13 Causes Why is Water Softener Using Too Much Salt?

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

If your water softener isn’t making use of salt or is using too much salt, it won’t work as well.

There are many possible reasons why your 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 normal?
  • What is the impact of the use of salt in your water softeners?

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

Why Water Softener Using Too Much Salt?

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

Water Chemistry

Your water hardness is an indicator of the amount of magnesium and calcium present.

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

It is logical that when your 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 water softener. 

TDS (or total dissolved solids) can be a general measure of 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 eliminate from your well water and create an area in the bed of resin. 

The house water softener can increase the life of your house appliance that uses water like a washing machine, dishwasher, and water heater.

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

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 crust of salt could also exist that forms over the water as sodium binds and does not dissolve. 

It blocks the salt and the water from forming the brine that requires softening water.

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, you could be able to puncture or damage your tank

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

Now the salt water softener will make softened water usually. (Tip after you’ve completed 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, take out 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 size of your family and the amount of time you’re at your home. 

More water will go through the water 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 reduce 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.

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

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

If there’s water left within the salt tank that was leftover, the water concentration is higher than before. That means that more salt is dissolving.

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 water softener utilize all brine in the salt tank. Afterward, it is expected that the salt dissolving will return to normal.

Resin Tank Capacity

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

The more sodium that the resin can hold on to it, the longer the system can last before the softener needs to regenerate.

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)

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

The water 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 tank. 

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

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 recommends filling salt to a level that is appropriate for your family, after which the salt should fall until you can see the level of water in your water softener brine tank. 

Refill the salt tank until half-full or whole based on the rate at which salt is being 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 correct 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 production of soft water, the bigger, the more effective. 

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

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

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

There are various water softeners available in the market that are effective 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, as well as other fine-grained salts, don’t dissolve quickly to be used in water 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.
  • Right 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 water softener’s function. Solar salt (evaporated naturally from seawater) is approximately 99.6 percent pure; however, the tiny quantity of impurities that remain can hinder its optimal performance.

At Harman, we suggest evaporated salt (sodium chloride) than rock salt.

It is almost 100% pure because the water extracts through heat, and therefore it is the most efficient kind of salt. It is also less likely to cause salt bridges.

If you are following a salt-restricted diet, potassium chloride is better 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 amount of water at your home daily; however, somehow, it appears that you’re using more.

That could be because more people live in the home which increases water usage, which means the water 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 water softener salt.

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

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 water softeners have to be programmed to the specific water characteristics you have 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 water softener could have to reset its program settings.

Most often, a programmed water softener 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 in any way.

However, if your water softener was programmed for a hardness of 10 before losing its settings, 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 water softener is not using too much or too little salt.

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

The salt water 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 tank had been even utilized.

When you’re not aware of the amount of water you use each day or the 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 can regenerate if water is utilized elsewhere in the house, It may not generate enough water pressure to pull the brine solution out of the tank.

In this case, the water softener adds liquid to the tank, and if water is already in the tank, the tank will have more significant amounts of water than is normal and more salt can dissolve.

A water softener must be operating in the absence of or minimal use of water at home. 

The water softener is scheduled to be regenerated at 2:00 am so long that you set the timer correctly.

The majority of water softeners have the same buttons as an ordinary digital clock. Choose the correct time on your water conditioner, and it will regenerate around 2 am, when most people are sleeping.

Water Softener Control Valve Failure Can Cause Using Too Much Salt

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

The valve is connected to a timer that is programmed by the information that 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 water softener’s settings could be incorrect, and the salt tank might be replenished even though it was still stocked with 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, as well as the amount of water you and your family consume. 

The industry standard is that the typical family of 4 people with high ard 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 various causes behind the interruption of your drinking water quality.

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

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