Why is My Water Softener using too Much Salt

Why is My Water Softener using too Much Salt? 

We all know that water softeners use salt, but have you ever wondered if it’s using too much salt?

Yes! Sometimes the water softener, for various reasons, ends up using too much salt. 

Let’s examine why your water softener uses so much salt and what you can do about it. 

Reasons your Water Softener is using too much Salt

There are multiple reasons why your water softener uses too much salt. But worry not, as I have discussed every reason in detail below.  

Salt Build up in Brine

Salt-bridging can cause hindrances in the functioning of your water softener. Salt bridges form when salt starts accumulating on the wall of the brine tank of your water softener. This hardened salt blocks brine formation, which is needed to soften the water.

To eliminate this issue, remove the brine tank lid and break the hardened salt or shake the container well enough to dissolve the salt again.

If this does not work, remove the salt deposit with a mildly sharp object. 

This will break all the sturdy pieces of salt, and your water softener will return to its smoothness. 

Remember – After all these steps, refill your brine tank with as much salt as needed.

Tip – Periodically check the drain hose as hard minerals can accumulate there, which could lead to salty water due to water pressures. 

Salt Level High or Water Level too Low 

You are always supposed to maintain the salt level, about three to four inches above the water level in the resin tank of your water softener. 

Take a peek in, and if you can see the water’s surface, you are running low on salt and need to refill it. Never let your water softener run out of salt.

Too much salt will lead to too much sodium or potassium, which will go to waste and give rise to the build-up of crusty substances. 

So, it is ideal for keeping the salt level up to where the salt tank is half-full

Tip- To be aware of the water level present in the tank, keep tabs on the float valve.

If the float valve is defective, hire professionals to repair it, or you could do it yourself.

Improper Salt Size 

Choosing a water softener per your requirements is more important than just choosing one due to its size. Because here, bigger might not necessarily be better!

Similarly, picking the right size of salt also plays a crucial role in ensuring you get the best-softened water. 

I recommend you go for salt pellets and crystals over table salts, as the latter is the least effective and will give rise to salt bridges.  

Tip – Sodium chloride (evaporated salt) or potassium chloride turns out to be the purest and, thus, most efficient as they do not produce salt bridges whatsoever.

Increase in Water Usage 

You may be using more water than regular, and you may not even know it! 

If the water usage increases due to an increase in the number of people in your house or if you start consuming water more frequently,  your water softener might need to regenerate water frequently

This frequent regeneration will give rise to an increase in the usage of the amount of salt. 

Important – Verify that there are no leaks in your house. Leaks, even the tiny ones, can cause wastage of up to 1 gallon of water per day. The leaks will not only waste water but also give rise to the ineffectiveness of your water softener. 

Wrong Setting of Control Head

When you installed your water softener, the control head of it may have programmed the set-up in the wrong settings. 

You need to be precise when entering the hardness level of water and the water usage level in the control head of your softener. 

Wrong inputs may result in your water softener using more salt than necessary.

You can terminate the guesswork by purchasing a smart meter and a test kit for water hardness minerals. 

This ensures that you use the appropriate amount of water even if you are unaware of the measurements.

Failure of Control Valve 

The function of the control valve is to regulate the regeneration of water that your water softener produces as per the water flow available.  

The valve is the most important participant in the process and works on a timer programmed by the information your water softener records. 

So, naturally, if the valve fails, the calculations will not be accurate, and salt might get consumed in large quantities. This will replenish the salt in your tank faster than expected, and soft water production can also halt. 


Keep checking the brine tank and other components of your precious water softener periodically to avoid using too much salt. 

Awareness is the key! The more you know about your water softener,  the fewer issues you will face!