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What Can Affect the Performance of a Water Softener?

dupage-water | | Uncategorized

In the St. Charles area, hard water is a serious problem. Because of that, water softeners and purification systems are near necessities.

Unfortunately, however, water softeners do suffer “breakdowns” on occasion. While it would be great if your softener was working optimally at all times, it’s just not realistic.  As with any piece of machinery, time and use take a toll. 

There are a few primary reasons water softening systems begin to function at a less than optimal level.  Here are 5 of them:

Excessive Salt Buildup

As you may know, water softeners make use of salt in order to function. While salt serves its purpose very well for the most part, it can cause a few problems as well.

Over time, as more and more salt passes through the softener, it will start to build up on the sides of the inner mechanisms of the softener. The more and more salt that builds up in the softener, the more your system struggles to operate at an optimal level.   

Typically, excessive salt buildup results in water which is not as soft as it could be. Because the softener is not operating at an efficient level, it leaves some hard water minerals in the water.

Resin Bead Quality

A key component in any water softener which makes use of salt is the resin bead. These beads are contained within the body of the softener and are there to essentially exchange hard water minerals with soft water minerals.

But, like anything, resin beads need to be monitored. After years and years of fulfilling their purpose, they will begin to function less efficiently.  An expert can examine the beads and let you know if it is time to have them replaced.  Unfortunately, there’s nothing that can be done to repair them.


Another integral part of a properly functioning water softener is the motor. The motor drives water through the softener, ensuring that it’s thoroughly conditioned at all times.

Just as with any motor, a water softener motor will eventually go bad. This typically won’t happen for years, but when it does happen, it will essentially eliminate your ability to produce soft water. Through regular maintenance and checkups, you can keep the motor running as long as mechanically possible. 


Something that can adversely affect the performance of your water softener on a fairly consistent basis is a dirty filter.

A water softener filter catches the hard minerals which are funneled through the internal mechanisms of the softener. Because of this, it can get dirty fairly quickly.

The dirtier the filter gets, the harder time the system has removing large, hard water minerals. This will result in the minerals remaining in the water, preventing the softener from producing optimal water.

Salt Bridges

Water softeners make use of a mechanism which essentially changes the ion balance within your water. While softeners typically perform this task routinely, things can go wrong.

Sometimes, the ions can have a chemical reaction, causing a hard, crusty material to form within your water softener tank. If this occurs, it can be difficult for water to flow through it freely.

This crusty material formed by this chemical reaction is called a salt bridge; a fairly common water softener problem. Fortunately, you can break salt bridges apart with fairly easily.

Having Issues With the Performance Of Your Water Softener?

Have you run into issues with the performance of your water softener? Are you at a loss as to what you should do to rectify the issues? If so, it’s time to call in a professional.

If you live in Geneva, Batavia, or Algonquin, Illinois, we here at DuPage Water Conditioning are the professionals to call. We’ve been around since 1958 and have the expertise and staff to address all your water softening needs. 

Contact us today for a free estimate!