Water softeners work by sending water through a tank containing resin that removes the minerals from hard water. The resin tank must then be restored by washing it in a salt brine. For this reason, homeowners must add salt pellets to a water softener, and this salt is submerged in water to form the brine. At times the wet salt can form a bridge of hardened salt over the water level, preventing the water from dissolving enough salt. When this happens, you must manually remove the solid salt bridge to add fresh salt pellets to the water.
Things You'll Need
- Broom handle
- Wet/dry vacuum cleaner
- New salt pellets
Check to see if you can see the water in your water softener tank. If you cannot, it may mean you have a solid salt bridge buildup.
Turn off the water softener and unplug it from the electrical outlet. It is not necessary to turn off the water going into the softener unit.
Tap the salt gently with a broom handle to see if it is hardened. If it is, remove any loose salt pellets from the surface and place them in a bucket.
Continue tapping with the broom handle, adding more pressure to break up the salt bridge. Avoid the sides of the water softener tank which can be easily damaged if you tap too hard with the broom handle.
Remove the salt chunks as you break up the solid salt bridge and put them in the bucket until the tank is empty. If there is debris in the bottom of the tank, you can vacuum it out with a wet/dry shop vacuum cleaner.
Fill the water softener tank with new salt pellets. Do not reuse the old salt. Do not add too many salt pellets; the salt pellet level should be under the highest water level reached inside the water softener tank. Now you are ready to plug the water softener back in and turn it back on.
Tips & Warnings
- Check for a solid salt bridge first before calling a service technician if your water softener is not working properly.
- Going without a water softener can shorten the life of household appliances and fixtures such as tea kettles, water faucets, dishwashers and washing machines.
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images
How to Fix a Salt Bridge
A salt bridge may form inside your water softener because of several reasons. You may have added too much salt or the...
How to Dispose of Water Softener Salt
A water softener system softens hard water by removing chemicals and sediment. Hard water can damage pipes and prevent detergents from dissolving...
Water Softener Repair & Troubleshooting
While water softener systems differ, if yours stops working it is likely because of one of a few common problems. Before calling...
How to Remove Water Softener
Water softeners make water that contains dissolved chemicals, such as limestone and calcium, more suitable for drinking and washing in the home....
How to Remove Total Dissolved Solids From Drinking Water
Total dissolved solids (TDS) refers to any compounds left in the water after normal treatment and filtration. Particles are filtered through a...
How to Clean the Brine Tank of a Water Softener
Cleaning the brine from a water softener brine tank means initially checking to see if the water levels are low. Find out...