ater softener brine tank  or salt tankWater Softener Brine Tank Troubleshooting Table
Salt tank level too high, too low, other problems

  • POST a QUESTION or READ FAQs about how to diagnose water softener salt dosing tank or brine tank operating problems; how much water is in the brine tank, how much salt, how salty or soft is the household water, more.

InspectAPedia tolerates no conflicts of interest. We have no relationship with advertisers, products, or services discussed at this website.

Water softener brine tanks:

This article provides a table listing common problems, causes, and remedies for water softener brine tanks.

Find out what causes too much water in the water conditioner brine tank or salt tank or too little water, or other salt or brine tank problems & how do to fix them. Problem diagnosis & repair with brine tank float control & other salt tank level controls.

This article series describes procedures for diagnosing and repairing water softener or water conditioner problems including water conditioner control settings and adjustment or repair, brine tank and brine tank float cleaning and repair, and the proper amount of water softening or conditioning that is needed.

We also provide a MASTER INDEX to this topic, or you can try the page top or bottom SEARCH BOX as a quick way to find information you need.

Brine Tank Problem Diagnosis and Cure

Water Softener Control / Brine Tank Problems: Table of Causes & Repair Steps

Causes of Water Remaining in Brine Tank Cures for Flooded or High Water in the Brine Tank Comments
Low building water pressure Make correct setting according to instructions

See WATER PRESSURE MEASUREMENT then use your browser "BACK" button to return to this article.,

Typically you need at least 20 psi water pressure for the water softener to function properly.

Clogged water softener drain tubing Clogged or just partly clogged drain tubing, or a too-small drain line piping, or a drain line not properly routed, result in abnormal brine water levels.

Check the water softener backwash/regeneration drain tubing for clogs, bends, crimps, or routing too high above the unit.

Do not install water softener valve drain line runs of more than 30 feet (20 ft. for some models) and don't route the drain more than 8 feet above the floor level.

Restricted, kinked, clogged brine tank tubing Remove the obstruction, kink, bend or clog in tubing between the water softener and the brine tank Also see WATER SOFTENER PLUMBING PROBLEMS

Clogged softener backwash drain line flow control DLFC

"Foreign material" inside the brine line flow control

The control orifice needs to be cleaned or replaced

See DLFC LOCATION for help finding this part


we describe how to diagnose & fix a water softener that is not draining properly.

Typically the problem is a crimped drain line, a control not operating properly, or a stuck brine control float that is not allowing the regen cycle to function properly.

Clogged or Plugged injector system Clean the injector or its filter-screen On the water softener - there is an injector and screen that need to be cleaned
Leak in brine tank tubing between the brine tank and the water conditioner 

Even a small leak can cause the regenerant (brine solution) to drain back into the brine tank when it is supposed to be flowing through the water conditioner.

Check your tubing for leaks at the tubing connectors as well as through its length just to rule out this problem.

Leak in water softener internal control head Change seals, spacer, piston assembly in the control head Water softner piston (C)
Water softener valve disk not closed (present on some systems) Disassemble & clean the valve; Check disk for closing by pressing in on stem; replace the part(s) if needed.
Water softener / brine tank air check valve closed prematurely or clogged Try manual brine tank refill / regen cycle; replace or repair the air check valve if needed

Water softener air check valve - GE


Also see WATER SOFTENER CHECK VALVE STUCK as a cause of air discharge at fixtures

Causes of Improper Level of Water in Brine Tank Cures for Either Too Much or Too Little Water in the Brine Tank Comments
Brine tank float stuck, prevents water from entering the brine tank Manually free stuck float See repair details at BRINE TANK WATER TOO LOW
Brine tank float stuck, prevents brine from exiting - flooding brine tank with water Manually free stuck float; use manual regen cycle to remove excess water;

See Brine Tank Water Level Too High



Brine tank float adjustment level improperly adjusted Check water refill level in brine tank; adjust float level in brine tank

Brine tank float adjustment (C)


Water conditioner timer is not cycling properly this problem means a new timer is needed See WATER SOFTENER ADJUSTMENT & CONTROLS
"Foreign material" inside of the brine level control valve the valve can be disassembled and cleaned (if there is a valve)  
Stuck brine tank refill control valve Manually free the stuck valve; clean if needed.

The BRINE REFILL FLOAT CONTROL VALVE device is found in the vertical tube in your brine tank.

Typically it incorporates a float, vertical rod, and a switch that controls the water level in the tank during a brine generation cycle.

Missing brine level or regeneration control valve Your system has lost its entire BRINE REFILL FLOAT CONTROL VALVE assembly (sketch at right from G.E. [2]) and it needs to be replaced.

Water softener brine level valve - GE[Click to enlarge any image]

In some water softener manuals you can see the "regenerant tank check valve" and a note - not provided, furnished as an option from the water conditioner system manufacturer.

Note in this GE manual that some filter systems do not use the regenerant (brine) connection.

Excessive or too-high brine tank drain flow seen at the brine tank drain

Water softener injector is worn, the nozzle outlet opening is enlarged to more than 50% of the input throat opening.

Internal leak in the water softener control valve allowing too much water to past the injector.

Damaged, gouged, worn, scratched piston / seal assembly in the control valve. (This valve type is not used on all water softeners).

Flapper on water softener control valve sticking open. (This valve type is not used on all water softeners).

Replace the entire water softener injector nozzle assembly.

Replace damaged, gouged, scratched, or sticking control valves.

BRINE REFILL FLOAT CONTROL VALVE device is found in the vertical tube in your brine tank

Weak brine tank draw - weak water flow at the brine tank drain

Water softener does not draw enough brine from the brine tank (salt tank)

Weak brine draw or poor brine flow from the brine tank through the water softener resin tank will result in hard water or the delivery of soft water for abnormally short period.

Run an extra regeneration cycle at the water softener and observe the brine drain.

If the water flow at the brine drain is weak check these causes of weak flow at the brine tank drain, or of weak brine draw at the tank:

Collector basket (upper) in the water softener debris fouled (not present on all water softeners)

Clogged or damaged injector or eductor (in the control head, draws brine from the brine tank)

Control valve clogging at the valve feeding water to the water softener injector or eductor screen;

check for silt in the water supply or high iron content clogging of the injector.

Distributor basket (in the softener unit) clogged with debris or iron

Air leaks in the water softener brine tank tubing or elsewhere can cause weak brine flow or poor brine draw.

Check the water softener control valves or collector or distributor basket openings or slots for debris clogging and clean or replace these components.


and also EDUCTOR INJECTOR LOCATION 2 for help finding the water softener eductor or injector.


BRINE REFILL FLOAT CONTROL VALVE device is found in the vertical tube in your brine tank

Put the water softener in bypass mode.

If house water pressure improves the problem is clogging in the water softener, perhaps in the distributor basket - screen at the bottom (or top and bottom) of the center tube of the water softener resin tank.

See DISTRIBUTOR BASKET LOCATION for help finding the distributor baskets.

Watch out: because changing the distributor basket requires removal and replacement of the resin as well, the best time to inspect and change the distributor basket(s) is when the resin is being replaced in the softener.

No brine tank draw down, brine tank water too high

Brine does not enter water softener, or abnormally high water level in the brine tank

Check the brine tank float valve and eductor as well as other parts and steps given in the two links in the column at right.

See WATER SOFTENER BRINE TANK DRAW REPAIR for a series of recommended checks


Your system supposed to be using a different method of brine level control And that control is missing or more likely, not working or not properly set. There are some water conditioner models that do not use a brine tank float valve. [2]

But you'll see that in no case does normal operation leave the water softener brine tank full of water.

So if this is like your system the control on the conditioner is not working properly or not set properly.

In other water conditioner manuals the manufacturer describes how the control is set to change the length of "brine tank refill time" - this is the same as the amount of water to be sent into the tank.


Notes to the table above

These typical diagnostics are adapted and expanded-upon from several sources including Aqua brand, Culligan, Fleck, and Hellenbrand (American Aqua) water softeners but pertain to many other models as well, for which the manual describes diagnosing and repairing a softener that won't supply water into or that won't draw brine out from the brine tank.

Water Softener Air Check Valve

See WATER SOFTENER BRINE TANK AIR CHECK VALVE for details about the air check valve.

Brine Tank Water Too High - Not Drawn into Softener

This explanation has moved to a new page at WATER SOFTENER BRINE TANK WATER TOO HIGH

You can read about all of the steps in water softener operation at HOW WATER SOFTENERS / CONDITIONERS WORK

Brine Injector or Brine Tank Eductor Valve Repair / Replacement

Details of where to find and how to inspect, clean, or replace the water softener brine injector or Eductor Valve have moved to WATER SOFTENER EDUCTOR REPAIR


Continue reading at WATER SOFTENER BRINE TANK WATER TOO HIGH or select a topic from closely-related articles below, or see our complete INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES below.

Or see WATER SOFTENER BRINE TANK FAQs - questions and answers posted originally on this page.


Or see WATER SOFTENER BACKUP, FLOODING, LEAKS where we describe how to diagnose & fix a water softener that is not draining properly.




Or see these

Water Softener Brine Tank Repair Articles

Suggested citation for this web page

BRINE TANK DIAGNOSIS & REPAIR at - online encyclopedia of building & environmental inspection, testing, diagnosis, repair, & problem prevention advice.


Or use the SEARCH BOX found below to Ask a Question or Search InspectApedia


Ask a Question or Search InspectApedia

Try the search box just below, or if you prefer, post a question or comment in the Comments box below and we will respond promptly.

Search the InspectApedia website

HTML Comment Box is loading comments...

Technical Reviewers & References

Click to Show or Hide Citations & References

Publisher - Daniel Friedman