“Why Is My Water Softener Not Using Any Salt?”

So your water softener isn’t using any salt. Has the brine tank formed a hard, crusty top? Sounds like you’ve got a salt bridge

A salt bridge happens when salt in the brine tank hardens into a crusty dome, creating an air pocket between the salt and the water in the brine tank. This gap prevents the salt from dissolving in the water. So that’s why the salt isn’t being used.

In this article, we’ll explain how to fix this problem and prevent it in the future.
How to fix salt bridging


Step 1: Take the top off the brine tank
Step 2: Pour warm water over over the bridge until it loosens
Step 3: Break up the bridge further by poking it with a broomstick handle (don’t be too harsh or you’ll damage the brine tank)
Step 4: Manually regenerate the water softener’s resin beads.cRefer to your manual for how to do this. Some water softeners have a “rejuvenation” button at the control panel that you need to hold down.  

The above method is just a short-term solution. To keep the salt bridge from coming back, you need to know what causes it.

How to prevent salt bridges in a water softener 

To prevent salt bridges follow these brine tank maintenance tips:

Fill the brine tank to the right level

Don’t fill the tank full. It’s better to fill it half full and add salt more often, especially in humid areas. You see, when you have too much salt in a humid area, that causes the salt to get wet, dry and then harden. 

Alternatively, add a dehumidifier near your water softener if it’s located in a humid area like your basement. 

Use the right salt

Use nugget or pellet water softener salt. Don’t use rock salts since they have dirt and sediments that will stop the softener from working.

Clean the tank occasionally

You or a professional should clean the the brine tank every 2 to 3 years.  One way to do this is by scooping out any excess salt and then sucking up any brine with a wet dry-vac. 

Source for tips: Kenmore water softener “use and care” guide.

Still need water softener help?

If you live in Minnesota, On Time Service Pros can help. Contact us for water softener maintenance.

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