Is it Good to Have Water in the Water Softener Tank?

A water softener is a device that you can attach to your plumbing system to solve your hard-water problems. The water softener uses a basic chemical reaction -- ion exchange -- to replace the mineral particles that are bonded to your water molecules with more inert substitutes, specifically sodium from the water softener tank. This tank needs to be filled with both salt and water to function properly.


Brine is the solution that is created when the water and salt in the softener tank mix. This brine is the resin that holds all the sodium ions in reserve for the softener, so they can replace the minerals with the sodium to soften the water. To keep your softener functioning correctly, you need to continue adding salt to the tank at intervals. But tank water is also a vital component.

Water Requirements

Each water softener tank has different water requirements based on the owner's manual instructions. You always need some water in the tank; no water is a sign that your softener is not working properly. Typically, no matter the size of the tank, the water level should be 3 or 4 inches below the salt level. If it appear lower than this, you need to fill the tank with more water.

Lack of Water

If the tank does not have enough water, the brine resin cannot form in the bottom and regenerate the water softener. The softener will continue to work as long as it has enough resin, but water is necessary for the flow of ion and it cannot use salt alone for the project. You may have a problem with water flow if your tank is self-filling but still lacks water.

Salt Maintenance

If you inspect your tank and find that it does not have any water in it, you may also notice that salt has crusted on the top and sides of the tank. When you refill your tank, use warm water to help dissolve this crusted salt. Scrape and knock any leftover salt loose so it can mix with the water more easily. This keeps the softener operating correctly.