10 Most Common Water Softener Problems

If you want to drink and use hard water without being wasteful, then a water softener installation is a necessary investment to make. However, with all equipment comes maintenance and sometimes you can run into some issues. Here are some of the very common water softener problems and ways you can fix them.

Regeneration Is Not Occurring

Regeneration is a process that allows the resin bed to be replenished after each softening cycle. This is the flushing of different compounds with water to make sure that the resin bed doesn’t run out. Sometimes, this process can be halted or it won’t occur at all.

There can be a couple of reasons as to why this is happening. The power may not be turned off, there might be clogs in the system or the valves might be faulty.

Regeneration Isn’t Stopping

Speaking of no regeneration, there can also be times, when the regeneration process just won’t stop or it occurs at different times. This is also not a good sign because you’re just wasting a lot of electricity and water.

Regeneration is supposed to occur only at certain times and it occurs after a softening cycle. The reason why regeneration might not be stopping can be broken switches, low pressure of water, constant draining, and issues in the resin and brine tank.

Water Isn’t Getting Softened

This is one of the major issues of a water softener. If a water softener isn’t softening water, then this can be a huge problem because it’s not doing the only thing it’s supposed to do.

First of all, you want to check your brine tank and see if there’s enough salt in it. Depletion of salt in the brine tank can lead to insufficient softening of water and you’ll just be wasting power over nothing.

There might also be clogging in the brine tank, usually at the very bottom and it’s not allowing proper flushing of water.

While you’re at it, check the power switch of the water softener too. If there isn’t sufficient power for the water softener, it won’t operate at all.

There Are Leaks

Leaks are also an alarming issue in water softeners. A working water softener shouldn’t leak from anywhere, but as water softeners get old, leaks can become inevitable. The most plausible explanation for this problem is that the parts might not be tightly screwed on and this might be causing the water and brine tank to leak.

If your water softener hasn’t been maintained for some time now, then check for rust in parts too because corroding of the parts can also lead to leaks.

No Water In Salt Tank

The salt or brine tank needs to be filled with water at all times. If you see a decline in the water levels, then you can troubleshoot it to figure out the cause.

Check to see if the water is coming from the inlet valve and if there’s any sign of obstruction in the tank. This can allow the water to stop filling up the tank. Another thing you can do is check the float valve. The height of the valve should be according to the manual and you can easily do it by following the instructions.

Water Is Getting Salty

Softened water can have a bit of a salty taste, especially after the treatment, but that doesn’t mean that it should be borderline bitter. This is an issue that you need to look over. There should not be too much salt in the water, otherwise, it’s impossible to even swallow a sip of it.

This can also be due to problems in the brine tank. There should be sufficient water present in the brine tank because that’s what allows proper flushing of the water and leaves all of the unnecessary salt behind and at the bottom of the tank so that the softened water can be pleasantly tasty.

If the salt tank is fine and there’s no issue in it, then you might need to check the salt type you’re using. If you’ve recently changed the type of salt you use in the water softener, then this could also lead to the water tasting a lot saltier.

Try to find pellet salts or solar salt cubes to use in a water softener because they don’t get dissolved as quickly and they get the job done too. Any other type of salt that dissolves faster in water is a no-go because it’ll just ruin the taste of water.

Pressure Is Building Up

There can also be excessive pressure in the water softener and that’s not a good sign at all. The pressure shouldn’t be too much, otherwise, the softening and regeneration process will not occur efficiently and you’ll be left with untreated and unusable water.

If the pressure gauge is showing a lot of pressure buildup in the assembly, then you might want to check the walls of the softener for scale buildup. Over time, if you don’t clean your water softener regularly, scale can lead to tremendous issues in the assembly.

Water Is Discolored

Usually, there is no color or tint in the water coming from the water softener, but if you see a slight color change, then there’s something wrong. The biggest reason might be the resin bed, which is in dire need of replacement.

Resin beds, once used up completely, will start to deposit sediments in the water and that can lead to the water getting tinted.

Other times, there might also be contamination in the water softener because of bacteria and fungus growth, and along with color change, there might be a weird taste to the water as well. So, you want to get all of these issues checked.

Salt Mushing

Mushing is the deposition of salt at the bottom of the brine tank. When salt is settled at the bottom for too long, it can harden over time and turn into a sludge of sorts. This can cause the water softener to misbehave and it won’t work effectively.

Due to this, the water might taste super salty, there might be a lot of pressure in the brine tank, water can start to leak if the sludge exceeds a certain height, and all of these things can put a damper on the performance of the water softener.

The Inlet Valve Isn’t Working

Sometimes, the water softener is unable to soften water because there isn’t any water coming from the inlet valve. This can be a clogging or pipe issue.

First of all, you’ll want to shut down the water softener and inspect the inlet valve and pipe. There might be a possibility of scale and sediments being deposited in front of the short opening of the valve. The pipe might also be slashed or leaked and that can prevent the water from entering the water softener due to pressure depletion.


These problems, even though they’re common, are going to affect the performance of the water softener greatly, so it’s a good idea to keep an eye out for any unexpected behavior of the water softener. If your water softener is older than 12 years, instead of spending money on repairs, get a new water softener system Warren.