ater softener brine tank  or salt tankWater Softener Brine Tank Troubleshooting
Salt Tank level too high, flooding, overflow, brine tank float repairs
     

  • BRINE TANK WATER TOO HIGH - CONTENTS: How to Diagnose & Fix a Water Softener brine tank or salt tank that Is Not Working Properly - How to diagnose brine tank water level too high, overflow, or won't empty
  • 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.
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Water softener brine tanks: what causes too much water in the water conditioner brine tank or salt tank & how do we fix it. Problem diagnosis & repair with brine tank float control & other salt tank level controls.

Diagnose & Fix Water Softener Problems: 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.

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Too Much Water in the Brine Tank - Diagnosis and Cure

Water softener brine tank in normal condition (C) Daniel Friedman Mark KlugQuestion: I don't see a brine control valve and the water softener brine tank is too full of water. What should I check?

I did as you suggested and emptied and cleaned out the water conditioner brine tank, I notice that there is nothing in the tank except a 1/4 inch line for water and that is it,

When I put it all together again it fill up to 3/4 full again and the salt was all submersed. In other words, my water softener brine tank does not seem to include a brine refill control valve.

What else should I try.

[Click to enlarge any image]

Reply:

Our photo above both shows the water softener brine tank in normal condition. My buddy Mark K. (page to photo) has poured salt pellets into the brine tank to a safe level that does not risk pellets falling into the brine tank float assembly should its cap be removed. The smaller round cylinder in this salt tank contains the brine float control assembly. If your salt tank does not have this component the water entry quantity and salty water dose quantity for a water softener regeneration cycle may not be properly controlled.

An accurate diagnosis of what's wrong with your water softener depends on the particular model water softener and what controls it uses.

When we find that the brine tank on a water softener or water conditioner system seems to be too high, or the tank is flooded, there are several things to check. An accurate diagnosis of what's wrong with your water softener depends on the particular model water softener and what controls it uses.

Here are the most common reasons for finding too much water in the brine tank: [1]

Water Softener Control will not draw brine from brine tank: Table of Causes & Repair Steps

Causes of Water Remaining in Brine Tank Cures for Flooded 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 or partly clogged drain tubing, or a too-small drain line piping, or a drain line not properly routed, resulting 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 and of 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 SOFTENER PLUMBING PROBLEMS
Clogged softener drain line flow control The control needs to be cleaned At DIAGNOSE SOFTENER BACKUP / FLOODING 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 Change seals, spacer, piston assembly  
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

See WATER SOFTENER BRINE TANK AIR CHECK VALVE for details

Stuck brine tank float prevents water from entering the brine tank Manually free stuck float See repair details at BRINE TANK WATER TOO LOW
Stuck brine tank float prevents brine from exiting - flooding brine tank with water Manually free stuck float; use manual regen cycle to remove excess water;

See repair details at BRINE TANK FLOAT LEVEL ADJUSTMENT

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

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:

These typical diagnostics are adapted and expanded-upon from an Aqua brand water softener but pertain to many models for which the manual describes diagnosing and repairing a softener that won't draw brine from the brine tank:

Water Softener Air Check Valve Troubleshooting

Water softener air check valve - GEIf your water softener system uses an air check valve (sketch at above left example from G.E. [2]) when it should not have one installed (some controls have a built-in air check valve) this can cause the system to stop drawing brine back into the conditioner before the brine tank is empty. Or the air check valve itself may be debris-clogged.

Here is another air check valve sketch from According to G.E. [2]

Below we illustrate two other air check valves used on some brine level control systems such as GE [2] and Water Right.[1]

[Click to enlarge any image or table]

Air check valve on water softener brine tank GE Water Right Air check valve on brine tank - GE Water Right

Bottom line: until we are sure we have correctly identified the water conditioner model, found its installation and operating manual, and made sure that it has all of the proper parts installed, trying to debug a problem with water level in the brine tank leaves us just guessing.

Give your water conditioner manufacturer a call - their contact information is right there in the water conditioner operating manual - and ask about your model and just what brine tank level controls it uses.

In addition to the questions & answers about water softener operating problems presented in the article above, additional Water Softener Diagnosis& Repair Q&As are at WATER SOFTENER DIAGNOSTIC FAQs

and at SOFTENER ADJUSTMENT & CONTROLS

Reader Question: water softener brine tank not draining

Water softener has water stuck in tank, not draining. - Amy 9/19/11

Reply:

Amy, at DIAGNOSE SOFTENER BACKUP / FLOODING 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.

Question: water softener brine tank does not empty fully

I just noticed today that there was still some water in my salt tank after the cycle completed this morning (the drain hose is fine). Is this something I need to worry about? The softener (Kenmore) is 12 years old now. - Scott 8/27/12

Reply:

Scott, possibly the float control valve in the brine tank needs cleaning, or the whole tank is due for a cleanout.

See BRINE TANK FLOAT LEVEL ADJUSTMENT - if your water softener brine tank is overflowing the float control may be stuck.

Also see SOFTENER CLEANING & SANITIZING for the steps to solve this problem.

Question: Water-Rite 740 water softener has brine tank full of water - what's the normal liquid level in the brine tank?

Hi, can you tell me how much water should be in a brine tank of a water rite softener under normal use, now it is full of water all the time, is this normal. I think this will just melt all the salt in the tank all the time. It is a model 740 - M.C., Canada

Reply: you should not normally see liquid in the brine tank unless it's about out of salt

A competent onsite inspection by an expert usually finds additional clues that help accurately diagnose a problem or in this case just what's wrong with your water softener. That said, here are some things to consider:

We don't know specifically by quantity, but in general, you should not see water in the brine tank unless salt has been used up to the last 6-12 inches in the tank. So we suspect that the brine tank float level control valve that sets the water level in the tank is not working properly.

Check the brine refill control valve in your water softener brine tank

Photo of a water softener salt tank ready for cleaningThe BRINE REFILL 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. The part is also called the brine refill control valve.

We discuss how the brine refill control valve works and how it may be adjusted at SOFTENER ADJUSTMENT & CONTROLS.

More photos of this valve are at SOFTENER CLEANING & SANITIZING.

How to fix the brine tank water level

First check the water softener settings SOFTENER ADJUSTMENT & CONTROLS .

Try emptying the brine tank completely, cleaning all the parts, make sure that the brine control valve (the float actuated switch in the brine tank) moves freely up and down, then fill it at least 1/3 full of salt. For details about cleaning out the water softener brine tank see SOFTENER CLEANING & SANITIZING.

Then send the water softener through a manual regeneration cycle (SOFTENER ADJUSTMENT & CONTROLS) and watch what happens.The volume of water that is pumped into the brine tank and then out back through the water softener is set by the salt "dose" setting on the water softener control.

The manufacturer of your Water Rite water softener, properly a Water-Right water softener, can provide you with the installation, operation, and maintenance manual for your water softener if you don't already have one.

...


Continue reading at WATER SOFTENER BRINE TANK FAQs or select a topic from the More Reading links or topic ARTICLE INDEX shown below.

Or see BRINE TANK WATER TOO LOW

Or see SOFTENER ADJUSTMENT & CONTROLS

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BRINE TANK WATER TOO HIGH at InspectApedia.com - online encyclopedia of building & environmental inspection, testing, diagnosis, repair, & problem prevention advice.

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