We're Always Open Call Us Today!

How to Remove a Water Softener Salt Bridge

The water in your home doesn’t feel like it used to. You think your tank is full of water, but something still seems off. After several weeks, the salt in your tank has not moved. The impact is being felt throughout your home. The water is harder, and your appliances aren’t working as well. What could be the problem?

A salt bridge.

Like the majority of our larger appliances, our water softeners will eventually require some maintenance and care. Over time, salt can build up and create a “salt bridge” in the softener, which can prevent the softener from working properly. Your water softener is an important part of your home, so it’s important to keep it in good working order. Typically, it involves some basic cleaning and maintenance, such as removing a salt build-up.

What Is a Salt Bridge?

While you may not think salt build-up would be a problem, it can actually prevent your water softener from working properly. A salt bridge forms when the water in the brine tank becomes saturated with salt, and the salt begins to crystallize. This can happen if the water level in the tank gets too low, or if the tank isn’t cleaned often enough.

How Will I Know That I Have a Salt Bridge?

If you notice that your water softener isn’t working as well as it used to, or if you see a white, crusty build-up on the inside of the brine tank, it’s likely that you have a salt bridge.

-If it looks like there your brine tank has enough salt, but your water softener isn’t working properly, this could be a sign the softener is not producing enough soft water.

-Your softener will not be able to remove as much hardness from the water if the regeneration process is not working properly. As a result, the resin bed will not work properly.

-If you can feel the surface crust when you touch it, this is a sure sign of a salt bridge. A salt bridge is a hardened block of salt rather than just salt crystals.

Why Do Salt Bridges Form?

Even with regular maintenance, salt bridges can still occur. The most common reasons for their formation are:

  • The water in the brine tank gets too low, and the salt begins to crystallize.
  • The brine tank isn’t cleaned often enough, and the salt begins to build up.
  • The type of salt being used is too fine, and it doesn’t dissolve properly.
  • Humidity in the air causes the salt to clump together and form a bridge.

How Do I Remove a Salt Bridge?

If you suspect that you have a salt bridge, don’t worry!  Fortunately, removing a salt bridge is a relatively easy task.  Remove it with these simple steps:

Step #1: Turn Off the Water, and Break the Crust

When attempting to remove the water softener salt bridge, the first step is to turn off the water to the unit. You can turn off the water softener using the bypass valve or incoming faucet. Once the water is off, use an object with a long handle, like a broom, to break up the crust.

How To Properly Break Up Salt Crust

If you are using a broom handle to break up your salt bridge, use a stirring motion to crumble the salt. Do not use a thrusting or jabbing motion, as this can lead to damage to the brine tank. If the broom’s handle is too short, you may be able to use a mop handle or other long-handled tool.

Avoid using anything made of metal, as this can also lead to damage to the brine tank. If your salt bridge is not breaking up easily, you may need to use warm water to soften it. Use a circular motion to pour the warm water over the salt bridge.

Step 2: Get Rid of the Loose Pellets

With the water off and the crust broken, the next step is to remove the loose pellets from the bottom of the brine tank. Use a small scoop or shovel to do this. While you can lightly hammer the salt crust’s edges, avoid breaking the brine tank. Accidentally hammering the tank too hard can cause it to crack, which will require a replacement.

Step 3: Remove The Water

After hammering the edges and removing the pellets, remove any leftover salt chunks and water. You can use a plastic container or bucket to scoop out the water. Drain the water with a wet/dry vacuum. After draining the water in the bottom of the water softener, turn your water back on. The softener’s instructions will tell you how to regenerate them.

Did The Type of Salt I Used Cause the Salt Bridge?

The type of salt you use can play a role in whether or not a salt bridge will form. If you notice that you are having difficulty preventing salt bridges, you may want to switch to a different type of salt.

How Often Should I Clean My Water Softener?

You should clean your water softener at least once a month. This will help to prevent salt build-up and keep your unit working properly. While cleaning your water softener brine tank, inspect ct the tank for any signs of damage, such as cracks or chips. Also inspect the tank for a buildup of salt, dirt, or other debris.

What Happens if I Don’t Remove a Water Softener Salt Bridge?

If you don’t remove a water softener salt bridge, it will continue to grow. As it grows, it will become harder and harder to remove. In some cases, the salt bridge can become so big that it completely fills the brine tank and prevents the water softener from working properly. If this happens, you will need to replace the brine tank.

Salt bridges can be a nuisance, but with proper care and maintenance, you can prevent them from forming. Be sure to clean your water softener regularly, and use the right type of salt to prevent salt bridges from forming. If you do find yourself with a salt bridge, don’t worry! With a little time and effort, you can remove it and get your water softener back up and running.

Now is the time to get your water softener in top shape. By following these simple tips, you can prevent salt bridges from forming and keep your water softener working properly. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Metro Heating & Cooling. We are always happy to help!

Schedule a HVAC repair anywhere in the Minneapolis or St. Paul area today by calling (651) 294-7798 or by requesting an estimate online.


Contact Us

1220 Cope Avenue East, Maplewood, MN 55109