How do I Troubleshoot a Water Softener That Won't Draw Brine?

Chyrene Pendleton

When you want cleaner, brighter clothing, an effortless house-cleaning experience and smoother, softer hair, a water softener will help you achieve that and more. Water softeners remove undesirable minerals from your water supply.

Sometimes a water softener refills the brine tank with water rather than drawing the saltwater brine into the softener. Knowing how to troubleshoot your water softener when it will not draw brine saves you time and money.

Clean the Nozzle and Venturi

  1. Close the main water-supply valve and open the hot and cold water house faucets. Remove the top cover of your water softener and place the bypass valves in the "bypass" position. This depressurizes your water softener so you can remove parts.

  2. Remove the venturi and nozzle housing by holding it in one hand as you unscrew the cap with the other. The venturi is a small unit that works like a vacuum, producing suction to move brine from its tank to the resin tank.

  3. Lift out the screen and screen support. Remove the venturi and nozzle.

  4. Clean the nozzle and the venturi in soapy, warm water. Rinse them well with fresh water. Scrub off the dirt and iron deposits with a small brush if necessary; avoid scratching the venturi and nozzle surfaces. The nozzle and venturi can become plugged, so cleaning them allows your water softener to draw brine more effectively.

  5. Clean the gasket and flow plugs with warm, soapy water. Rinse well.

  6. Place the venturi and nozzle back into position, along with the other parts, in the same order you removed them. Securely seat the nozzle and venturi in the gasket.

  7. Open the main water-supply valve, including the hot and cold house faucets. Place the bypass valves in the "service" position, which pressurizes the water softener. Close all water house faucets.

Check the Valve Drain Hose and Brine Tubing

  1. Inspect the valve drain hose leading out of the water softener to the floor drain for kinks. The hose is ually located at the back of the unit. Straighten the hose if necessary.

  2. Adjust the valve drain hose, if necessary, so it is not more than eight feet above the floor.

  3. Pull out the brine tubing from the nozzle and venturi housing, made up of the elbow and O-ring seal. Run warm water through the brine tubing to clear out clogs. Reconnect the tubing to the nozzle and venturi housing.