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How Much Water Should Be In My Water Softener Brine Tank December 23, 2022 16:06

How much water should be in the the brine tank of your water softener? It's a simple question that has a bit of a complicated answer. That's likely why the internet is riddled with all kinds of bad information on this topic. Well, we're here to set the record straight as we explain what the question really means and the multitude of considerations that go into the answer. Here's what we'll cover:

  1. The anatomy of a brine tank
  2. Why the water level relative to the salt level doesn't really matter
  3. What it means if the water level in the brine tank is always maxed out
  4. How to know if your brine tank is working properly

The Anatomy of a Water Softener Brine Tank

There are two main types of water softener system designs. There are systems where the brine tank and the softener tank are two distinct elements and are connected to each other usually with a 3/8" diameter tube:

ProSoftᵀᴹ 2AQX Water water softener

Then, there are cabinet style systems where the softening tank and brine tank are together in the single housing. In these systems, there is still a softening tank and brine tank but they are both tightly integrated into a single enclosure:

cabinet water softener

Whether the softener is a cabinet model or has the two tanks separated, the brine tank components will be the same. The brine tank will have the following components:

  • The Hopper - holds the salt
  • The Brine Well - a tube inside the hopper that houses the safety float
  • The Safety Float - a device that prevents the brine tank from being overfilled with water

There are some other brine tank components that are quite common, but you won't necessarily see them on every brine tank:

  • Brine Grid (aka Salt Grid) - a perforated false bottom that sits in the brine tank
  • Gravity Overflow - a drain line fitting the exits out the side of the brine tank and can be connected to a drain tube routed to a floor drain

Here are some photos of the components of a typical brine tank:






Supply Chain / Covid-19 Updates March 23, 2020 16:26

This page reflects the most up-to-date info about Aquatell's Supply Chain, Covid Policies, and related lead times.

June 22, 2022
Pretty much everything is back in stock and shipping on our typical schedule. We're seeing occasional stock-outs of some popular filter cartridges but our replenishment time is good and we often have alternates in stock. One product line that continues to be problematic is Tomlinson Faucets which we have not been able to acquire from the manufacturer for over a year.

March 26
Thank you Aquatell Customers for your orders! Our business continues to thrive thanks to you! We continue to stock shelves, ship orders, and answer all of your inquiries. A note on shipping times: we had a couple of UPS shipments take an extra day to deliver earlier this week. If your UPS delivery takes a little longer than usual please don't panic. UPS has seen a huge increase in eCommerce related traffic and is doing everything they can to quickly deliver all packages while still maintaining their own Covid-19 safety protocols (distancing/disinfection). We'll make sure your order gets to you - it just might take a day or two longer than usual.

March 25
Business continues as usual. We continue to receive inventory from our suppliers, and LOTS of orders - it's been very busy! A special thank you to our loyal customers for their continued support.

March 24

Aquatell and the Water Treatment Industry have been officially recognized as an essential service in Ontario, and the rest of Canada. Aquatell will continue to ship orders and answer all inquiries as usual. We'd love to get your business! Please reach out to us with your water treatment inquiries. We've got the product and expertise you need. We're ready by email, chat, or phone.

March 23

It's business as usual at Aquatell. We continue to receive and ship orders, and we're answering every email, phone call, and chat session. Our supply chain continues to effectively keep our shelves replenished and our orders continue to ship with UPS and Purolator. We're ready to help you! 

How To Troubleshoot & Fix a Fleck 5600SXT Softener July 20, 2017 11:34

If the brine tank on your Fleck 5600SXT-based softener isn't being drained during the regeneration of your softener, two things will happen:

  1. Your softener won't regenerate properly and your water will be hard
  2. Your brine tank will fill with water over time, until the safety float is engaged

When customers contact us that their softener isn't performing, nine out of ten times it's because the softener isn't able to draw the brine solution out of the brine tank during regeneration. This can be caused by a number of different issues and this article will help you figure out how to identify and correct the problem.

Here's the list of possibilities, and we'll expand on each one below:

  • the softener drain line is kinked, blocked, or frozen
  • the safety float is malfunctioning
  • the injector is clogged

Issues With The Drain Line

When the softener regenerates it will need to send water to drain. During the brine draw (BD) stage of the regeneration of the Fleck 5600SXT this drain line flow is passed over the injector (an inside component in the control valve) to create suction to draw the brine solution out of the brine tank. If the drain line is block, kinked, or frozen, and the water can't be sent to drain this suction can't be created and the brine solution will never be drawn out of the brine tank. This situation can also be created if the softener drain line is routed too many vertical feet above the softener. This can create a situation where the line water pressure isn't sufficient to push the water up high enough. However this situation would create an issue from Day 1. So if your softener was working fine, but not it's not, it likely isn't because of the vertical height of the drain line.

Softener Safety Float Malfunctioning

The safety float is a mechanical device that usually sits in a 4" diameter white tube that's inside the brine tank. This tube will often have a lid on it. The safety float has two purposes:

  1. In the even that too much water is added to the brine tank, the safety float will shut off the water flow to the brine tank avoiding a flood
  2. The safety float also acts as the pickup tube for the brine solution. At the bottom of the safety float there is an air check that prevents air from being sucked up when the brine has been fully withdrawn from the tank

Here's how to check and see if the safety float is causing the issue:

Force a regeneration by pressing and holding the 'next cycle' button:

The screen should show 'BW' and a countdown timer. At this point detach the brine line from the top of the safety float. This will be a 3/8" black or clear line that connects to the top of the safety float. Make sure you don't lose any of the small pieces of the connector as you disconnect the line.

Once the line is disconnected, press the 'next cycle' button once (don't hold it down) and the the control valve will move to the next stage of the regeneration - the Brine Draw (BD). Once the BD cycle starts counting down, immerse the end of the brine line in a clear glass of water. After 1 minute the level in the glass should be noticeably lower. You can also put your finger over the open end of the brine line to see if it's generating suction.

If the water level in the glass goes down, then the issue with the water softener is being caused by the safety float. To fix it, remove the safety float and do the following:

  • run the entire thing under hot water for a few minutes
  • while doing this, move the float up and down to make sure the arm at the top of the float assembly can move freely
  • at the bottom of the safety float you'll find the air check - it's usually a grey or beige coloured cage that will have a ball inside it. Make sure this ball can move freely

Once that's done, put the safety float back in, re-attach the brine line (make sure this is done well, but not overtightened or the plastic fitting can crack). Since the Brine Draw (BD) cycle usually runs for 60 minutes, the softener will likely still be in this mode when you re-attach the safety float.  As long as there is 20 minutes or more remaining, the softener should now be able to remove all of the water from the brine tank.

Clogged Softener Injector

The injector is an internal component of the control valve. When water is passed over the injector it creates a vacuum that is used to suck the water out of the brine tank. If your softener brine line isn't able to create suction, it's almost always caused by a clogged injector. Here's how to clean it out:

Once the injector is clean, force another regeneration of the softener, and during the brine draw (BD) cycle you can do the water-in-a-glass test again to confirm that suction is being created.