Can I Just Turn Off My Water Softener

Can I Just Turn Off My Water Softener? [But Remember This…]

Do you also want to know if you can unplug or turn off your water softener? 

For any reason, like you are going to trip or for maintenance. 

Will doing so have consequences or be totally safe?

I will answer these questions and let you know when to unplug your water softener. 

Read until the very end to know how to correctly turn off the water supply or even activate the bypass mode in your water softener. 

What Happens After Unplugging the Water Softener?

The following will happen after you unplug your water softener. (abruptly)


  • You may still have soft water after unplugging your water softener.

You may still be able to soften your water (for a while) with the resin in your water softener. 

Unplugging your water softener won’t stop it from running if it is already running.

  • Water will still enter the water softener. 

If there’s some sort of leak and you want to stop the leak, then just unplugging the water softener will not help you. To completely disconnect your water softener and avoid entering the water, you must put the unit into bypass mode or switch off the main water supply. You can learn here how to bypass your water softener

  • You may lose the programming for your water softener computer.

Unplugging a water softener may cause its computer to lose the information you had commanded it with. It includes information regarding when to regenerate and what water hardness to use.

  • Your water softener control valve could accumulate hard minerals and iron!

Dampness may form in your plumbing if your water softener still uses water when you unplug it. Eventually, you will end up with hard water, so all the water softener valves can accumulate hard minerals and irons. 

You Should Unplug Water Softener If 

Here are a few reasons why this might be necessary. 

They are –

  • A vacation is coming up

You’re headed somewhere sunny for a week or two, so your water softener won’t be used. Water softeners should be turned off while you’re away. Eliminate the possibility of leaks by turning off your water supply as well.

  • Maintenance is in progress

It’s not wise to soften your water while adding salt to a water softener. The bypass mode on your softener allows you to perform essential maintenance while using water.

  • Defective water softener

Put your water softener in bypass mode when you notice a leak, strange noise, or broken part. You’ll still have access to ordinary hard water while you diagnose and solve the problem by bypassing water around the softener.


There are some instances when a water softener makes a strange sound due to a malfunctioning electrical or mechanical part, but this is rare.

Parts of the water softener can become worn or damaged over time, which can cause noise when contacting each other. As a water softener ages, these noises become more common.

The water softener control should be checked if there is a burning or giving off an electrical odor.

You should unplug your water softener and put it in bypass mode until a water treatment specialist can inspect it to see if it’s making an unusual sound or emitting an odd odor.

You Shouldn’t Unplug Water Softener If

There are several situations in which you should not immediately unplug your water softener – you need to bypass it before you unplug it. These include:

  • A leak has been discovered in your water softener.
  • It appears that the brine tank is overflowing.
  • There may be times when you want to use water for gardening or yard work. However, you do not want to waste salt since it does not matter whether the water is hard or soft.
  • There may be a time when you run out of salt or must repair your water softener. Despite that, you still need access to running water in the meantime.

Here are all the situations where you should, at all costs, avoid unplugging your water softener directly. 

How do I Turn off Water Supply to Water Softener? 

The easiest and most realistic way to turn off your water supply (optional) is given below.

The main valve should be shut off by twisting it to the off position with an adjustable wrench. 

To do so, look near the water meter, you should be able to find the main water valve.

Lastly, verify that the water supply has been shut off by opening a nearby faucet to let trapped air out of the pipes.

It’s as simple as this turn off the water supply of your water softener! 

Putting Water Softener in Bypassing Mode

Water softeners are shut off by unplugging them and bypassing the system. Prevent water from flowing into the unit by disabling the water-softening function.

The guide to set the unit to bypass mode are – 

First, put the softener into bypass mode using the bypass valve (also called a shut-off valve).

There are three modes of operation for water softeners: service mode, bypass mode, and regeneration mode. Read and identify which mode your water softener is on.

During normal operation, the system is in service mode. There are usually three valves in a system, all pointed to the service or soft setting.

Turn all three valves to bypass to divert water away from the system. Turn the bypass valve in the opposite direction if your system only has a soft setting.

There is a slight difference between every water softening system. 

Remember – If you need more clarification about turning off a softener, consult your manual or contact the manufacturer directly.

What should I do to Water Softener when I Want to Use it Again?

In most cases, you should only have a little to do when you return from vacation.

To eliminate any air in the line, I recommend turning on the house water first and running the upper-level sink for a few minutes if you bypassed your water softener before leaving on vacation.

Take your water softener out of bypass mode once the water is back on and running well, and run more water through the sink faucet until the water feels soft.

You can check if your water is soft with a simple water test kit.

If you still need to add a surge protector to your water softener, now is the time.

You may have to reset a few things once you plug your water softener back in. 

They are –

  1. Get your clock back on track:

Water softeners that aren’t digital often have a wheel with the hours of the day written on it and a button you press to turn it.

Turn the wheel so that the arrow or dot that indicates the time of day is pointing to the correct time.

Most digital water softener clocks can be programmed as easily as clock radios. To set the hour, press the clock button and up or down, then press the clock again to set the minutes.

  1. Your hardness should be set as follows:

The hardness should not be reset on a non-digital water softener since it shouldn’t have been changed by unplugging.

If you unplug your digital water softener, you might need to reset your water hardness and other settings. Reprogramming a water softener is usually quite easy. 

Just take it one step at a time, and you’ll be done in no time.

Remember – Water softeners shouldn’t be damaged if they are unplugged and the water is shut off for six weeks, but computer settings may need to be reprogrammed. 

Will Unplugging Water Softener Damage the System? 

The answer depends on how long the water softener is unplugged and whether or not you unplug it during regeneration.

When you leave a water softener unplugged for too long, the resin will build up with hard water, and bacteria will accumulate in the tanks. As a result, you’ll drink water that contains hard minerals.

Unplugging a water softener in regeneration mode will cause it to stay in that mode until plugged back in. A unit could be damaged over time if that happens.

If you’re away from home for a few days, unplugging your water softener shouldn’t cause any damage, but don’t unplug it regularly.


Unplugging your water softener has consequences. 

Unplugging your water softener is ideal under certain conditions and not ideal under others. Remember both.

You now know how to shut off the water supply and activate bypass mode on your water softener.

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