January 1, 2015

How to replace a water softener timer

By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace a water softener timer

This DIY repair guide explains how to replace the timer in a water softener. The timer controls the water softening and regeneration cycles, and lets you program the settings of the water softener. If there's power to the water softener but the display is blank, or if the control panel won't work when you touch a button, replace the timer with the manufacturer-approved replacement part.

Use this procedure to replace the timer in Kenmore, GE and Whirlpool water softeners.

Quick links
Tools required
Work gloves
Repair difficulty
Time required
15 minutes or less
Repair difficulty
Time required
15 minutes or less
How to replace a water softener timer repair guide video.

Replacing a water softener timer video.

Instructions

01.

Disconnect electrical power

Unplug the water softener to disconnect power.

02.

Remove the top cover

Open the lid and release the 2 front clips on the cover.

Lift the front of the cover up and push it back to release the rear tabs.

Pull the top cover off.

Open the lid.

Open the lid.

Release the front clips.

Release the front clips.

Remove the top cover.

Remove the top cover.

03.

Remove control panel

Release the locking tabs on the sides of the control panel and pull the control panel off.

Release the control panel locking tabs.

Release the control panel locking tabs.

04.

Remove the salt storage tank light

Pull the light for the salt storage tank up and out of the top of the tank.

Tip: The salt storage tank light is hardwired to the timer and cannot be disconnected.
Pull the salt tank light out.

Pull the salt tank light out.

05.

Remove the timer

Pull the 2 black wires off of the timer.

Unplug the wire harness from the timer.

Disconnect the valve motor wire harness.

Release the locking tabs at the corners of the timer and pull the timer out of the control panel.

Disconnect the timer wire harness.

Disconnect the timer wire harness.

Disconnect the black wires.

Disconnect the black wires.

Unplug the motor wire harness.

Unplug the motor wire harness.

Release the timer locking clips.

Release the timer locking clips.

06.

Install the new timer

A new salt storage tank light is attached to the new timer.

Push the new salt storage tank light into the opening at the top of the salt tank.

Position the new timer in the control panel and snap the timer into the control panel locking tabs.

Connect the wires to the new timer.

Plug in the valve motor wire harness.

Install the tank light.

Install the tank light.

Connect the timer wires.

Connect the timer wires.

Connect the motor wire harness.

Connect the motor wire harness.

07.

Reinstall the control panel

Position the control panel on the top of the tank and engage the locking tabs.

08.

Reinstall the top cover

Position the back of the top cover into the rear tabs and then push the front of the top cover down into the front locking clips.

Close the lid.

Reinstall the top cover.

Reinstall the top cover.

09.

Restore power

Plug the power cord back in.

10.

Program the new timer

Program the new timer according to the instructions in your owner’s manual.

Warning: Undertaking repairs to appliances can be hazardous. Use the proper tools and safety equipment noted in the guide and follow all instructions. Do not proceed until you are confident that you understand all of the steps and are capable of completing the repair. Some repairs should only be performed by a qualified technician.
Symptoms for water softeners

Choose a symptom to see related water softener repairs.

Main causes: broken resin tank screen, bad resin tank seals, cracked upper distributor in resin tank
Main causes: faulty brine valve assembly, bad rotor valve
Main causes: clogged drain hose, faulty rotor valve, leaky rotor valve seals
Main causes: lack of electrical power, bad power transformer, faulty timer
Main causes: loose water line connections, cracked water-carrying components, bad rotor valve seals
Main causes: empty salt tank, salt bridge, depleted resin, clogged or damaged venturi, broken rotor position switch, failed timer
Main causes: salt bridge inside the salt tank, bad timer, valve motor failure, faulty rotor valve, clogged venturi
Main causes: broken water flow meter, faulty timer, water flow to softener is bypassed
Repair guides for water softeners

These step-by-step repair guides will help you safely fix what’s broken on your water softener.

How to replace a water softener rotor position switch

The rotor position switch detects the position of the valve rotor. If the rotor position switch fails, follow these steps to replace it in about half an hour.

Repair difficulty
Time required
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January 1, 2015
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How to replace a water softener venturi

The venturi draws brine water from the salt tank to the resin tank for regeneration. Follow these steps to replace a damaged venturi.

Repair difficulty
Time required
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January 1, 2015
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How to replace a water softener valve motor

The valve motor rotates the valve rotor to operate the water softener. If the valve motor fails, follow these steps to replace the valve motor.

Repair difficulty
Time required
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Use the advice and tips in these articles and videos to get the most out of your water softener.

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