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: