The Consequences of Failing to Fill the Salt in Your Water Softener

Water Softener System in Indianapolis, IN

It’s easy to forget to fill the salt in your water softener, but you’ll notice significant consequences if the salt gets too low. There are reasons why you have a water softener in the first place. Everything from your hair and skin to your pipes, appliances, and the water softener is affected when you don’t fill the salt tank. So if you’re looking for ways to ensure that the quality of the water in your home is the best that it can be, filling the water softener with the right type of salt and in the right amounts is vital. These are some of the most common things that happen when you fail to put salt in your water softener.

What Does a Water Softener Do?

If your home has a water softener, it’s usually because the area that you live in gets hard water from the city. Hard water means that there are certain minerals in the water that can do damage to your pipes and appliances, and they can make your skin dry because the soap won’t wash away from your body because of these minerals. A water softener can remove these minerals, including calcium, lime, and magnesium so that your pipes and appliances last longer and your skin and hair stay healthy.

How Does a Water Softener Work?

Water softeners need salt to work properly. Salt is used to create an ion exchange that removes the minerals from the water before it goes through your pipes where it will eventually come into contact with your appliances, skin, and dishes. Inside of the water softener are resin beads that remove the calcium, magnesium, and other minerals that can cause damage to clothing and almost anything else that the water comes into contact with. But the beads need to be cleaned out once every couple of days. The rock salt that we put inside of the water softener cleans these beads out so that they can continue to remove minerals from the water. The salt brine that the water softener makes washes the calcium and magnesium from the resin beads once they’re saturated.

You Could Get Water Overflow

One of the potential consequences of not filling your water softener tank with salt is that the water will overflow with some models. While some water softeners are equipped with multiple shut-off switches, other models only have one shut-off valve, which is triggered by the presence of salt. Without the salt present, the tank will continue to fill, and it will eventually overfill, causing a mess on the floor.

Consequences to Your Pipes

When steel pipes are continually exposed to hard water, limescale begins to form. This can cause a variety of problems, including clogged drains and poor water quality. When you get a lot of limescale on the inside of your pipes, you’ll notice that the water is running more slowly. Eventually, you’ll have to descale or replace your pipes. While store-bought products can help remove some of the limescale, they’re also very toxic and can stay in your pipes for a couple of weeks after using them. Using vinegar is a better option because it’s at least non-toxic, but it will still only get rid of some of the limescale, and you’ll probably be able to taste the vinegar for weeks. If you call a plumber to remove the limescale, there are a couple of options.

A plumber might use hydro-jetting to remove the limescale, assuming that your pipes are in good enough condition. Otherwise, if the pipes are in poor condition, sections of the pipes might need replacement. Usually, limescale doesn’t build up on copper pipes, but if it does, it might not be treatable with the same methods that you use on steel pipes.

What Happens to the Appliances?

When your appliances come into contact with hard water, there are a number of potential problems that could occur. One of the most general but also most common types of problems is a shorter lifespan for your appliances. The calcium and magnesium builds up on parts, making it harder for them to move. Eventually, these parts will need replacement, or you might have to replace the entire appliance.

Some of the most common appliances to be affected by hard water include dishwashers, washing machines, and water heaters. Additionally, it doesn’t matter what kind of water heater you have because it all ends the same when you have a hard water problem. Plus, when you run hard water through your appliances, it also reduces their efficiency, which can cost you a lot of money in energy bills every month.

You Could Get Stains on Your Clothes

Hard water on your clothes will show up as yellow stains, and it can take a lot of work to remove them. Minerals can also leave white stains on darker clothing, sheets, and towels. Hard water can even make towels and clothing feel stiff and look dull and dingy.

What Happens to Your Dishware?

One of the first places that you’ll notice if your water softener isn’t working properly is your glassware and dishware. You’ll start seeing white spots on your glasses and dishes, which are deposits of calcium and magnesium. The glasses might also have a general cloudy appearance as the minerals dry on the glassware. While these minerals don’t necessarily damage the glass or dishes, they can be a pain to wash off, especially since you just washed the dishes in the dishwasher.

Quality of Food and Drinks

You might not appreciate the white flecks of minerals that you can find floating in your coffee, tea, and other drinks. Additionally, you could notice a difference in the taste of your food when you have hard water. You might even notice a difference in the texture of the food.

How Your Skin and Hair Are Affected

When soap comes into contact with hard water, the soap doesn’t lather as well as it should. Additionally, the soap doesn’t wash off your skin and hair as well as it would with soft water, so your skin and hair tend to dry out from the soap. When soap stays on the hair, it’s more prone to breakage. And if the problem goes on for long enough, you might even start to lose hair because of it. You could also notice that your scalp is dry and itches, your hair is more prone to tangles, your hair is more frizzy, and it’s more prone to dullness.

Additionally, there are a number of symptoms that you could notice on your skin. For instance, you might have more problems with acne because your skin isn’t getting clean. Skin conditions like eczema and dermatitis can be exacerbated by hard water. And since the soap isn’t fully rinsed from your skin, you might also begin to get itchy skin.

If you’re already experiencing problems with your water softener, pipes, or one of your appliances, you need a plumbing company that you can count on to do a variety of services. When you contact Cooper’s Water, you’ll have access to a variety of services, including reverse osmosis, filtration, plumbing, and water softener services, so give us a call today about a water softener installation or repair.


Cooper’s Water has been providing water softener services in the local area for more than 40 years. As the recipient of the Angi 2020 Super Service Award and a Best of HomeAdvisor 2020 Winner, we have built a reputation for excellent customer service. All our water softeners come with a seven-year quality guarantee and we provide free estimates as standard. If you are looking for a high-quality, water softener for your home, please contact Cooper’s Water today.

Are you looking for the best water softener company in Indianapolis? Give our experienced team at Cooper’s Water a call today!

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