Why Is The Salt In My Water Softener Not Going Down?

The salt in your water softener is responsible for removing hardness minerals from the water and leaving it softer and cleaner. When the salt level is low, it can cause a number of issues such as scale buildup on appliances, clogged pipes, and poor water pressure. If you notice that the salt level in your water softener isn’t going down, it’s important to investigate the issue and find out why.

Why Is The Salt In My Water Softener Not Going Down?

Why Is The Salt In My Water Softener Not Going Down
Salt In Water Softener Not Going Down
  • Salt Bridge: Salt bridges are typically the cause of this issue. A salt bridge forms when the moisture in your brine tank does not get drained out due to a high water level or if a large amount of salt has congealed on the bottom of the tank, creating a wall that blocks off the flow of water and prevents it from draining. The brine tank should be checked periodically to make sure that this is not happening.
  • The Water softener is bypassed: When the water softener is bypassed, the salt reservoir gets filled up but the brine tank does not get flushed. This results in a build-up of salt in the tank. To fix this issue, you must turn off the bypass and flush out the brine tank by running it on regeneration for at least two hours.
  • Clogged injector: An injector is used to transfer the salt into the brine tank. When this gets clogged, it can cause the salt levels to stay high in your water softener. To fix this issue, check and clean the injector so that it functions properly.
  • Restricted drain line: One reason why the salt in your water softener might not be going down is due to a restricted drain line. If the drain line has become clogged or collapsed, water will not be able to flow freely out of the unit and cause an increase in the amount of salt that remains in it. To check if this is the problem, remove the cap from the drain line and check for any blockage. If there is, you should clear it out with a plumber’s snake or other appropriate tool.
  • Not metering water: If your water softener is not metering the water out of the brine tank, it may be that the salt has hardened or become compacted in the bottom of the tank. This can happen over time if you have very hard water and a lot of iron in your supply. To solve this issue, you will need to manually break up the salt and re-fill the brine tank with fresh salt. This should be done at least once a year to make sure your water softener is running as efficiently as possible.
  • No power: If the salt in your water softener is not going down, it may be due to a power outage or an electrical surge that has caused the unit to shut off. Check your electricity connection and make sure all of the breakers are on before attempting any further troubleshooting.
  • System settings: The system settings for your water softener may have been incorrectly configured. Make sure that the regeneration frequency and cycle length settings are correct for your specific type of unit.
  • Excessive water hardness: If your water is very hard, the salt may dissolve too quickly and be unable to keep up with the amount of softened water it is producing. In this case, you will need to switch to a salt with a higher grain size.
  • Seized piston: If the salt in your water softener is not going down, it could be due to a seized piston. When this happens, the brine being drawn from the water softener will cause the interlock to stick open, meaning that no new salt can enter into the unit. This can be easily fixed by replacing the interlock with a new one or by lubricating it with a silicone-based lubricant.
  • Improper regeneration cycle: If your water softener is not going down, you may need to check the settings and adjust the regeneration cycle. The regeneration cycle is what allows the salt to cleanse the minerals from your water and store them so they can be removed from your home’s water supply. Make sure that the regeneration cycle is set up properly and that it is running at the right interval. If it is not, then you may need to make adjustments or consider replacing your softener.
  • Issues with the brine tank: If the salt in your water softener is not going down, it could be an issue with the brine tank. This could be due to a number of things such as a plugged outlet tube which prevents used regeneration water from being discharged properly or a faulty float valve that does not allow for enough brine solution to be drawn into the resin bed. It could also be a clogged injector, which prevents salt from entering the brine tank or a broken control valve that prevents regeneration cycles from occurring as they should.
  • Water pressure problems: If you’ve noticed that the salt levels in your water softener remain unchanged after regeneration, it’s likely due to a pressure issue. The most common reason for this is an insufficient supply of water or if the valve is blocked by debris. You can check your water supply to make sure it meets the manufacturer’s requirements and clear any blockages. If the pressure is still low, you may need to contact a plumbing professional to make sure that there isn’t an issue with your pipes.

Symptoms Of Salt Not Going Down

  • Hard water: If your water is hard, it means that there is too much calcium and magnesium in the water. This can build up on the resin beads in your softener (where salt is added) and result in a clogged tank which prevents the salt from going down.
  • Soap scum: Soap scum is formed when minerals in hard water combine with soap to form an insoluble substance. It can be difficult to remove and tends to build up over time, reducing the efficiency of your water softener. As a result, the salt in your system may become depleted faster than normal.
    Soap scum
    Soap scum
  • Mineral buildup in pipes and appliances:The salt in your water softener is not going down because of mineral buildup. Over time, pipes and appliances can become clogged with minerals like calcium and magnesium. These minerals build up in the plumbing system, reducing water flow and preventing the softener from doing its job. Hard water contains high levels of these minerals, which are deposited on the walls of pipes and fixtures. Eventually, these deposits will block the flow of water, preventing it from entering your softener’s tank. This can cause problems with the brine solution, which is what helps to reduce mineral deposits in hard water.
    Mineral buildup in pipes and appliances
    Mineral buildup in pipes
  • Stiff Laundry: Water that is softened by a water softener can cause laundry to be stiff. This is due to the calcium and magnesium salts in the water that are not being removed when it passes through the softener. To fix this problem, the salt levels in your softener must be reduced. If they remain too high, they will continue to interfere with the cleaning process, leaving your clothes feeling stiff and uncomfortable.
    Stiff Laundry
    Stiff Laundry
  • Skin irritation: One likely reason why the salt in your water softener is not going down is due to skin irritation. If you notice that your skin feels dry or itchy after using softened water, this could be a sign of high levels of sodium chloride. To combat this issue, you can try adding more salt to the system and adjusting the settings accordingly. Alternatively, you can try using a different type of salt such as potassium chloride.
    Skin irritation
    Skin irritation

How To Fix If Salt Is Not Going Down In Softener?

Make sure system is plugged in: Ensure that the system is plugged in and turned on. If the power has been shut off, no salt will be used and it will not go down.

Break up the salt bridge
Break up the salt bridge

Break up the salt bridge: If salt is not going down in your water softener, a common cause could be the formation of a so-called “salt bridge.” This occurs when an accumulation of salt and minerals builds up at the bottom of the brine tank, creating a barrier between the brine solution and salt that sits above it. To break up the salt bridge, use a broom handle or other stick to stir and dislodge the material at the bottom of your brine tank. Additionally, you can add hot water to help dissolve any solids that may be creating this barrier. Once the salt bridge is broken up, the softener should start regenerating as normal again.

Turn bypass valve to service position
Turn bypass valve to service position

Turn bypass valve to service position: Turn the bypass valve, which can be found on the outside of your water softener, to the service position. This will allow you to access the salt reservoir and inspect it for any kind of blockage or contamination that may be preventing the salt from going down correctly.

Replace the brine injector: The brine injector is a small plastic device that helps move the salt from your water softener’s brine tank into the main pipe. If it becomes clogged or broken, then it can prevent the salt from being used properly and going down in the tank. To check if this is the issue, remove the brine injector and clean it with a damp cloth. If the injector is damaged beyond repair, then you may need to replace it.

Replace piston and seals
Replace piston and seals

Replace piston and seals: If the salt in your water softener is not going down and you have already checked the brine tank float, it may be time to check if your piston and seals need replacing. The piston and seals are part of a system that helps ensure your water softener works efficiently. If they are damaged or worn out, they can cause problems with your system, including the salt not going down. Replacing the piston and seals is a relatively simple process that most homeowners can do themselves. It is important to use high-quality replacement parts for optimal results.


Can you mix different salts in your water softener salt tank?

No, it is not recommended to mix different types of salt in a water softener salt tank. Different kinds of salts can react with each other in ways that are not beneficial for the water softener system, and can cause clumping or bridging which can reduce efficiency and lead to an inefficient operation. It is best to keep one type of salt in the tank, such as potassium chloride or sodium chloride. It is also important to not mix rock salts with evaporated salts in a single tank as this can cause problems due to different grain sizes and densities.

Can you use old salt that has clumps of salt in it?

No, it is important to use only the freshest salt possible. If the salt in your water softener is not going down, you should check to make sure that you are using the correct type of salt for your system. Many water softeners will require either evaporated or block salts. In addition, checking the setting on your water softener can help to make sure that it is operating at the correct level.

What is the lifespan of a water softener?

The lifespan of a water softener depends on how hard the incoming water is, as well as how much you use it. Generally speaking, the average lifespan of a residential water softener is 8-10 years. If your salt levels seem to be decreasing more quickly than expected, it could mean that either the incoming water is harder than expected or the water softener is malfunctioning.

Can I use any type of salt in my water softener?

The type of salt you put in your water softener is important. Different salts work differently and can affect how well the system works. The most common type of salt used in a water softener is sodium chloride (salt). Other types of salts, such as potassium chloride, magnesium chloride, and calcium chloride may also be used. However, these alternative salts are more expensive and may require special equipment.

How often should I clean my water softener?

Regularly cleaning your water softener is important to ensure it continues to work properly and efficiently. Depending on the type of water softener you have, you should clean it at least once every six months. You should also check the salt levels in your system regularly, as well as inspect the brine tank for any signs of buildup or blockages. If you notice any build-up, it is important to clean out the tank before continuing use.

What is the best way to store salt for my water softener?

What is the best way to store salt for my water softener?
Best way to store salt

When storing salt for your water softener, it is important to consider the type of salt you are using. The most common types of salt used in water softeners are sodium chloride (NaCl) and potassium chloride (KCl). Both types can be stored in a dry or damp location, but the amount of moisture will affect how long the salt can be stored. In general, if you store your salt in a dry location and keep it properly sealed, it can last up to one year. You may also want to consider purchasing an airtight container to keep moisture out of the salt.


When it comes to salt levels in water softeners, maintaining the appropriate level is important for effective operation. If you notice that your salt levels are not going down, there could be a few possible causes. You may need to check your system settings, inspect the brine tank for blockages or mineral build-up, or adjust the regeneration cycle as needed. With the right maintenance, you can ensure that your water softening system works properly and efficiently. Remember, if all else fails, call a professional to help with any more complicated issues. Maintaining your softener is important in order for it to work effectively, so make sure to check on it regularly!

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