How Do I Know If My Water Softener Is Working Properly?

Last Updated on December 12, 2022 by Mattias

In this article, we will answer the question, “How do I know if my water softener is working?”

If your water consumption is high, much water flows through your water softener, and at some point, you might get problems with it.

So, if you understand how a water softener works, you can easily spot a malfunctioning water softener.

How do water softeners work?

Water softeners remove calcium, magnesium, and other minerals. The hard water ions are exchanged for soft water ions. Two of the most common ways is using salt or sodium chlorine to do this. (ion exchange)

First, the hard water enters the water softener tank, and the salt water solution breaks up the ions so the exchange processes can start. After this brine solution flushes the hard water ions out of the system and is replaced with soft water ions.

If your water softener isn’t working as it should, there’s a good chance that there’s something wrong with the regeneration cycle, the beads, or some of the components in your device.

Read also: Will Water Softener Water Kill Plants?

How to know if your water softener is working:

There are two good tests to know if your water softener is working as it should.

Water hardness test

This is probably the easiest way and also the most effective.

  1. Buy a water hardness test kit.
  2. Take one test strip from the bottle and hold it hard.
  3. Use your kitchen or bathroom faucet and turn the cold water flow on. Let it flow for about 10 seconds.
  4. Hold the test strip in the cold water for only 1 second and take it away directly.
  5. Now the test strip will show color. Compare the color of your test strip to the color chart that came with your test kit.
  6. Based on the color, you should know if your water softener is working or not.

PS: Don’t use another kit color chart since they can be different. Always use the color chart that your test strip came from. Most packages have between 20 to 50 test strips, so you can do serval tests.

The Soap Test

One effective test you can do at home to know if your water softener is working is by following these next steps:

Step 1: Take a full bucket of water and add a good amount of pure liquid soap.

Step 2: Stir it and see if the bubbles will be much or less than normal.

Step: 3 If it’s a few bubbles, it’s a sign that your water is hard to lather = Your water softener is not working as it should.

Signs My Water Softener Isn’t Working Properly

You may have noticed water spots on your shower doors, a difference in your home’s water pressure, or that the water doesn’t feel soft anymore.

These are all common signs that your water softener isn’t working correctly. Here’s a list of possible reasons your water softener isn’t working.

1. Not Enough Lather – If your soap refuses the lather, it’s a first sign that you got hard water. If you’re having problems soaping up in your shower, it can be a good idea to check your water softener.

2. Household Problems –

Scratchy, stiff, and discolored clothes are signs of the hardness of your water. The hardness can mess up the fabric structure in your clothes.

Removing the minerals that make your clothes stiff is an effective solution to ensure that your water softener works correctly.

Hard water can damage your washing machine, hot water heaters, and dishwashers. Which makes it essential to ensure that your water softener is functioning properly. If not, it can cost you a lot of money.

When you have a water softener in your home, it’s easy to feel the difference when the water stops being soft. After a shower, you may feel dry and itchy skin or you can barely get suds to form in your kitchen sink.

In this case, the first thing to do is to ensure you have a bunch of salt pellets in your brine tank since much salt is needed. But what if there’s salt in the tank? Then it’s a sign that your system has stopped softening the water and need

If there’s salt in the tank, this may be an indicator that your system has stopped softening and needs to be serviced.

3. Crusty Buildup Around Pipes and Faucets

The naturally present minerals in hard water can cause a crusty buildup around your pipes and faucets. When cleaning the bathroom and kitchen, look extra at your faucets. If there’s a chalky substance around them, it can be a sign that your water softener isn’t working properly.

4. Hard Spots

Hard water spots are the most common sign that your water softener isn’t working. You can find hard water spots on shower doors and faucets. Hard water spots can be cloudy, white, or discolored “rust” color. A working water softener doesn’t leave any mineral deposit stains your water touches.

If you got problems with mineral buildup? Then you should service your softener to ensure it’s working properly.

5. Your Water Tastes Different and has a Salty Taste

If you’re used to drinking soft water, it’s easy to notice if the water supply in your home starts to have an increased mineral content. Pay attention to the salty water taste since it can be a sign that your water softener isn’t working correctly, and it might need a service, or in the worst-case scenario, you might need a new water softener.

But if the salt level is too high in your water softener, you may notice a salt film inside the dishwasher or faucets.

It’s also possible that your water can taste saltier. The salt taste increases as the mineral level in your water increase. You might need to clean the brine tank and replace the water and salt to fix this issue. It’s possible to have too much salt in your softener and too little.

6 Change in the water quality

If you detect a decrease in your water pressure or a change in your water quality, you should get your water softener serviced immediately.

If your water seems just as hard as before after water softening systems are installed, it indicates that your water softener isn’t working. Now can be a good idea to look over all your components to see if everything is set up properly.

Read also: Can You Use Water Softener Salt To Melt Ice?

7. Low Water Pressure

If the water pressure decreases in your home, it can be because of the buildup of salt in your brine tank. If there’s a sudden problem with the pressure, it can be a good idea to look over your plumbing system.

It’s possible that the mineral deposits have broken free inside your pipes or the tiny resin beads have broken and need to be replaced. Either of these can lower your water pressure or cause clogs in your pipes. If you don’t know how to deal with this, call a professional and let them take a look at it.

8. No Salt in the Brine Tank

If there’s no or little salt in your brine tank, the regeneration process is failing. The results of this will be signs of hard water, and to make the water softener regeneration start again, you may have to add more salt than usual.

At this point, it’s essential to look over leaks in your system. A small leak can cause big problems with your softening system. To get a peace of mind, it can be a good idea to call a professional to look over your system.

9. No Noises from Your Water Softener

An automatic water softener makes a humming noise when it’s working properly. If you can’t hear it, it can be something wrong. Look over the power supply, so it hasn’t been interrupted. Ensure the unit is plugged in and the circuit breaker hasn’t been tripped on.

Read also: How To Add Salt To Water Softener

What’s wrong with my water softener?

Are you still wondering, “How do I know if my water softener is working?”

Then it’s time to troubleshoot the cause of your problem.

Step 1: Unplug your softener

Step 2: Remove the water’s access to protect your home from water damage.

Not enough salt in the softener is the most common problem. Set a reminder on your phone or mark your calendar to check the salt level monthly.

Most water softeners need to be half full or salt.

If the salt looks dry and is less than half full – Refill 2/3 (check the manufacturer’s guide first, since it can vary).

PS: The salt bags are heavy, so be careful, so you don’t get salt all over the place.

Look inside your water softener to see if you can see any salt bridge or buildup of minerals that can prevent your softener from working properly. If your softener is like a salt tank (a lot of salt inside your softener), you need to clean and refresh the whole system.

If you can’t see any salt deposits, press the button that makes your water softener regenerate and see if that can help.

Modern water softeners can regenerate automatically; but if you use a lot of water each week, you may need to do a manual regeneration (look over your manufacturer’s manual on how to do this). A high water usage = the softener needs more regeneration.

If you enjoy the fresh water a softener gives, you must do regular maintenance. All water softener systems need regular maintenance to work properly.

If you want to keep your water softener in great condition, clean salt bridges and salt pellets from the bottom of the tank from time to time. It’s an easy way to keep the water softener working well.

A water softener needs to frequently regenerate, so the resin beads can get refreshed since they are used to remove mineral deposits from the water.

Signs that Your Water Softener is Working Properly

  • Reduced Scale Buildup
  • Softened Water Taste
  • Easy to Lather Water
  • Soft, Bright Laundry

Factors Affecting Water Softener Performance

  • Excessive Salt Buildup
  • Motor Lifespan
  • Resin Bead Quality
  • Salt Buildups
  • Water Quality
  • Pre-Filter Effectiveness

How Do I know If My Water Softener Is Working Summary

I hope you enjoyed this article and that you can understand why your water softeners aren’t working properly as they should by now.