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Removing the Salt Clog in your Water Softener

Salt Clogged in bottom of Water Softener

Keeping the salt from clogging the bottom of your water softener will extend its life!

With the pure salt pellets most of us are now using for our water softeners we have noticed a new problem that occurs fairly often.

It is usually caused by high humidity or by keeping too much salt in the softener. When the salt gets wet often without being used up the salt begins to bind together.   Over time the salt forms a solid mass at the bottom of the salt tank which stops water from flowing into or out of the salt tank.   This is a very common problem and one of our most frequent source of a  service call!  The softener stops softening water and stops using salt to make brine. Without brine, the resin bed does not regenerate and you will have hard water.   Keep the following in mind to remedy this situation.

1)   When this happens the salt pellets at the top will look normal, but the salt underneath will have formed a solid block of wet salt.


2)   Start by turning off the water to your water softener. You can turn it off at the incoming faucet or by using the bypass valve.


3)   Get a broom, mop or something else with a long handle. Turn it upside down and put it inside the water softener.


4)   Tap the salt with the handle until you break up the salt. If you can’t break up the salt, find something sharper and heavier.


5)   Remove the loose salt pellets from the top with a plastic container. Chink away at the salt crust but be very careful not to puncture a hole in your softener. Stay away from the sides. Break up small chunks and remove them by scooping them up with a small plastic container.


6)   Vacuum the water in the bottom of the softener with a wet/dry vacuum.    Pour about 2 gallons of hot tap water over the remaining salt mass and about a quart into the brine well (the smaller cylinder inside the salt tank) after removing its cap.   Turn the water to your softener back on.   Let it sit for about 4 hours.  Follow the instructions in your water softener instruction manual for regenerating your softener.   The next day after the softener has regenerated try breaking up the salt again with the stick.   Do not add any more salt until this salt clog has been used up.   You may need to repeat step #6 several times before the salt clog is removed.


7)   Once the salt clog is gone fill the salt tank 2/3 full of salt but do not top up the salt again until it is down to the ¼ full level.   This will minimize the chances of this happening again in the future.

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5 Responses to Removing the Salt Clog in your Water Softener

  1. ______ ___ says:

    Heya i am for the first time here. I came across this board and I find It truly useful & it helped me out
    a lot. I hope to give something back and help others like you helped me.

  2. denise johnson says:

    I appreciate that you’ve shared these steps. These are really useful. But I wonder how often should we do the chucking of checking of the salt water softener container?

    • Gary says:

      Stir the remaining salt before adding new salt and let the salt run out once a year and it will probably never clog.

  3. Water Softeners in Bangalore says:

    this is an awesome blog about water softeners. this can be used to filter the water. thanks for sharing such an important article with us. all the best. keep on posting.

  4. terry bandy says:

    Saved as a favorite, I love your website!