Water Softener: No soft water
An empty salt tank, salt bridge, depleted resin, clogged or damaged venturi, broken rotor position switch or failed timer can prevent the water softener from producing soft water.
If your skin doesn't feel slick after taking a shower, that's a good sign you don't have soft water. You can check water hardness using the method shown in our how to check water hardness video.
If your water is hard, check the salt tank first. Fill the tank with salt if it's empty. If the tank has salt, but the salt level hasn't changed in several months, the salt pellets may have caked up and formed a salt bridge inside the tank. An empty space forms under the salt bridge, preventing brine production. Without brine, the resin filter won't regenerate and water won't get softened. If you find a salt bridge in the salt tank, carefully use a broom handle to break up the salt bridge. The salt from the bridge will fall to the bottom of the tank and mix with the tank water to make brine and regenerate the resin beads so you'll start getting soft water again.
Resin lasts about 10 to 15 years; it eventually loses its ability to attract hard salt ions. If the regeneration cycle works but output water is still hard and your resin is older than 10 years, then you'll likely need to replace the resin.
The venturi sends brine from the salt tank to the resin filter tank to regenerate the resin beads. A clogged or damaged venturi can cause hard water because the venturi can't move the brine water into the resin filter tank. Clean or replace the venturi if brine water level in the salt tank doesn't go down during regeneration.
A failed rotor position switch or bad timer can also cause hard water output from the water softener. If the rotor position switch fails, the timer will display an error code and won't initiate the regeneration cycle. Check the rotor position switch using the diagnostic test cycle described in your owner's manual. Replace the rotor position switch if it doesn't work. If the timer fails to respond when you initiate the diagnostic test cycle, you'll likely need to replace the timer.
Replace the water softener venturi
The venturi creates a vacuum that draws brine water from the salt tank into the resin tank for regenerating the resin filter. A damaged venturi won't draw brine into the resin tank. Replace the venturi if it's damaged.
Clean the water softener venturi
The venturi draws brine water into the resin tank to regenerate the resin filter. A dirty venturi won't draw brine water into the resin tank. Clean the venturi periodically to maintain steady brine flow into the resin tank for regenerating the resin filter.
Replace the water softener timer
The timer is an electronic control board that lets you program the water softener. The timer also controls the functions such as water softening and flushing the resin filter. Replace the timer if it fails to control the water softener's functions.
Replace the water softener rotor position switch
The timer uses the rotor position switch to monitor the position of the valve rotor. If the rotor position switch is defective, the valve motor runs continuously because the timer can't detect the position of the valve rotor. Replace the rotor position switch if the valve motor runs continuously.
Replace the water softener resin beads
As the water flows through the resin tank, resin beads act as magnets to attract and remove the hard water minerals that make the water hard. Resin beads last for about 10 years before losing effectiveness. Replace the resin beads every 10 years or when you notice that the water softener no longer softens water despite preventive maintenance and system troubleshooting.
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.
The venturi draws brine water from the salt tank to the resin tank for regeneration. Follow these steps to replace a damaged venturi.
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Find answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about water softener repairs.