A water softening system is supposed to be incredibly helpful if you live in a place where you get hard water. Soft water has its advantages but more than that, hard water isn’t good for consumption. It’s not very useful when doing chores that involve detergents but it’s also not good.
So a water softener can be very useful. But not if it doesn’t function well and definitely not if it overflows. If you’ve been having water softener overflowing problems, here’s what you need to know.
You can fix them yourself if you know the system well enough or you could call a professional and monitor what they are doing. Either way, here’s all the information you need.
- What Is a Water Softener For?
- Why It Is Overflowing
- General Tips
- What to Do to Fix the Problem
- In Conclusion
What Is a Water Softener For?
A water softener does exactly what the name suggests. It takes in hard water from the main supply and turns it into soft water so that detergents and shampoos can produce lather. For starters, that’s how you know your system is working.
And when your water softener system does its job flawlessly, it is very useful whether you are using water to do your laundry or take a bath.
As is the case with most appliances, sometimes, even the best of water softeners can give you trouble. In this piece, we’ll see what to do if the tank overflows. There are a few common reasons why this happens. And if you can figure out who is the culprit, you can fix them with ease. Let’s take a look.
Why It Is Overflowing
Every water softening system has a regeneration cycle. During this step, the brine tank or saltwater tank is filled from one-fourth to half of the tank’s capacity. After that, the brine is redirected to a different tank called the softening tank where it cleans the resin.
Water levels may not increase during the backwash if the system malfunctions and fails to draw brine during the regeneration cycle. On the other hand, if your water softener is filled with water and starts to spill out, you have a problem. That’s what we are here to address, right?
Check the Brine Line
Water softeners have a brine line which is essentially a tube connecting the control valve of the softening system to the tank. There is a float in the brine well located inside the brine tank which needs to be attached correctly to this tube.
For that, you will have to remove the lid of the brine tank first and then the cap of the brine well.
Clear Any Obstacles
A brine tank might also overflow if there is salt clogging the tank on the inside. This will stop the water from entering the tank and as a result, the salt doesn’t get absorbed. This leads to an overflow of water exiting the brine tank.
Check the Drain Line
The drain line has a control valve which could be clogged. This can stop the flow of saltwater in the brine line too. You might encounter this problem if you don’t clean your water softener periodically and the water coming in has a high level of iron.
This might lead to the float in the brine line getting blocked by salt and lead to an overflow. The solution here is rather simple. You need to clean the salt from the drain line and put it back together.
Check the Water Softener Valve
The control valve of the brine line could get clogged and cause an overflow too. This means debris has entered the brine tank and got caught in the valve. If this is the case, the valve fails to draw salt and the tube gets blocked too.
You just need to clean the tube so that the valve’s suction comes back. You know it’s a problem with the valve if the brine tank gets filled with more than it can handle during the regeneration cycle and stops after that.
Look Into the Float’s Position
You should also check the connection of the float in the brine tank. This is so that there is no air or water leakage. These kinds of leaks can cause an overflow.
You need to make sure that the float is attached properly. They can become loose over time as the water softener vibrates a little while working. Sometimes the float gets dropped into the brine tank causing a failure of the safety valve.
At that point, water keeps getting added to the brine tank and it leads to an overflow.
See If the Injector Is Blocked
There is a small hole in the water softener called the injector. It creates the suction that is required to draw brine. If the injector gets blocked, the brine tank might end up with excess water.
This is not a tough problem to solve. You just need to clean its surroundings every now and then. This blockage could be because of too much iron in the water. If it is happening frequently, you should change the cleaning schedule and make it more regular.
For any reason, if you’re not able to clean the injector, you have the option of replacing it.
Check the Piston, Spacers or Seals
Once you’ve checked the tanks and the connections, you should look into the smaller parts of the water softening system. If the system isn’t drawing brine or refilling during the regeneration phase, it’s possible that the seal might be torn.
If it’s not that, you must check the pistons and spacers. That means you must remove the brine line and drain line first. Check the valve and make sure water is passing through. If it is, you might have to replace the spacer, piston or seal.
This is not part of the regular maintenance work so you should get a professional to confirm this problem.
It is important to remember that even when you are doing regular cleaning and maintenance, you should be careful while taking it apart and putting it back together.
Make sure that each part is put back where it belongs securely. If you are replacing parts, you should make sure that you put them back in the same order that they were removed. This will prevent malfunctions in the future.
Water softeners don’t usually overflow unless there is an inconsistency in the overall system. Before you start checking each part, you should make sure that the water supply to the system is turned off.
Because if you don’t the water will keep flowing into the tank and cause more overflowing. At this point, the float, valve or brine line could get damaged.
What to Do to Fix the Problem
Fixing an overall overflow problem requires understanding the plumbing system connected to the water softener. So, first you must check the water softener’s connection to the bypass.
It is located behind the softener from the place the plumbing enters the system. There are a couple of different types so figure out which one your system has or call a professional.
If you can manage to connect the bypass yourself, you will have to wait for a few minutes for the overflowing to stop. This is because the softener needs some time to depressurize. The water flow will stop after that.
Caution! You want to turn or push the bypass (depending on the model) without hard tools like hammers. You can also tap on it lightly several times and try to un-stick it instead of using hard tools. If it doesn’t work, you should contact a plumber.
If you can’t wait and the bypass is too tight, you should switch off the water supply. then try flushing the toilet or turning the sink faucet on to depressurize the water softener system.
Once that happens, you should keep the water supply off and turn or push the bypass.
Dealing With Different Bypass Types
If your bypass is a slider that has a piston that needs to be pushed side to side, you can use a mallet to tap it lightly a few times.
Your bypass might also have a single lever that needs to be turned to a certain angle. In that case, locate an arrow that points to the word ‘Service’. Turn it such that it points to ‘Bypass’.
Sometimes the levers might get stuck in which case you do the same thing you did before. Get a mallet and gently tap it a few times.
Once the water softener system is fixed, your brine tank will have the correct level of water. And after you have solved the problem, you can try removing a little bit of brine from the system and ease it a bit. It’s not a rule but it helps.
But be sure to get rid of it properly. This is saltwater and it can kill plants, flowers and grass too. So, you want to keep it away from that. But if you have snow that needs melting, this will work very well.