Why Your Water Softener Tastes Salty?

Are you experiencing salty water despite the fact that you have installed a new water softener?

Well, I would not say that it is common, but some water softeners under some particular conditions can experience salty water issues.

Don’t fret out, it is not a serious problem, it is just your water softener is not working the way it should, and it can easily be fixed too.

In my experience, salty water issue surfaces when your water softener fails to rinse away brine after the regeneration process.

During a regeneration cycle, the last thing a softener does is, rinse away all the brine solution, and minerals and drain them into a drain tank.

It can be more than one thing that can stop rinsing away, it can be pre-filters, valve issues, grime build up the brine tank, build upon the internal parts, and many more of the same kind.

If you are experiencing salty water issues, there are a few things you can do to fix them right away. Such as running cold water through the softener, or initiating a manual regeneration.

This may fix the issue for now, but to get things rolled smoothly for a long time, you should look for a permanent solution.

Let’s learn first, how salty water can seep through the water line during the regeneration cycle and make your water salty.

7 Reasons Why Your Water Softener Tastes Salty

How the salt can be left behind after regeneration?

This is the leftover salt that is making our water taste salty. But how the salt can be left behind, or what makes it still remain in the brine tank, and then seep into the water system to make us experience salty water.

Let’s learn how this system works, so that you could understand it better.

During the regeneration cycle, the brine solution forms when water mixes with the salt in the tank.

This brine solution then goes into the resin tank to rejuvenate the resin beads with the salt ions, and to remove the hard water particles or minerals stored.

This is the process where hard particles clinging to the water softener resin are exchanged with sodium ions, and rinse away all the minerals.

After this rejuvenating period, a brine draw cycle initiates which involves drawing the brine solution back from the resin beads and flushing them off in the drain tank.

This rinsing period tanks around 30-minutes, to remove the brine solution out of the brine tank, or leftover brine.

But what happens is, in some models, the system may have some flaws in which it leaves some brine solution behind, this brine solution then gets mixed with soft water, and get into the line during the regeneration process, to make our water salty.

About all water softeners can leave a little brine solution though, but the leftover is hardly noticeable and would not change the water taste too salty.

It is a flaw, which leaves a good amount of brine solution, which then mixes in the water lines during the regeneration process.

The above-mentioned salty water issue can be with particular models, not all softeners. In most of the water softeners, if it is a salty water issue, it would be due to the mentioned reasons.

7 Reasons Why Your Water Softener Tastes Salty

These are a few top reasons, why your water is salty even after filtering through a water softener.

1. The brine tank is full of water

The brine tank is the part of the water softener which makes a brine solution, this brine solution then travels through the resin beads and rejuvenates your resin beads for the next water softening.

If your water softener brine tank is full of water or overflowing it can lead to a salty water taste.

This excessive amount of water would still be absorbing salt and remains there in the tank even after the regeneration process.

If there is an excessive amount of water, go check the reason why it is so. Try to drain the brine solution, and fix if there is a salt bridge making the brine overflow with the water.

2. Water with rich sodium already Mixed:

If you are getting water from a private well, and for unknown reasons, its water is already very salty. That can lead to salty water.

Keep in mind that the extra sodium mixed in the water can’t be removed or extracted even after it passes through the water softener.

A water softener is there for removing minerals, it can’t remove the excess sodium, rather it mixes some, at a level unnoticeable.

3. Blocked Injectors

If your injectors are blocked due to debris or grimes, it can lead to salty water.

The injectors come with a top and bottom holes, these holes can be clogged, and if that happens, your water will start becoming salty gradually.

4. Regeneration timing outset

The regeneration process initiates at the set time, it will start at the time, for instance, 2 am in the morning.

But, if there is a power outage or some of your kids tried to have fun by playing the buttons, the timing will go outset. It would not be 2 am, this can lead to salty water too.

Or if you use the water softener during the regeneration process, like 2 am in the morning, without the bypass valve turned on, you may get water mixed with too much sodium.

A part of the brine solution can mix with the hard water to the need of the hour. If that’s so, you should open the faucet, and let all salty water get drained.

5. Low water pressure

Sometimes, if the water pressure goes lower than 45-60 PSI, this too can lead to salty water.

Our water softeners work at the mentioned water pressure, if your municipal or well water pressure drops, your drinking water would taste salty, because there may be more sodium ions in the brine water than you expected.

If the salty water is because of low water pressure, it would easily be fixed once the water pressure gets right. For the salty water it has already produced, you can drain it.

6. Drain line flow button

If the drain line flow button is clogged, it would not drain the brine solution.

Keep in mind, if this button gets clogged, you can’t fix it, then only you can do is to remove that button. If you try to open the clogged button, you will sooner or later end up replacing it.

7. Kinked or clogged drain line

The flow of the drain line is important, if the water softener is not draining properly, that means, the remains of the brine solution would be in the resin bead which can lead to making your water taste salty.

Make sure that the drain line is not kinky, clogged or it is too long. If there is any obstruction in the drain line, the water would not be draining out, rather mixing with the soft water.

The drain line size sometimes makes it hard for draining. The drain line should not drain 8 feet vertically, and 20-feet horizontally, from the end of the rein tank, from the point it connects.

How much salt in the drinking water is good?

Salt in water is actually a sign of healthy recommended consumable water. As per WHO, the drinking water should contain less than 200 milligrams per liter of sodium.

So, test your water and test the sodium intake in that water, if it is less than or barely more than 200-milligram liters of sodium, it is not that big issue.

Anyway, humans begin to taste water salty when it is more than 30 mg/L, at this level too, the water is still consumable.

More than 40 ml/liter is not recommended good for human consumption, the ocean water has around 30,000 mg/L of sodium in it, that’s why we can’t consume that.

What to do if the salty taste does not go away?

Your water softener can’t always produce salty water. The highest point of its producing salty water is after regeneration, or if there is too much salt already mixed in the tap water.

If you taste the water salty, maybe the issue is with you. You should go have a check-up, especially when the other persons in the home do not taste the water salty.

How Much Sodium Does a Water Softener Add to Drinking Water?

The addition of a water softener adding sodium to the water is not that much. The regeneration process adds a small amount of salt to the water, around 100 mg of sodium per quart. This addition is as much as an 8-ounces glass of milk or a slice of white bread.

This much addition is not harmful to you unless you are suffering some serious issues. Or if you trying to reduce sodium consumption, as part of a low-sodium diet.

How To Remove Salty Water Taste?

If you find that your water softener is functioning properly, but the water you are getting is saltier, that means, you need to do something to remove that taste.

For that you can use reverse osmosis water filters, these filters are known for their sodium removing capabilities from water.

It fits under your kitchen sink and easily removes most of the salt mixed in the water and other many contaminations.

If it is an old water filter you are using, you can replace it with a reverse osmosis filter, if soft drinking water is what you need.


Salty water taste can be due to many reasons. But mostly it is because when either part of your brine tank is malfunctioned or broke, and when the rinsed off brine solution is not getting drained out.

Or sometimes, it can be because of low water pressure, either of the reason it is, fixing it would not be a big issue unless you follow through all guidelines and still it is tasting salty.

Water softeners to add a tiny portion of salt which is totally safe even for those who suffer big health issues unless you are on a low sodium diet, recommended by your health experts.

Emily Davis

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