to the Water Softener?

If you forgot to add salt to the water softener, there are several consequences that might unfold. They include:

You Could Have Hard Minerals in Your Water Softener

One of the first consequences is that you could actually damage your water softener. You could end up with hard minerals in your water softener, such as calcium and magnesium. For example, you could end up with hard minerals inside your control valve, which might even include your piston chamber.

Just like the rest of the pipes throughout your home, the buildup of hard minerals inside of your water softener could slow the flow of water throughout your water softener, meaning that it will no longer work as efficiently.

It is true that your water softener can last for many years, but this will only happen if you take good care of it. Therefore, you need to make sure you have plenty of salt in the resin tank if you want your water softener to behave as expected.

Your Brine Tank Might Overflow

Even though this is slightly less common than some of the other issues, there is still a chance that your brine tank could overflow. There could be some water leaking through your system, contributing to an overflow of the brine tank itself.

This happens because there are significant obstructions throughout your water softener. The brine assembly itself could get clogged, leading to an overflow.

You will need to remove the brine assembly in accordance with the manual that came with your water softener. Then, take everything out, clean it off, and make sure everything operates correctly. If you replace your salt on time, you should prevent this from happening.

You Will Not Have Any Soft Water

As already mentioned above, you will not have any soft water going through your pipes. This can have a significant impact on your hair and skin as well. If you are familiar with the sticky residue that lands on your skin when you shower and wash your hands, you may notice that this residue comes back.

Your hair might be a bit crinkly, your skin might start to turn red, and you may start itching and scratching because your skin starts to dry out again. If you want to prevent these problems from returning, you need to make sure your water softener has enough salt, and that means refilling it from time to time.

Your Dishes Have Hard Water Stains

Furthermore, you may notice that your dishes begin to accumulate hard water stains. When you had hard water going through your plumbing system before, you may have noticed spots building up on your dishes and glasses.

Now that you have hard water going through your pipes again, your dishes will start to accumulate the same problems. If you want to protect your glasses, plates, and bowls from developing these issues, make sure your water softener has plenty of salt.

You Have Limescale Buildup Throughout the Pipes

Finally, you will have limescale buildup accumulating throughout your pipes. The calcium and magnesium that you used to remove from your water supply have now returned, and they could stick together and form blockages throughout your pipes. This means that your plumbing system will have to work harder to do its job, causing some of your appliances to burn out faster than expected.

For example, you might have some limescale building up throughout your water heater, causing clogs to develop. Then, your water heater has to work harder than it typically does, putting more stress on the internal components. You might even notice that your water heater develops problems more frequently, and you might have to replace it sooner.

If you want to prevent all of these issues from developing, you need to make sure your water softener has enough salt.

How Often Do You Need To Add Salt to Your Water Softener?

Clearly, you need to make sure that you have enough salt in your water softener, but how often do you need to replace it? There are a number of factors that will play a role, but the general advice is that you need to refill the salt in your brine tank every 8 to 12 weeks.

It depends on how much water you use and how much salt you use per day. If you have a lot of people living in your home, you may go through more water on a daily basis, which means that you will run out of salt more quickly as well. You may need to refill the salt in your brine tank every 8 weeks instead of every 12 weeks.

On the other hand, if you do not use that much water, you may be able to go closer to 12 weeks before you need to refill the salt in your brine tank. If you have questions, you should get in the habit of manually checking your water softener tank from time to time. That way, you know your water softener will continue to remove calcium and magnesium minerals.

If you have a DROP Smart Water Softener, you can forget manually checking and rely on the DROP App to send you notifications, texts, or emails, whenever you are low on salt. That makes life much easier.

Make Sure You Have Softened Water With DROP’s Water Softeners and Water Filters

If you want to maximize the benefits of your water softener, you need to use the best equipment on the market. At DROP, we have smart water softeners and water filters that you can use to protect your home’s water supply. Take a closer look at our selection of water softener systems today, and let us help you find the right softener to meet your needs.

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