13 Causes Why is Water Softener Using Too Much Salt?

You could say that brine is the secret of life for your softener. The perfect blend of salt and water lets your device convert harder water to soft water.

If your softener isn’t making use of salt or too much salt, it won’t work either.

There are many possible reasons your hot water softener may not use the correct amount of salt. The majority of them are simple to correct.


  • How can you cut down on your salt consumption each year?
  • How much salt is considered normal?
  • What is the impact of the use of salt in your softeners?

I’ve addressed these questions, plus more, in this post.

Why is Water Softener Using Too Much Salt?

There are a variety of variables that can determine how much softener salt is added. It includes:

Water Chemistry

Your water hardness indicates the amount of magnesium and calcium present.

The higher the amount of calcium and magnesium ions, the more significant sodium ion is required to exchange ions within the tank that holds water softening resin.

It is logical that when your grains of hardness minerals are exceptionally high and your outdoor water softener system is using too much salt (sodium chloride) per gallon than an area with moderately hard water.

The water’s TDS levels can affect the salt used by your softener. 

TDS (or total solids dissolved) can generally measure the extent to which your water is contaminated with organic and inorganic substances.

A higher level of TDS means you are likely to have copper, iron manganese, sulfates, or iron in your water.

You may also want to know, “Does A Water Softener Remove Chlorine”? Further explained in this article.

The hard water minerals are eliminated from your well water through ion exchange, creating an area in the resin bed.

The house water softener can increase the life of your house appliances that use water, like the washing machine, dishwasher, and water heater.

Therefore, the system will require a significant salt due to the mineral content even if your water hardness level is not too high.

Salt Build-Up or Bridge

Water Usage Can Increase Salt Consumption in the Softener

Does your water softener function not but adequately softening, and does it not seem to be generating in the way you expect? 

Look inside your brine tank. If you observe salt accumulation on the tank wall, a salt bridge and hard salt crust could also exist that form over the water as sodium binds and does not dissolve.

It blocks the salt and the water from forming the brine needed to soften.

To correct the issue, take off the lid, take the outdoor water softener brine tank in your hands, and then shake it back to eliminate the salt bridge. 

If that fails, you could use a sturdy but not too sharp instrument like a broom handle to remove the salt deposit. Tempting as it may be, using an ice pick to do this could puncture or damage your tank

After that, scoop the pieces and scrub any salt crystals residue off the tank’s interior.

Now the salt softener will make softened water usually. (Tip after completing this, ensure that you replenish with salt!)

If your water is sour or acidic, you should ensure that there’s no trace of a pinch inside your drain pipe. 

It is also possible that hard minerals accumulate within your drain hose that could cause water pressure issues that result in salty water. (If this is the case, remove the hose, clean it, and change it.)

Water Usage Can Increase Salt Consumption in the Softener

It is important to note that the volume of water you consume depends on many variables, like the family size and the amount of time you’re at your home. 

More water will go through the softener ion exchange when using higher water flow, causing too much salt consumption.

You could reduce water usage in your household consumption by becoming aware of the wastewater you are wasting.

You are cleaning larger loads of laundry less often or taking shorter showers, and fixing leaks could all aid in reducing the amount of water you use and your salt consumption.

Clogged Injector/Venturi!

An injector (venturi) is a restrictor that creates an air vacuum that draws the brine from the tank. 

The water softener requires the brine solution to treat hard water problems present in the water softening resin.

Suppose the injector is blocked or has a build-up of iron or other hard minerals. In that case, it cannot generate a strong enough vacuum and leave water in the tank. 

When the softener is at the brine tank filling cycle, it will add the pre-determined amount of water to the brine tank.

The water concentration is higher than if leftover water is within the salt tank. That means that more salt will be dissolved.

You can solve the issue by cleaning your injector using an iron cleaner or replacing the injector with a new one. 

Most of the time, just a clean using iron cleaner along with an old toothbrush will suffice.

When the injector has been operating correctly, it is recommended that the softener utilize all brine in the salt tank. Afterward, it is expected that the salt dissolving will return to normal.

Resin Tank Capacity

A softener’s capacity to hold resin is an additional important aspect before purchasing the unit.

The more sodium the resin can hold on to, the longer the system can last before they need the softener to be regenerated.

But, small water softeners are more complicated. Using a smaller amount of salt for each regeneration and having them regenerate more frequently is ideal for those looking to cut down the cost of brown well water treatment.

Salt Level Is Too High in softener (or Water Is Too Low)

The softener you have uses salt in its work; however, you should have around three to four inches of salt over the water level in the resin tank.

A little less indicates that it’s time to add salt, especially when you can see the water’s surface.

In excess, it could mean that you’re taking too much sodium, which can be wasteful and lead to the accumulation of crusty material.

Ideally, it is recommended to fill salt to a level suitable for your family, after which the salt should fall until you can see the water level in your water softener brine tank.

Refill the salt tank until half-full or whole based on the rate at which salt is used at home.

It’s an excellent idea to inspect the float valve, which regulates the water level/intake, to ensure that the water level is set correctly and that the softened water is flowing through and out according to the requirements.

If the valve is defective or not adjusted, There’s a high chance you could repair it on your own.

Improperly Sized System

Softeners for water come in a range of sizes. You might believe that for efficient soft water production, the bigger, the more effective.

However, this isn’t the case if you’re trying to lower the salty water content of your water.

A water conditioner must regenerate every two weeks to ensure the bed is in good condition.

However, if you’re using more water in your home than your portable softener allows. You’re losing salt in the resin tank, which could be far too big for your typical water consumption.

There are various softeners available in the market that are practical and perfect solutions like:-

  1. Culligan water softener
  2. Kinetico water softener
  3. Morton water softener

The Salt Itself May Be the Problem

The Right Size: Table salt and other fine-grained salts don’t dissolve quickly to be used in softeners (and block salt does not dissolve sufficiently fast to ensure the proper brine). Salt pellets and crystals are the most effective. Salt pellets are less likely to get clumped up and create salt bridges.

Suitable type: Rock salt is a reservoir of mineral content that is not sodium. It reduces its efficiency in Ion exchange which is essential to the softener’s function. Solar salt (evaporated naturally from seawater) is approximately 99.6 percent pure; however, the tiny quantity of remaining impurities can hinder its optimal performance.

At Harman, we suggest evaporated salt (sodium chloride) than rock salt. It is almost 100% pure because the water is extracted through heat, so it is the most efficient salt. It is also less likely to cause salt bridges.

If you are following a salt-restricted diet, potassium chloride may be used as an alternate for softener salt because potassium chloride is not a salt (sodium chloride)

Using Too Much Water Can Increase Salt Usage in the Softener

You may be confident that you’re using some water at your home daily; however, it appears you’re using more.

That could be because more people live in the home, which increases water usage, so the softener needs to regenerate more frequently and use too much salt.

It is possible to have leaks near the unit that softens or within the plumbing of your home’s toilets, pipes, or faucets.

Even tiny leaks can use about a gallon of water per day. It is tempting to fix leaks, but leaving a leak as-is will cost you money and increase your use of softener salt.

For instance, if the leak you have is causing waste of the equivalent of 1 gallon per day, the softener can soften a gallon of water without reason.

Eliminating this leak will make sure you’re using your softener to serve the reasons that you get the benefit.

Power Outage

Power Outage in water softener

Most programmable softeners must be programmed to your specific water characteristics when they are put in place.

Your water hardness and the iron content are programmed into the softener, so it can determine the frequency at which salt is needed to replenish.

Although most programmable water softeners come with a tiny battery that helps store the programming that computers use, these batteries aren’t able to last forever.

After a while, the backup battery will not be able to retain the system’s program. It means that should you experience even a minor power interruption, the softener could have to reset its program settings.

A programmed softener often has an initial hardness set by the manufacturer, generally 20.

When your water hardness is around 20 initially, you might not even realize that your settings have changed.

However, suppose your softener was programmed for grains of the hardness of 10 before losing its settings. In that case, it is now able to recharge twice as often and may use too much salt.

Improper Programming of Control Head

In the wake of the previous aspect, In light of the above, you might have programmed your head of the softener incorrectly when you first installed the system. 

It’s crucial to be as exact as possible with the amount of water you use and hardness measurements to ensure that your softener is not using too much or too little salt.

Suppose you input your water hardness at 8 GPG (grains per gallon) in a case study, but it was 6 GPG

The saltwater softener will assume that it will need to regenerate enough to replenish the salt level required for the 8 GPG in hardness. 

If your water weren’t so hard, it would begin a regeneration process before the salt in the resin tank had been even utilized.

When you’re unaware of the amount of water you use each day or the grains of hardness level, I suggest purchasing two items, such as a smart meter and a test kit for hardness minerals

It eliminates the guesswork of water treatment, and you’ll be able to utilize less sodium in the softener.

Incorrect Clock Setting

If the water softener brine tank can regenerate if water is utilized elsewhere in the house, It may not generate enough water pressure issues to pull all brine solutions out of the resin tank.

In this case, the softener adds liquid to the tank. Suppose water is left in the resin tank. In that case, the tank will have more significant amounts of water than usual and more bags of salt can dissolve.

A softener must be operating in the absence of or minimal use of water at home. The softener is scheduled to be regenerated at 2:00 am so long that you set the timer correctly.

The majority of softeners have the same buttons as an ordinary digital clock. When most people sleep, choose the correct time on your level of water conditioner, which will regenerate around 2 am.

Softener Control Valve Failure Can Cause Using Too Much Salt

The valve that controls your water softener salt regulates the system’s regeneration according to your water flow.

The valve is connected to a timer programmed by the information your system has recorded.

When this valve is not working, it will not accurately determine the amount of water that has flowed through the device. 

In the end, the softener’s settings could be incorrect, and the pounds of the salt tank might be replenished even though it was still stocked with the type of salt that could produce soft water. 

How Often Do You Need to Include Salt in the Brine Tank?

The amount of salt you’ll need to add will be contingent upon the degree of “hard water minerals” in your water and the amount of water you and your family consume.

The industry standard is that the typical family of 4 people with high drinking water (7-10 grains for each gallon at the hardness level) will require 9-10 pounds of salt per week or a 40-pound bag of salt per month.

The amount of sodium utilized during each regeneration cycle will determine the number of gallons of water that can soften before regenerating.

There is a trade-off.

1.) Increase the amount of salt usage for each regeneration cycle and reduce the number of regeneration cycles as time passes.

2.) Decrease the amount of salt used for each regeneration cycle, however, increase the number of regeneration cycles over time.

As we described above, there are various reasons behind the interruption of your drinking water quality.

You can find out whether your water softener salt uses too much salt or less and quickly resolve the problem. If the problem is still then you can contact professional.

Tips For Using Less Salt In A Water Softener?

You can do several things to reduce the amount of salt used in your water softening system. The first thing is to not put all the salt into the tank.

If you have a large, high-capacity unit as I did (it was 5 gallons), you should get away with putting only about half of it into the tank and then adding more when needed.

This will help keep the salt level down in the tank for extended periods.

You also want to ensure that you drain out any excess salt before doing this so that there isn’t any left behind to build up on the sides of your tank.

The next step would be to cut back on how much salt you add to the tank each cycle.

Try using an automatic timer with your system instead of manually turning it on and off.

This method will also save you money since you won’t need to buy as many cartridges or tablets.

An excellent way to determine if you need to add salt to your tank is by measuring the hardness of the water from your faucet.

If the water is hard enough, then you don’t need to add any additional salt. Most people just leave their system running overnight to soften the water anyway.

The last thing you should do is monitor the salt level in your tank. When your cartridge is low, run through these steps again until you’ve added enough salt to bring the level back up. 

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