Troubleshooting Water Softener Resin Tank Problems

water softener brine tank with salt

A water softener resin tank is used to remove certain ions from hard water and make it soft. When there is a significant amount of calcium and magnesium in water, it becomes too hard and clogs the pipes. If these ions are removed from hard water by a process, it is known as water softening.

You can soften hard water in houses by adding the water softener resin tank directly to the main water supply. Such tanks use a resin (functionalized plastic or polymer bead) that exchanges the hard ions with certain soft ions. These softener resin tanks can work effectively if you maintain and troubleshoot minor problems immediately. Following are some common problems and their solutions:

Problem 1 – Water is Hard

Despite having a water softener, if you get hard water that is clogging your pipes, you must find out the reason. Check for problems like mechanical malfunctions or the salts. If there is no such issue, then you may have to either replace the resin in your softener tank or replace the tank itself after consulting a water softening expert. In general, softener resin can last for 5 to 10 years.

Problem 2 – Mushing

Check for mushing in your brine tank. Mushing can happen due to the deposition of evaporated salt crystals or salt pellets used in the softener resin. When you notice mushing in the brine tank, remove it and clean, as mushing can hinder brine production. An adequate amount of brine is necessary to refresh the resin beads, and when it is not refreshed properly, it may result in poor water softening levels.

container pouring brine into a water softener unit

Problem 3 – Resin Leakage

Sometimes, there can be leakage of resin from the water softener. You can identify the cracks by looking for resin beads in the water coming out of the softener tank. An easy way is to check for the presence of these beads in the aerators at the faucets. When you find resin beads here, check if one of the screens inside the tank is letting the beads out. If so, replace the screen by removing the valve from the tank.

Problem 4 – Pressure Loss

If there is a loss in water pressure coming out of the softener, check the control valves' swelling. It may be caused by chlorinated water blocking the valve. Clean or replace the valve in this case. Pressure may also significantly decrease due to problems like sand in the water from the main water supply or algae growth in the resin bed or damage to the resin beads by highly chlorinated water. In such cases, you have to replace the resin after cleaning the resin tank.

Problem 5 – Tank Leakage

The leakage of the water softener tank has to be repaired immediately. Mark the place where the leakage is found. Switch off the water supply to the softener and disassemble the water softener. Empty the salt in a safe container, and sand the marked location using sandpaper. Now use an epoxy solution and fill the cracks in that area. Let it dry and then assemble the softener, and then fix it and start the water supply.