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What to Do When My Water Softener is Running and Water Won’t Stop?

Water softeners are crucial appliances that ensure the quality of your home’s water. However, they can sometimes present unexpected challenges, such as running water non-stop. This common issue usually indicates that your water softener is stuck in a continuous regeneration mode. 

There are plenty of additional reasons why your water softener won’t stop running though. For example, you may have a broken circuit switch, the control head might not have been programmed properly, the water lines might be clogged, or there could be an issue with one of the valves in the water softener. You need to understand how to evaluate this problem, figure out what the issue is, and fix it.

Understanding the potential reasons and solutions for this problem can prevent costly water waste and protect the longevity of your appliance.

Water Softener Keeps Running: The Most Common Reasons

There could be several reasons why your water softener regeneration cycle keeps running, resulting in a constant flow of water. A few of the most common causes include:

You Have a Broken Circuit Switch

The circuit switch is a crucial element of your water softener, responsible for signaling the start and end of the regeneration cycle. Over time, this switch can succumb to wear and tear, or it might be affected by electrical issues. When it breaks, it can interrupt the communication within the system, leading to a never-ending water softener regenerate cycle. This could lead to the unit wasting significant amounts of water and even decreasing its lifespan.

The Water Softener Control Valve or Head Is Not Programmed Properly

The control head serves as the brain of your water softener, overseeing its operations, including the vital regeneration process. It uses preset program settings to guide its functions. However, if these settings are incorrect—perhaps due to an error during initial setup or after a reset—the system may continually cycle through regeneration. In this case, the water softener would continue to consume water, not realizing it has completed the necessary stages of the process.

The Control Head Has Failed

The control head is a mechanical device that, like any other, can malfunction or fail over time. It’s exposed to continual water flow, varying water pressures, and electrical currents, all of which can contribute to eventual wear and tear. If the control head fails completely, it can’t properly direct the operations of the water softener. Consequently, it may stick in the regeneration cycle, causing continuous water flow.

You Have a Clog in Your Water Lines or Drain Line

Your water softener’s efficient operation relies on clear water lines. However, sediment, mineral buildup, or a breakdown of the resin bed can lead to blockages in these lines. Such a clog can create back pressure, impeding the normal flow of water. As a result, the system may interpret this as an incomplete regeneration cycle and continue to run water in an attempt to complete multiple regeneration cycles.

The Brine Tank Valve Has Been Clogged

The water softener brine float tank valve plays a critical role during the regeneration process by controlling the flow of brine into the resin tank. This brine is essential for recharging the resin beads that soften your water. If this valve gets clogged—possibly due to rock salt bridge build-up or debris—it can interfere with the correct flow of brine. This obstruction can disrupt the regeneration process, causing the water softener to remain in this cycle and continuously run water.

The Water Pressure Is Too Low

The regeneration process in a water softener requires an adequate level of water pressure. If the water pressure in your home is too low, it might not push enough water through the system to complete the regeneration cycle properly. This insufficient pressure might lead the system to believe the cycle is not complete, resulting in the water softener remaining in regeneration mode and persistently running water.

These are just a few of the many reasons why your water softener might be running. You must make sure you figure out what the culprit is if you want to fix the problem. 

How Do You Figure Out What the Problem Is With the Regeneration Cycle?

Identifying the exact cause of your water softener’s continuous regeneration can involve several steps:

  1. Check the programming on your control head.

    Ensure that the settings are correct for your specific unit and water hardness level. You may want to check the manual for more information on this topic, as you might need to go to the bypass valve and put it in bypass mode.

  2. Inspect the circuit switch for any visible damage or irregularities.

    If there is anything that looks off, or if it doesn’t match what the manual looks like, it could be a sign that there is a problem with the circuit switch.

  3. Look for any signs of clogging or blockages in the brine tank valve and water lines.

    Clogs can happen from time to time, particularly if you do not stay up to date on routine maintenance.

  4. Test your home’s water pressure to make sure it’s within the correct range for your water softener.

    You may want to take a closer look at your manual to see what your water pressure should be.

  5. If the issue persists after these steps, you may need to consult with a professional who can diagnose and fix the problem.

    You do not want to continue working on your water softener if you feel like you could damage it in the process. Consider turning off the unit and putting it in bypass mode.

If you want the problem to be fixed properly on the first attempt, you may want to consider reaching out to a professional who can help you get the water flowing again.

How To Prevent Your Water Softener From Clogging

Keeping your water softener in optimal condition involves regular maintenance to prevent issues like clogging. Here are some key measures you can take to keep your system running smoothly:

  • Regular Inspections: Check your water softener system periodically for signs of wear and tear or any visible clogs. This proactive approach can help you identify issues early, before they escalate.
  • Clean Your Brine Tank: Salt build-up in the brine tank can lead to blockages that disrupt the water softener’s functioning. Regular cleaning of the brine tank helps prevent this issue. Aim to do this at least once a year, or more frequently if your water hardness level is high.
  • Use High-Quality Resin and Salt Pellets: Not all resins and salt pellets are created equal. Using high-quality products can reduce the amount of residue left behind, reducing the chances of clogs. Resin and salt pellets that are specially designed for water softening systems are usually the best choice.
  • Regular Water Tests: Regular testing of your water can help you gauge the hardness level accurately. This information is critical to set your water softener settings accurately. Overloading the system can lead to clogs and other issues.
  • Scheduled Maintenance: Regular maintenance by a professional can help ensure that all parts of the system are working correctly. They can detect any potential issues and fix them before they become major problems.

By following these tips, you can extend the lifespan of your water softener and maintain its efficiency, ensuring a steady supply of soft water in your home.

Count on DROP for the Best Water Softeners

Water softeners are essential for ensuring the longevity of your home appliances and the quality of your water. As we have shown, understanding common issues and how to resolve them can go a long way in maintaining your system. You should expect your water softener to do its job well, but understand that there might be some minor issues from time to time. You need to know when you can fix these issues on your own and when you can reach out to an expert. 

If you’re facing problems with your water softener or are looking to invest in a new one, trust DROP for high-quality, efficient water softeners and filters. We have worked hard to make sure that our options are the best on the market, and it would be our pleasure to help you improve the quality of your water supply as well. Explore our selection today for solutions that prioritize your home’s water health, and let us provide you with the reliable, safe, and clean drinking water that you deserve.

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