Water Softener Repair and Troubleshooting Guide

Water Softener Repair and Troubleshooting Guide

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If you live in an area with hard water, you already know that a water softener is an important tool for everyday life.

Like other appliances, a water softener can malfunction and require repair. A water softener repair bill could be very costly. And most of the time, you can fix the problem yourself and save a little cash.

Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to fix the problem, especially if you are not an expert at doing it yourself. But don’t worry because this water softener repair and troubleshooting guide will help you fix most of the problems your devices may develop.

To begin, I would like to state that water softeners are really dependable water treatment devices. Quality water softeners should last anywhere from 10 to 30 years with minimal maintenance and annual cleanings.

If yours fails to function properly, there is an initial procedure that you should follow to figure out what is wrong with the system.

Also, you should familiarize yourself with the following water treatment system troubleshooting tips, which will help you identify important components in the system that are used to improve the quality of drinking water.

Water Softener Troubleshooting Guide

Check the Power

If your water softening system runs on electricity, you will need to double-check the power source. It should be connected to a live power outlet, and you may need to check if a fuse has been cut.

Some water softeners come with controls that are powered by a low voltage transformer. If this is your case, the device must be connected to receive enough power. The basic voltage output module can be used to test the transformer and ensure that it is producing DC at the right voltage level.

Check the Bypass Valve:

The most important thing to check is to confirm that the bypass valve is not set to bypass settings. To get proper water treatment benefits, the water entering your home must pass through a water softener. Don’t panic if you don’t see a bypass valve; it’s an optional addition that your system might not have. A globe valve could be used instead of a bypass valve to accomplish the same task.

Check the Brine Tank:

One of the common reasons for water not softening is a lack of salt in the brine tank. The tank needs to be filled with a sufficient amount of salt.

However, there are other things to keep in mind. If the tank has been full for a long time, the salt may not be used, or a crust of salt may have formed in the tank. This is called brine tank bridging and can be fixed by running the water softener regeneration cycle. The device should be cleaned in such a way that it break the salt crust and restore regular operation.

The system should then be checked during the next week to confirm that the water is being softened and it regenerated properly.

Check the Resin Bed:

This is a group of thousands of small resin beads inside the water softener tank. When water goes into the softener, it passes through the resin bed and gets in contact with resin beads. After running through the bed, hardness minerals will be left behind, and only soft water will exit the tank. The resin bed in your water softener may need to be replaced if it stops working properly.

Check the Regeneration Setting:

This is a process by which a water softener forces out the minerals it grasps from hard water to continue to soften new water as it flows through. If the timer is not correctly set or fails, the softener may be running at the wrong time of day or may not reset at all.

It is better to set a single-tank softener to regenerate at night. If it is on during the day when the water usage is higher, you may be getting hard water because the unit can’t keep up. To test the timer, you can set it for a daily regeneration cycle and listen to see if the unit comes on during the night.

It is important to set the control on your water softener because it lets you set the clock to your own preferences. The Settings panel is located in the system; some of the panels have buttons and digital readouts, and older ones may have a different appearance. The guide may describe the basic settings; however, you may need to change your settings, including the regeneration cycle frequency.

If the setting isn’t the issue, it’s possible that your water softener needs to be replaced. When it comes to choosing a water softener for your home’s water usage, it’s always better to get professional advice.

Common Problems with Water Softeners and How to Fix Them

In many places in the US, water softeners are a must because of hard water levels. However, just like other home appliances, you can run into unexpected problems with your softening system time and again after its installation. Unfortunately, troubleshooting is not always easy, especially if you are not an expert at doing it yourself.

I wouldn’t go so far as to suggest you can accomplish this without any assistance. That is one of the reasons I have put together this comprehensive water softener repair and troubleshooting guide. It will show you how to recognize and fix some of the common problems with water softeners. To make it even easier, I have tabulated it to help you identify any problems with your water softener and guide you on how to effectively fix them.

Here are the common water softener problems:

  • Water softener not regenerating automatically or manually
  • No water in the brine tank
  • Water softener keeps running
  • Produced water is still hard and not softened
  • Salt bridges or salt mushing
  • Discoloration, debris, odors
  • The water softener isn’t using salt
  • Water softener stuck in regeneration
Water softener not regenerating automatically or manually  1. The common cause for this is a defective regeneration timer. Short of the timer; the machine would not know that it has to run its cycle.  

2. Also, clogs and build-ups on the system’s components can also prevent it from regenerating.    
1. To see if this is the problem, set the regeneration timer to daily and listen for the system to regenerate at the set time. If you don’t hear the particular sounds, it means your timer is broken, and you will need to replace it.

2. You may hear the sound of the specific cycle sound in this case, but you may notice that the soft water is saltier. If this happens, make sure you check the tubes and that water can flow through them to guarantee accurate operation.  
No water in the brine tank                          The accumulation of salt in the brine tank is one of the most common causes of this.

However, there may be other factors at play. The system bypass switch, for example, could be shut off, resulting in no water flowing through the system at all.        
First, make sure the float switch on the brine tank is straight and can move easily up and down (if it has one). Cleaning all sections inside the brine well should solve the problem if it’s stuck.

Replace a broken switch as the last option. Also, to ensure that the brine line and the valve are not clogged, to enable the brine to be sucked in. Soak in hot water and flush out the unclog.  
Water softener keeps runningThis may be due to a blockage in the drain/control line, brine line/valve, or injector/venturi.

It could also be that the valve assembly on the salt tank is not moving or the water pressure in your home is too low.    
  Any blockages have to be removed.
Produced water is still hard and not softenedIron and other hard minerals can build up on the bottom of your resin tank over time. This makes it difficult for your resin beads to properly soften your water.

Like all equipment, a water softener is less effective as it ages. Also, over time, the chlorine in the water can cause the resin beads to become mushy and unable to remove minerals from the water.
Look for a resin cleaner that is designed to get rid of mineral buildup. Pour the required quantity of cleaner into the brine tank according to the specifications on the bottle.

With a screwdriver, turn the “regenerate” button on the control valve.   You might also consider installing a whole-house water filter before the softener to filter the chlorine and other contaminants from the water. This will help your softener last longer and secure your investment.

Lastly, If your water softener is more than 15 years and is no longer working to soften the water, the best option is to replace it. In this case, call a plumber to guide you through this process. They will be able to determine the size of the water softener you need and install it safely.
Salt bridges or Salt mushing  This is formed when a hard crust forms in the brine tank; it creates a separation between the water and the salt. The Salt is prevented from dissolving in water to make brine.

Salt mushing can also cause problems with the performance of your water softener. Instead of producing a crusty layer on the brine tank’s bottom, the salt recrystallizes, resulting in a salty sludge.  
Salt bridges and salt mushing are both do-it-yourself fixes.

To remove salt bridges or mushing from your water softener, you can do the following: Break the salt bridge with a broomstick, then drain and clean the tank before replacing it with fresh salt to remove the salt mushing.
Discoloration, debris, odorsSediment buildup.Empty and clean the brine tank, and make sure you use resin cleaner in the resin tank.
The water softener isn’t using salt  In this case, there is a problem with the entry valve motor. This is because the motor is supposed to control the amount of water going into the brine tank.

If not enough water enters the tank, the salt will not be able to dissolve in the water, and brine will not form.  
This problem can be fixed by changing the entry valve motor. Many people believe their water softener does not use salt when, in fact, it does.

It is common for brine tanks to form salt bridges. You won’t notice when the salt beneath this layer is used since a salt bridge forms on top of the previous salt. Remove the bridge to see your brine tank’s true salt level.
Water softener stuck in regeneration.A clogged injector or an obstruction in the brine line or valve could be the cause of the water softener stuck in the regeneration.If the unit is stuck in regeneration due to a glitch, you will hear these noises when you don’t expect to hear them. If something doesn’t look right, check the settings and reprogram the timer.

If you are not sure, refer to your user guide. In most cases, the only option to fix this problem is to replace or repair the defective component.  

How to Fix a Water Softener from Culligan, Rainsoft, and Eco Water

Water Softener Repair and Troubleshooting Guide: Repair a water softener from Culligan, Rainsoft, and Eco Water

How to Fix a Water Softener from Culligan

Since 1938, Culligan has been the best water softening firm, and the company continues to be a leading name in the water purification industry. With that experience comes a lot of support from local and international franchises.

If you have a Culligan water softener at home and maybe you are having a problem with it, before contacting your local dealer for help, there may be a few things you can check to get your water softener working again.

Despite the fact that the company has released numerous models throughout the years, basic troubleshooting has not changed much. You can take the following steps to troubleshoot your Culligan water softener.

Check the Power Supply:

Make sure the unit is plugged in and that the outlet already has power. This may demand checking fuses or circuit breakers.

Check the Salt:

Excessive use, such as when you have guests over for an extended period of time, can cause you to get by with more salt than usual.

Several models will display a “check salt” error code. This could be due to an obvious problem: Shortage of salt in the brine tank. Top-up the tank and leave it for about four hours before turning it on. The code could possibly be the cause of salt bridges.

The salt can build a bridge across the brine tank, giving the impression that there is salt in the tank, but it is actually a bridge over the water below. Break the bridge by carefully poking at the salt.

Check the Water Source:

If you are having a water shortage, check to see if you have water feeding the softener. Before checking the water softening system, look for water coming from a drain valve or an external spigot.

If there is water, close the service valves, open the bypass, and check again for water. At this point, it is time to call for assistance.

Check the Bypass Valve:

Make sure it’s in the right position; this can vary from one installation to another. Make sure the inlet and outlet valves are open, and the bypass valve is closed if there are individual valves.

Models like those in the Culligan Gold series have a “Push for Service” position. Ensure that the bypass valve is in the right position, based on your model and installation.

How to Fix a Water Softener from Rainsoft

RainSoft is a firm that makes water and air treatment and purification systems for the home. Low water pressure, the filter failing to regenerate automatically, and the system regenerating at the wrong time are some of the problems that can arise with RainSoft water treatment systems.

If you own a Rainsoft water softener, you need to understand how to troubleshoot common problems to resolve them quickly. These simple troubleshooting tips can help you decide on the best course of action.

System Does Not Regenerate:

If the RainSoft system does not regenerate automatically make sure it is powered on. It is also possible that the system is not properly counting gallons. Contact your RainSoft salesperson if this happens.

System Regenerates at Incorrect Time:

If your RainSoft water softener system is regenerating at the wrong time make sure the computer is set to the right time. The daylight saving time may also affect the start time for regeneration. If you live in a daylight saving time zone, make sure your computer is set to “on” for automatic daylight saving time.

Poor Water Quality:

Untreated water changes are the most common cause of poor water quality. If you believe the quality of the water that supplies your system has changed, request a new water analysis from your RainSoft representative. Sometimes leaving the bypass valve open can result in poor water quality. Check the valve and, if necessary, close it.

Low Water Pressure:

Open the bypass valve to check the cause of low water pressure. Check the water source for proper pressure if the pressure remains low. If opening the bypass valve restores normal pressure, the issue is with the water softener system, which will require service.

Water Is Salty or too Much Water in the Brine Tank:

Blockades in the brine valve, drain plug, or inlet can cause the water to become salty or lead to too much water to store in the brine tank. So, check the drain plug to make sure it’s draining properly. If the problem persists, call your RainSoft specialist to clean the brine valve and, if necessary, clear the injector. Low inlet pressure could also cause the issue. Request that the RainSoft representative checks this and, if necessary, adjust the pressure.

How to Troubleshoot Eco Water Softener

When an Eco Water Softener displays an error code, troubleshoot to clear the code and service the water softener. If the turbine is not working properly or the valve is not in the right position, you may get an error code. Test the hardness of the water to see whether it has to be adjusted.

Troubleshooting information can be found in the Manual. A diagnostic menu is included with the water softener to help manage the turbine and another setting. You can rely on the water softener’s self-cleaning functions to help you avoid calcium buildup and offer high-quality drinking water. The following are the steps to troubleshoot eco water softener.

Stage 1: Check the bypass valve, and set it in the “service” position after confirming that there is no soft water available.

Stage 2: To clean the water softener parts, disassemble the nozzle, venturi, and support screens. Put the water softener in “Service” Cycle, then use water and the CLR kitchen cleanser to clean the parts. First, replace the nozzle and venturi, then the support screens.

Stage 3: If no soft water is available, check if there is a salt bridge. Break the salt bridge using a spoon and, if necessary, refill the salt in the storage bin. Also, press the “Select” key to show the “Basic Settings” and then scroll down to highlight “Hardness.” To adjust the setting, press “Select.”

Stage 4: Examine the valve drain hose, ensure it does not rise above the water softener, and straighten out any curves when no soft water is available.

Stage 5: To access the “Diagnostics” screen, press the “Select” button. To check if the turbine is running, press the “Down” arrow to navigate to the “Turbine Count.” If “0” appears on the screen, open a faucet serviced by the water softener and allow the count to reset once a gallon of water has flowed.

Stage 6: Confirm the water softener’s recharge time setting. To access the main menu, press the “Select” button. . Scroll down to Basic Settings and select Recharge Time. Press “Select” and use the up and down buttons to set the desired time.


Even if you are not an expert, you can troubleshoot and repair your water softener. Some problems are easy to diagnose and fix, while others are more difficult.

Measuring the output of the water hardness is a good starting point. If the hard water level doesn’t drop, it’s time for some troubleshooting.


Even if you are not an expert, you can troubleshoot and repair your water softener. Some problems are easy to diagnose and fix, while others are more difficult.

Measuring the output of the water hardness is a good starting point. If the hard water level doesn’t drop, it’s time for some troubleshooting.

Make sure the system is properly plugged into the power outlet, check the salt level in the brine tank, check the regeneration settings and adjust if required. If that didn’t help, then it’s time to check out the above water softener troubleshooting guide.

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