A Salt Bridge? In Your Water Softener?

If you haven’t experienced this with your own water softener, you are probably curious as to what this term “Salt Bridge” means. We’re here to help you better understand how your water softener works, so here is an explanation.  We receive many calls for service where we learn, in asking questions, a salt bridge could be a likely issue. We can walk most people through it over the phone and prevent the cost of a service call. Let me set it up with this scenario. You have hard water. No fun! However, you know your water softener has been regenerating regularly. I won’t ask why you are awake at 2:00 am to know that. You have also noticed that your water softener has not been using salt for some time. Aha! You may have a salt bridge and don’t know it.

A salt bridge occurs when a hard crust forms in the brine tank and creates an empty space between the water and the salt, preventing the salt from dissolving into the water to make brine that rinses the resin inside your water softener.

Without the brine, the resin beads that soften your water can’t do their job. Common causes of bridging include high humidity, temperature changes around the water softener or using the wrong kind of salt. It is also more common in one tank units because of the small space dedicated for the salt.

What to do?

Using the end of a broom handle or mop, push it into the salt. Gently poke the salt to break up the bridge. Don’t get too aggressive with this. The deeper the salt level in the tank on top of the bridge, the more difficult it will be to break up the bridge. You may have to remove some of the salt on top.

When the bridge is broken up, you will probably notice the salt level drop down. Once that happens, try to remove the larger chunks of the salt bridge form the tank as they will not dissolve well. To avoid this problem in the future, only keep your salt tank half full. This will lessen the opportunity for another salt bridge to form.

If you have further questions about this issue, please contact us.