Why is My Water Softener Full of Water

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A water softener system allows hardened water to become soft so that soap and shampoo can lather up when you’re washing dishes or taking a bath. However, there comes a time when your water softener tank starts overflowing. But why does even the best water softener overflow?

Below are some of the reasons why your water softener brine tank might be full of water and how you can fix the problem.

Salt Bridges and Salt Mushing

If you notice that your water softener is full of water, there’s a chance that you have a salt bridge. A salt bridge forms when the salt in your brine tank becomes hard and crusty. This can happen if the humidity levels in your home are too low or if the salt isn’t properly dissolved.

Salt Bridges and Salt Mushing
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Salt mushing can also cause issues with your water softener’s performance. You can avoid salt bridging and salt mushing by using the highest quality salt, avoiding overpacking, and periodically allowing the salt level to drop adequately. Evaporated salt is the most soluble and contains the highest purity sodium, reducing the risk of mushing, clogging, or dirt deposits.

Your Brine Line Flow Control is Clogged

If your brine line flow control is clogged, water from the brine tank will be unable to reach the resin beads. As a result, your water softener won’t be able to regenerate and will eventually run out of salt.

You can clean your brine line flow control by removing it from the brine tank and soaking it in a vinegar solution overnight. In the morning, rinse it off with fresh water and reattach it to the brine tank. If your brine line flow control is damaged beyond repair, you’ll need to replace it.

Resin Replacement

The resin in your water softener does the hard work of capturing the minerals to make hard water into soft water through an ion exchange process. As the resin degrades over time, it becomes less effective at treating your water. You can tell when your resin needs to be replaced if you notice that your water isn’t as soft as it used to be or if the salt level in your brine tank is suddenly dropping quickly.

Clogged Injector

The injector is a small screen located at the bottom of the brine tank that allows salt water to flow into the resin tank. Over time, this screen can become clogged with sediment, which will prevent salt water from entering the resin tank and regenerating the resin.

A clogged water softener injector assembly is one of the most common reasons for a water softener not to work. This can usually be fixed by simply cleaning the screen on the injector with a brush. If the screen is badly clogged, it may need to be replaced.

Inside the injector nozzle is a small orifice that regulates the brine draw. Use something small, like a wooden toothpick, to clean it out. Do not use anything that’s hard enough to alter the hole size. It might be useful to use white vinegar or a scale-removing cleaning product on your injector.

Sticking Safety Float

If you have a water softener with an automatic shut-off valve, there’s a float inside that will tell the unit when it’s time to stop regenerating. The float is usually made of styrofoam or plastic and is connected to the control valve with a wire or rod. If this safety float gets stuck in the “on” position, the water softener will keep running even when it doesn’t need to. The best way to fix a sticking float is to simply clean it with soapy water and dry it off. If that doesn’t work, you may need to replace the float entirely. Read more on how to clean a water softener.

Dirty or Clogged Resin Beads

The resin beads inside your water softener need to be clean and free of any dirt or debris in order to work properly. If the beads become clogged, it will cause the water softener to regenerate more often than it should. You can clean the resin beads by backwashing them with a hose. You should also check the brine tank to make sure that the salt level is high enough.

Improperly Installed Brine Tubing

If the brine tubing is not installed properly, it can cause water to leak from the softener. This can lead to a number of problems, including low water pressure and an overflowing brine tank. The tubing must be in good condition and properly connected to the softener valve and at the brine tank float valve assembly. Read more on hooking up a water softener on our site.

Brine Drain Issues

The brine drain is what allows the brine solution to leave the tank and enter the resin bed during regeneration cycles. If the brine drain becomes blocked or disconnected, it can cause water to back up into the softener, leading to an overflowing brine tank.

Timer Not Configured Correctly

The water softener control will determine how often the system performs a regeneration cycle based on your water usage or your hardness level. If the softener isn’t programmed properly, it may cause the softener to regenerate too often or not too often enough.

It may also prevent some or all of the phases of a full regeneration cycle from taking place for the proper amount of time or from taking place at all.

How to Drain a Water Softener Brine Tank

Inspect the Brine Line

First, you need to check the brine line is properly attached to your brine tank into the float. The float will shut off the water flow once it has reached a certain height. If the brine line isn’t properly attached, it means the water will flow right into the tank, making the water in the brine tank too high.

Check the Brine Drain Line

The next thing you need to do is check the brine drain line. If this is clogged, it will cause water to back up into the brine tank, making the water level too high. To clean out the brine drain line, remove it from the brine tank and flush it out with a garden hose. If it’s not blocked, the brine solution cannot get sucked out of your tank during the regeneration process.

Check the Drain Line Flow Control

Check the Drain Line Flow Control
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The drain line flow control is a small black disc that regulates the amount of water flowing out of the brine tank. If it’s clogged, it won’t work properly, and your water softener may become full of water. You should clean off any deposits that you see on it that may be plugging up the hole.

Make Sure Your Brine Line Flow Control Isn’t Clogged

The brine line flow control has a very small hole, so it’s easy for debris to get stuck in it and clog it up. If it’s blocked, it will no longer draw brine out of your tank. If there is debris in the hole, make sure you clean it out.

Use the Control Valve for Regeneration

Another way to deal with a water softener brine tank overflow is by using the control valve for regeneration. The control valve controls the amount of water that flows into the brine tank during the regeneration process. By turning the control valve to the “regenerate” setting, you can allow extra water to flow into the brine tank and flush out any debris that may be causing a blockage.

The regeneration is also known as cleaning out the resin beads that are saturated in the tank with minerals. Water softeners need to regenerate periodically so that the resin bed remains clean. With regeneration, magnesium and calcium mineral buildup from the resin is flushed out.

The valve gives the tank a backwash cycle where the water flow reverses and flushes the accumulated buildup out of the tank. The brine solution is immediately pumped into the mineral tank. The sodium ions then fasten to hard water minerals on each of the resins, removing them from the beads.

After that, water that’s rich with minerals is then flushed out of the softener tank and goes right down the drain. The water softener tank is then filled before being rinsed to allow the process to start over. Covered in salt, the resin beads attract the magnesium and calcium minerals. A new regeneration cycle will start using the control valve, clearing out all of the hardened minerals and flushing them down the drain.

Check Your Safety Float

One reason your water softener might be full of water is that the safety float is stuck in the up position. The safety float is designed to shut off the incoming water supply to the tank when it gets too full. If the float is stuck, water will continue to fill up the tank until it overflows.

Carefully remove the float and run it under some hot water for a few minutes. While it’s running under the water, gently move the float up and down to ensure it’s moving freely. Check to see if the small ball at the bottom of the float can move freely. Only remove and clean your safety float when your water softener is not in regeneration mode.

Check Your Injector Screen

If your safety float is working properly, the next thing you should check is your injector screen. The injector screen filters the water coming into your tank and keeps the sediment from clogging up the system. Over time, sediment can build up on the screen and cause it to become clogged.

To clean your injector screen, soak it using a toothpick to remove the debris. If your screen is severely clogged, you may need to replace it.

Check for a Leak

If you’ve checked your safety float and injector screen and neither seems to be the problem, the next thing you should do is check for a leak. There are a few things that can cause your water softener to leak. If the entire water is out of use, consider replacing it with the best water softener on the market.

How to Prevent Water Softener Not Draining

Use High Quality Salt

One way to help prevent your water softener from not draining is to use high quality salt. The type of salt you use can make a big difference in how well your water softener works. You should also opt for salt with the highest purity to reduce dirt buildup in the brine tank.

Clean the Brine Tank

Clean the Brine Tank
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Another way to help prevent your water softener from not draining is to clean the brine tank. Over time, dirt and other debris can build up in the bottom of the tank, which can clog the drain line. You should clean your brine tank at least once a year to keep it working properly. Also, try to clean your entire water softening system to prevent it from not draining.

Clean the Venturi Valve

The venturi valve is what draws water from the brine tank into the softener. If this valve becomes clogged, it can prevent the water from draining properly. You should clean the valve at least once a year to keep it working properly. Also, cleaning the injector assembly, nozzle, throat, screen, drain line flow control, refill control, piston assembly, seals, and spacers are necessary to draw the brine into the media tank, where it replenishes the resin bed.

Use a Resin Cleaner

If your water softener isn’t working as efficiently as it used to, it might be time to clean the resin bed. You can do this by using a resin cleaner, which is a chemical that will remove any build-up on the resin beads.

Perform System Checkups

You should also perform regular system checkups to make sure that everything is working properly. This includes checking the salt level, ensuring there is no sediment in the brine tank, and testing the water hardness.

If you find that your water softener isn’t working as well as it should, there are a few things you can do to fix the problem. By following these tips, you can ensure that your water softener will work efficiently for many years to come. For example, if the problem is with one part, such as a water softener shower head, consider replacing it with the best water softener shower head to ensure optimal performance.

FAQs on Why Water Softener is Full of Water

How to drain brine tank on water softener?

To drain the brine tank on your water softener, start by disconnecting the power to the unit. Next, locate the brine tank and find the brine line that runs from it. Once you have found the brine line, disconnect it from the unit and allow all of the water to drain out.

Why does my water softener keep running?

If your water softener keeps running, it is likely because the unit is not set correctly. The most common cause of this problem is that the regeneration cycle is set too often. To fix this, simply reset the regeneration cycle to the correct setting.

Final Thought on Why Water Softener is Full of Water

Having a water softener at home is a huge privilege that no one should miss. However, it’s important to ensure that your water softening system is always in good condition to avoid any inconveniences. Maintaining your system also improves its lifespan.


Kristina Perrin

Kristina Perrin

Kristina is an expert DIY home remodeler and mom to three. When she's not cooking or experimenting with new recipes, you can find her working on new home improvement projects or writing about her favorite kitchen appliances or DIY projects on Kitchen Infinity blog.

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