5 Common Water Softener Problems

If you have suffered of hard water and you have solved such problems by choosing to have a water softener then you know how essential that machine can become for your and everyone who lives with you.

However, in the end, a water softener is just that: a machine, a machine that has a certain level of complexity and a number of different parts and pieces, and as such, it can always potentially break down or something might go wrong or fail. But fortunately if you take good care of your softener then a serious problem is unlikely to arise and a good manufacturer will cover its water softening units with an appropriate warranty.An image showing how to resolve water softener problems


Here is a list of the most common problems you might find with a water softener along with a brief overview of each one.


Problems with the resin beads

The resin beads are the core of any salt-based water softener, they are what make it work and as such they are a critical component of these devices. The resin beads are also supposed to last for the lifetime of the water softener so they are unlikely to be the first thing you may find a problem with. However, they sometimes need to replace them or at least to clean them. The clearest signal that your beads are failing is if your unit has to go into recharge cycles very often, or more than usual; and the most extreme one is if the beads start to disintegrate in which case your unit might start to get clogged with pieces of beads or you may start to find those in your water.



These are perhaps the most common problems found with water softeners or with any other water filter or plumbing equipment for that matter. Your water softener disposes of the minerals in your water and so, the minerals and salts are the most prone to create deposits. The first signs are a loss of pressure or if your water is not being softened. In that case you will have to clean your brine line or your filter screen which are the two parts more prone to be clogged with deposits.


User errors

These are by far the most common problems especially if you are using your first water softener. The most common errors on part of the user usually are that the system is off, the brine tank is out of salt or that the settings are incorrect for the hardness of your water.

The first thing any user has to do, especially if they have acquired their first water softener is of course to read the user manual.


Salt bridges

As seen above, any water softener works with minerals and salts which can buildup and form deposits. However, in more serious cases the buildup can extend to form what is known as a salt bridge. A loss of pressure or if your water is not being softened properly are the common signs. In either case you just have to open the salt deposit and manually break the salt bridge with any hard object.

Problems with the motor

The motor is the part of the softener that sees more use, and also the one most subjected to wear. If a water softener is not working at all, then it might be a problem with the electronics or a problem with the motor, and before deciding it is the motor and have it replaced you must first check every cable and connection including the power cord and definitely narrow it down to the motor.


These are just the most common problems most users find when they discover their water softeners are not working properly or at all, but there more possibilities with devices as complex as these, just as any other machine; and, the best way to prevent most of these issues are to take proper and good care of your softener and to always read the manual included by the manufacturer.