How to tell if a Water Softener is Working Well

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If you are looking for the answer that how to tell if a water softener is working well or not, then you are on the right spot. This article will explore the signs that indicate some problem with the water softener and it is malfunctioning.

How to tell if a Water Softener is Working Well

It is no wonder that a water softener can be a valuable part of your household in today’s world. So, why it is important is also a point to ponder. Well, it enhances the taste of your water and protects your pipes from overexposure to certain harmful minerals.

Now let’s dig the more details about a water softener working and malfunctioning.

How does a Water Softener Work?

If you want to know whether a water softener is working well or not, then first of all you have to know how does it work. So, let’s check some details about the working of a water softener.

So, Water softeners eliminate the calcium, magnesium, and other minerals found in your water through an ion exchange process. The resin beads within your softener work to pull the mineral components from the water and keep hold of them.

As a result, the water you get from your faucets or in the shower is completely pure and softened. When these microscopic beads become full and can no longer hold any more deposits, it is time that you have to regenerate the system.

Here a question arises that what is regeneration. So the answer is that Regeneration is the process that involves using sodium to eliminate the buildup of residue from the resin.

Suppose you find that the working of your water softener is not as it should be. In that case, it can be said that there might be something faulty whether the beads, the regeneration cycle, or the various moving components within your water softener.

Signs that alert that a Water Softener is not Working Well:

  • You notice Hard water spots

As we know that soft water leaves no scars or spots on the glass or dishes, but if the water softener is not working well you may notice hard water spots on your glasses and dishes.

  • Salty Taste of Water

You might see a thin, salty film left on the inside of the dishwasher or faucets. Or it might taste salty if there’s too much salt in your water softener. Fortunately, you can fix this problem by cleaning your water softener, and then you can refill it.

  • Dry or squeaky feeling

You often feel dry or itchy after showering or washing your hands with hard water. If you come across this problem, first check to see if there are salt pellets in your brine tank. If there are, this probably means that your water softener has stopped working and needs to be serviced.

  • Low Water Pressure

If you notice a sudden change in water pressure, it could indicate that several issues are going on with your plumbing. One possibility is that mineral deposits have broken free inside your pipes or the resin beads we mentioned earlier have broken and need to be replaced.

What to do if a Water Softener is not Working Well?

To get your soft water flowing again, here are three fixes you can easily perform.

Fix 1: Clean the brine (salt) tank

If you find the salt dome in the brine tank then clean the brine tank by breaking up the salt with a broomstick, then dispose of it. You can also remove any sediment with a shop vacuum. Use soap and water to thoroughly clean the tank and rinse it.

Fix 2: Clean and iron-fouled resin bed

If your water contains iron, it will eventually “foul” the resin bed that removes the hard water particles and replaces them with sodium. To refresh the bed, run Iron-Out through the system.

Fix 3: Clean the resin tank injector

The injector sometimes gets plugged with sediment caused by dirty salt. First, engage the softener’s bypass valve to shut off the water to clean it. Next, relieve the water pressure by running the softener through a manual regeneration.

Finally, remove the caps on both sides of the softener head. Thoroughly clean the injector (right side of the head) and the injector screen (left side).


Q: Is it bad to drink softened water?

Answer: There has been no official verdict to state that drinking softened water is a problem and softened water is considered safe to drink.

Q: How long do water softeners last?

Answer: Although a good water softener can last for 10 – 15 years, it will not last forever without proper maintenance and service. They are not meant to last forever, but proper care measures can ensure the lifespan of your water softener is extended to its full capacity.

Q: Can bacteria grow in a water softener?

Answer: Coliform and other bacteria can remain trapped in water softeners and filters and grow and multiply.

Q: How often should you clean your water softener tank?

Answer: A standard water softener needs to be cleaned once a year to every five years depending on the circumstances. However, if all of a sudden output water hardness increases or the water is discolored or smells funny, it’s a good idea to clean the entire system as soon as possible.


In short, it is beneficial to keep an eye on the signs which alert you that your water softener is not working well. You can fix its malfunctioning by keeping a proper check and balance and maintenance.

After going through the whole article, I hope that you can now tell whether your water softener is working well or not. I am hopeful that this article has at least answered your basic queries. Thank you for giving it a read!

Jeremy Lee is a researcher and part-time blogger who has a passion to discover cutting-edge technologies related to water filtration. He knows the importance of purified water in our lives and started this blog aiming to provide the best product reviews, buying guides, and other useful information related to water. When not working, he loves to spend time with his beloved wife and two kids.