9 Reasons Your Water Softener is Leaking

9 Reasons Your Water Softener is Leaking (& Solutions)

Is your water softener leaking? Several factors could have resulted in the leak. Troubleshooting the particular cause will help you to resolve it correctly and on time.

By the time you get to the end, this post will certainly help you understand the main causes and ideal steps you need to take to solve the leaking problem. Below are 9 reasons your water softener is leaking:

1. A Loose Hose Connection

A loose hose connection could be a reason behind your water softener leakage. Although the leakage may be minimal, if left unattended, it can only get worse.

You can tell there is a leakage by inspecting the hose at the top of the unit. If you confirm that is the case, try tightening the valve and observe if this fixes it.

Hoses tend to wear out over time, and this may affect the connection. If you fix it and it keeps leaking, then you can get rid of the problem by replacing it with a new one that fits well.

For your safety, disconnect the main power and turn off the water supply. If you can’t figure out how to do it yourself, hire a professional plumber.

2. A Defective Rotor Valve

Rotor Valve

If there is leakage at the top of your water softener, the rotor valve could be the cause. It is located at the top of the appliance and plays an important role in regulating water and brine flow between the resin tank and the brine tank.

The rotor valve can cause leakage if it is broken or worn out. To troubleshoot, check whether there is a crack on any part. Also, check if the seals are intact or worn out.

If the valve is broken or the seal is worn out, you will need to replace it with a new rotor valve.

You may opt to replace the valve and seal yourself or to hire a water softener specialist. Either way, adhere to the manufacturer’s recommendations on the replacement parts.

3. Defective O-Rings in the Bypass Valve

The bypass valve allows you to “turn off” water inflow into the water softener without disrupting the water supply in the entire house. For the most part, the bypass valve works wells on most water softeners, but it may leak occasionally.

A bypass valve leakage may be a result of dry or worn-out O-rings. In some cases, the valve itself may be broken. Also, a significant buildup of the deposit of minerals around the bypass valves could also cause leakage.

If the O-ring is too dry, it will need to be lubricated using a silicone-based lubricant. Do not use a petroleum-based lubricant as it will cause further damage.

If the O-rings are damaged or worn out, especially if the water softener has been serving you for more than 10 years, it is best to replace them with new ones. Similarly, if the bypass valve is broken, it will need to be replaced with a new one.

4. A Puncture on the Brine Tank

You can easily tell if the brine tank is punctured if you notice leaks either on its side or bottom. Although brine tanks are designed to be durable, recurrent formation of a salt bridge can make it prone to puncturing.

Also, exerting too much pressure on the salt bridge to break it can cause lines of weakness and the brine tank.

Use the right type of water softener salts in the right amounts to prevent the formation of a salt bridge. If inevitably a salt bridge forms, use warm water and gentle pressure to dissolve or break it.

If the cause of the leak is a minor crack, you can patch it up with epoxy.

Here are the steps for repairing a crack on a brine tank using epoxy:

  1. Power off the water softener and cut off its water supply
  2. Using a permanent marker, mark where the crack is
  3. Disassemble the water softener, separating the brine tank
  4. Empty the brine tank of any salt or brine therein
  5. Clean the tank thoroughly, then dry it completely
  6. Take sandpaper and rough up the area where the crack is from the inside
  7. Wipe off any dust particles
  8. Mix the epoxy as instructed on the product label
  9. Apply the epoxy on the sanded area of the brine tank
  10. Use liquid soap or soapy water to smoothen out the applied epoxy. When smoothening, apply some pressure on the epoxy to push it inside the crack
  11. Allow the epoxy to dry and cure as per the instructions on the packaging
  12. Once dry, conduct a leak check. Put water in the brine tank past the repaired area and notice if there are any other leaks
  13. If there no leaks, reassemble the brine tank and the rest of the water softener and set it up for operation

Unfortunately, some cracks may be too major to be repaired with epoxy. In that case, you will have to repair the entire brine tank. Check your warranty to see if brine tank repairs and replacements are covered.

If it does, contact the manufacturer for a possible replacement. If the warranty is expired, you can still call the company to seek advice on how best to fix the problem or, better still, get a replacement. 

5. A Leaking Water Softener Resin Tank

Dripping water from your resin tank shows you that something is amiss. Either the tank has a crack or a leakage.

To fix the water softener leak on your resin tank, check if the warranty is still valid. If it does, don’t hesitate to consult the manufacturing company to replace the damaged one.

If the warranty is long overdue, try out this simple technique to fix your tank. Turn off the water softener, empty the tank, clean it thoroughly and dry it. Lastly, apply a strong waterproof epoxy on the crack, which handles the salt well. This should work the magic.

6. Faulty Water Softener Drain Line

Another primary cause for a water softener leak is a leaking drain line which can be a nuisance if not installed properly. It can be worse if it has a crack or has become clogged over time.

Blocked drain lines can burst. To prevent this, always ensure that the drain line is well installed and has the correct amount of air gap. 

It is easy to rule out the air gap in a properly installed drain line. If there is a trickle of water along the drain line, follow it till where it stops. That should show you the beginning of your troubles.

Again, check for any blockage that could have caused the crack. Alternatively, call in a water softener expert to replace the drain line to solve your problem once and for all.

7. Brine Tank Overflow

Brine Tank Overflow

Normally, during the regeneration cycle, the brine tank fills with water about halfway, which sits for a while as it absorbs sodium ions. The brine then flows back to the resin tank.

In case there is a fault in the water softener operations, water may accumulate in the brine tank, causing it to overflow.

There are several factors that could cause your brine tank to overflow. These include:

  • Salt clog
  • A float cap that is set too high
  • Clogged or kinked drain line
  • Blocked brine tank valve
  • Injector obstruction
  • Faulty pistons or spacers

To resolve a brine tank overflow issue, set the float cap halfway to the tank. Inspect the valves, injectors, and drain lines. If they are blocked, clean them to unblock. If they are broken or damaged, replace them with new parts.

8. Resin Tank Overflow

Tiny droplets of water at the bottom of your resin tank will help you know your tank is faulty. The perfect remedy for this is, check if the tank still has a warranty on it. If so, talk to the company to have it replaced as soon as possible.

If the warranty is not there anymore, turn off the water softener, clean the bottom of the tank and dry it. Using a strong waterproof epoxy apply it to the crack to seal it off. 

Also, the resin tank can leak from the bottom; this could be caused by a crack. The easiest way to tackle this issue is to turn off the water softener and thoroughly clean the tank.

Then, carefully mark and follow the crack to establish how small or big the crack is. See if you can repair it or not. If you can, engage the services of a professional. Repair the cracked areas properly to prevent further damage.

If you notice the crack is at a connection point of the resin tank, try tightening it and see if it will work. In the case that it doesn’t, check the O-ring to ensure it is properly fixed. If not, you may need to replace it.

9. A Faulty Safety Float

Aside from the causes of a brine tank overflow discussed above, a faulty safety float cap can be another cause of a water softener leak.

The main job of the safety float cap is to shut down the water flow into the brine tank if it exceeds the set mark. This prevents an overflow that could result in flooding.

Notice if the float cap sinks to the bottom of the tank. In that case, it has lost its buoyancy and will need to be replaced. If the float cap is properly set, but the water is still overflowing, it might be faulty.

To investigate the float cap for defects, remove it from the brine tank and run it over some hot water. Notice if the float cap goes up and down.

Also, there is a small ball beneath it; see if it is moving freely. If not, it is faulty and will have to be replaced.

water softener

Easy Tips for Maintaining Your Water Softener 

Homeowners invest heavily in water softeners, especially those plagued by the effects of hard water. When your water softener does not give you the service you deserve,

it is frustrating. Proper maintenance will help to prevent major water softener problems, including leaking.

Below are some easy and effective water softener maintenance tips to help keep your water softener operating optimally for a long time. Read on;

Learn how to do the basic water softener maintenance procedures

If you decide to invest in your water softener, it is important to learn basic tips that will help you fix common problems that will arise now and then without calling a professional.

A DIY ( Do it Yourself) knowledge will save you a few bucks and resolve minor issues promptly.

Involve a water softener specialist or a professional plumber whenever necessary

For one reason or the other, if you have tried fixing the problem and it keeps occurring, this would be the time to call in a professional to lend you a hand.

Use the right type of salt, resins, and replacement parts for your water softener

There is a wide range of brine tank salts, including pellets, rocks, and crystals. Use the type of salt that the manufacturer recommends. Similarly, use the recommended resins and replacement parts for valves, injectors, pistons, O-rings, drain lines, etc.

Inspect the water softener frequently

Some people don’t care for the water softener as long as it is delivering soft water. Until you notice a leak, hear a rumbling noise, or see brown water running, among other issues coming out of your faucets that you run to the basement to try and diagnose the problem.

Schedule regular inspections either by yourself or alongside a professional. That way, you can catch the blocked valves, dried-out seals, or salt clogs early on.


Ultimately, proper maintenance is the key to preventing leaks or catching them early on. Investigate and fix even minute leaks; otherwise, if left unattended, they can become catastrophic.

If you notice a leak, troubleshoot it against the aforementioned 9 reasons for your water softener is leaking.

Apply the solutions discussed for each reason to fix the issue or contact a plumber. Remember, before taking any steps to resolve a leak, first put off the power supply, preferably at the circuit breaker socket, and cut off the inlet power supply.

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Amanda Perkins

Amanda began her career as a technical writer for a healthcare group in 2008. Years after getting married and starting a family, she joined her husband Joshua on the Water Filter Authority journey to educate other families and households about safe, affordable, and effective water filtration systems.