How to trouble shoot water softeners

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This document can assist you in troubleshooting your water softener. Most of the time, the only problem is an incorrectly set clock due to power outages. The clock on the softener needs to be set for the current time of day.  If you read through the question and answer section below, you can determine if you need a service call.

Should the softener be able to fix my problem?

It is important to make sure that the softener is able to treat the problem found in the water. If the raw water is clear and colorless, a softener will remove iron, manganese, and hardness. A softener will not clear up cloudy/colored water or remove hydrogen sulfide (egg) odor.

Is the clock set to the current time of day and is the a.m./p.m. setting correct?

The clock should be set to the current time. If the clock is not set to the current time, the system may be regenerating while you are using water. Most softeners will by-pass raw water while they are regenerating. If you have a hot water tank and you use water during the softener’s regeneration, the tank will be filled with untreated water. If the hot water tank gets filled with untreated water, it will take a few days to flush out.

If the unit is electric, is the unit plugged in to a live circuit that is not on a switch?

Although this seems obvious, it may not be. The unit could have been installed on a switched circuit or the circuit may be shared with something else that may have either tripped the breaker or ground fault. Any easy test is to watch the clock to see if it continues to keep accurate time. If more immediate results are required, simply plug in a radio that can be heard while circuit breakers and or switches are turned on and off to see which one controls the circuit.

Is there salt in the brine tank?

If there is less than 12″ of salt in the bottom of the brine tank, the system may not be getting enough salt during regeneration.

Are all of the plumbing valves in their correct positions?

All the valves must be in the service position. If there has been work done on the plumbing in the house, the by-pass valve(s) may not have been left in the proper position. Also, if the system has been by-passed to water lawns, the by-pass valve(s) may not have been returned to the service position. The valves should have labels that show the correct position.

Do you have to add salt periodically so that you know the unit is using salt?

If the system is not using salt, it cannot be treating the water. The salt is used to regenerate the softener, which makes it able to remove the dissolved materials from the water. If the system has not used any salt, try rapping the side of the brine tank or the top of the salt pile to see if it settles. If the salt settles, the salt may have “bridged” which means it was keeping the water in the brine tank from coming in contact with it and dissolving it.

If the system is metered, is the meter working?

Usually electronically metered systems have a light that flashes during water usage. If running water does not make the light flash, the system will not know when to regenerate. If the system has a mechanical meter, you will need to observe the reading one day and then check it the next to be sure it is operating. The meter should show a lower number of gallons remaining on the second day. On Kinetico systems, the disk with numbers on it at the top of the unit should be observed to have moved during a one or two day period.

Is the system regenerating more frequently than normal?

If you have a meter operated system, it is adjusting automatically to your water usage. If you do not think that your water usage has increased due to extra house guests, additional laundry or some other reason, then check for leaking plumbing, dripping faucets or running toilets, all of which can contribute to more frequent regenerations.

Does the water seem soft?

If the water does not seem soft, be sure that the softener is not by-passed and then follow the instructions to manually regenerate the softener. If you have a twin tank system, regenerate both tanks by forcing a second regeneration once the first one is completed.

Is the Kinetico system regenerating during the middle of the day?

Single tank electric water softeners tend to be set to regenerate at night because of the unavailability of treated water during the regeneration process. Unlike traditional water softeners, Kinetico systems are demand based water softeners, without timers or electronics so your system regenerates whenever necessary and at

any time of the day. Kinetico’s twin tank design allows one tank to regenerate while leaving one tank on line providing for a continuous supply of treated water.


Is there a drop in water pressure?

A reduction in your home’s water pressure can indicate that it is time to change your pre-filter. Pre-filters should be changed to avoid this drop in water pressure. If you do not have a pre-filter with your system, or changing the pre-filter has no effect, please contact our service department.


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