Why is My Water Softener Not Removing Calcium?

Why is My Water Softener Not Removing Calcium?

Many homeowners like you, have invested in a water softener. However, you may be experiencing one that is operational but not removing the calcium anymore. What could be the reason why your water softener has stopped removing calcium?

Generally, a water softener will stop removing calcium if it is turned off. There is a setting option on water softeners that helps recharge the resin beads inside of it. If it is turned off, it will not be able to wash away the hard materials, leaving your water untreated by the softener.

If you’re curious about why your water softener isn’t working properly or at all, then keep on reading to learn about what could be causing this issue, and what may be the best course of action!

Related articles:
Ultimate Guide to Water Softeners: Everything You Need to Know
Reverse Osmosis: Does it Remove Calcium from Drinking Water?

Why Your Softener Could Stop Working

Water softeners can face quite a few issues in their lifetime. Understanding what those reasons are is essential to finding out how to fix the problem. The following are other reasons why your water softener may stop working.

The water softener settings are Off

Your water softener has what is called resin beads that help soften your water. These beads also need to be recharged which is what is supposed to happen when your water softener settings are switched on.

If your water softener settings are switched off however, those beads aren’t getting recharged like they are supposed to which leads to the beads not doing their job.

You can correct this situation by making sure that the water softener is set to the right time of the day. This is located on the softener head. Mostly the plumbers would set the time to sometime during the night when there isn’t anyone using the water. That way, the recharge cycle can’t be interrupted a lot.

Salt mush or salt bridge

You may never have heard of a salt bridge or why it can happen. A salt bridge is created when salt in the water softener hardens to form a “dome” shape that then creates air pockets between the water and salt.

There is another thing salt in your softener can do, and that is called salt mush. Salt mush is created when salt crystalizes to form a thick sludge in the brine tank

Both these situations can prevent resin beads to recharge properly.

You can look for a salt bridge by pushing down on the salt layer with the help of a broom handle. If you can get to the bottom of the tank, there isn’t any salt bridge. However, if don’t get to the bottom, it means there is a salt bridge. You can fix the salt bridge issue simply by breaking the hardened pieces with a gentle force.

You can usually tell if you have any salt mush by taking out some salt from the tank and looking for something sludgy and thick. The only way to fix salt mush is by thoroughly cleaning the brine tank and then refilling it with water and salt.

Excess water in the brine tank

If there is more water in the tank than what’s required, it’s possible there’s a lower amount of salt which can greatly decrease recharging brine’s salinity.

A low amount of salt can prevent your resin beads from charging to full capacity. If the beads can’t recharge properly, they won’t soften your water, hence the calcium staying inside your water.

So, how do you prevent this from happening? Well, in general, the water in your tank should be around 12 inches high. If it’s higher than this, excess water should be removed.

Brine line

The brine lines and valves of your water softener could also be plugged or clogged up with deposits. You can fix this small issue by inspecting them for any signs of deposits. If there is, getting a professional to help you remove the clog is safer.

Resin Beads Need to be replaced

The little beads inside your softener have the hard job of making sure you don’t have calcium, magnesium, or hard minerals in your water.

Sometimes the only thing that needs to be done is to replace them as they can degrade, which makes the capacity of the water softener.

One way you can tell that you need new beads is if you look in the tank and see sand-like particles. Although, this won’t happen for a long while if you just got it because on average the resin beads will last around 20 years but if there are high levels of chlorine, the lifespan can be cut down.

Motor Needs to be replaced

A water softener is an appliance that has a motor. Like every other appliance with a motor, the motor will eventually need to be replaced. This could potentially be why your softener isn’t working.

There are two modes the motor will automatically rotate a valve between. One is called the softening mode and the other is the regeneration mode. When the motor fails, it can’t rotate the valve like this, therefore the water softener will not work.

The first thing to do is check the cables and ensure there aren’t any other issues besides the motor. Contacting a plumbing professional would be the ideal way to deal with this if you suspect that the issue is a motor issue.

Does A Water Softener Remove All Calcium?

Water softeners are made to remove calcium, but you could be wondering how much calcium is removed. Does it really remove it all? It does if it is working properly. Calcium is a mineral, and all minerals are removed through the water softener process, making sure that it is all removed.

Altogether water softeners are the perfect way to get rid of hard water. Making sure you have the right amount of water in the brine tank, no salt mush or salt bridge, the motor is running smoothly, and the resin beads are good to go, is imperative for your softener to stay working!

Chief Guru

Richard Boch is a chemical engineer responsible for designing water filtration systems for industrial and residential customers. He has more than 20 years of experience with ion exchange, activated carbon, and reverse osmosis. Richard's expertise has made him a go-to source for municipalities and businesses looking to improve their water quality. When he's not working, Richard enjoys spending time with his wife and two young children. You can also follow him on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

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