Water Softener: Salty water

A clogged drain hose, faulty water softener rotor valve or leaking rotor valve seals can cause salty output water from the water softener.

A clogged drain hose can prevent brine water from being flushed from the resin filter during regeneration, causing salty water. Clear the drain hose if it's clogged.

A bad rotor valve won't direct water through the softener properly and can cause salty output water. Use the diagnostic test in the owner's manual to check the operation of the rotor. Replace the rotor valve if it won't move when the valve motor runs.

If the drain line is clear and the rotor valve moves properly in the diagnostic test, then leaking seals in the rotor valve are likely causing salty output water. Examine the rotor valve seals and replace any damaged seals.

water softener

These repairs may help solve your water softener problem

Replace the water softener rotor valve

Replace the water softener rotor valve

The rotor valve directs water through the water softener to complete functions such as softening water and flushing the resin filter. A defective valve leaks water or locks up and doesn't move. Replace the rotor valve if it leaks or it's damaged.

Replace the water softener rotor valve seal

Replace the water softener rotor valve seal

The rotor valve seal on the bottom of the rotor valve prevents water from leaking out of the valve and allows water to flow through the proper opening at the bottom of the rotor valve.

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
 30 minutes or less
January 1, 2015
By Lyle Weischwill
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
 15 minutes or less
January 1, 2015
By Lyle Weischwill
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
 30 minutes or less
Articles and videos for water softeners

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

February 1, 2018
How to read a wiring schematic video
By Sears PartsDirect staff

Learn how to decipher symbols so you can buy the right part for your problem.

January 20, 2015
Water softener common questions
By Sears PartsDirect staff

Find answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about water softener repairs.

January 20, 2015
How a water softener works
By Sears PartsDirect staff

Learn how a water softener works to provide your home with soft water.