My daughters water softener filled up with water and now is losing water and salt on the bottom of the thing.
Probably need to clean the vortex / venturi. If you have iron in your water, you need to clean this about every 6-12 months, depending on how many ppm your water has).
It's an simple & easy procedure. First remove the cover of the softener (usually held on by 2 clips in front, 2 in back).
Once the cover is off, on the left side of the valve you will see a conical-shaped plastic part. (Usually gray, but not always). You will need to unscrew this (it's ok if water is still on, it's not under any pressure unless it's recharging) and clean the screen inside.
Most likely the screen will be caked with iron oxide (rust). I use a rust dissolver (such as Iron Out or any product designed to dissolve rust, but this is strong stuff, wear gloves or wash you hands immediately afterwards) and let the screen soak in that for 1/2 hour. If needed, you can speed the process along by using an old toothbrush and clean the screen, then soak a little longer, brush again, etc.
Once clean, replace the screen (mind the O-ring) and cover (hand tight is sufficient). Start a manual regeneration and clean the resin bed.
-If you decide to remove the rest of the parts in the vortex/venturi, be very careful not to lose anything. A few of these parts are very small. There should be a diagram of how the parts go together in your owners manual and on the machine itself. Usually these will not need cleaning, but doesn't hurt to go ahead and make certain. As to the two rubber parts with holes in them, the one with the larger hole goes on the bottom, and on both, the rounded side goes up. Watch carefully when you disassemble and remember so you can reassemble in the correct order with done.
As you have water in the brine tank (salt tank) keep an eye on this to prevent a salt bridge from forming. This is more prevalent with rock salt than pellets, but can form with any salt.
(I would strongly recommend you never use "rock salt" in any softener. It's full of dirt and you will absolutely need to clean out the brine tank at least annually or the dirt will end up being drawn into the softener. I use a good quality of salt pellets with an "red out" to maintain the resin against iron. These are usually good up to 2 ppm iron, anything over this and you should use a 1/2 box of Iron Out or similar, every 6 months).
If you suspect a salt bridge has formed, try pouring hot water onto the salt at one spot. This will dissolve the salt in that spot and form a "hole" in the salt. (Hot water dissolves salt faster than cold).
Once you break through, use a broom handle to break the salt surrounding the hole and it will collapse into the bottom of the brine tank. Suspect a salt bridge is the machine runs properly, but no soft water.
She probably does NOT need to replace this unit. What you perceived as a leak may only be water backing up in the brine tank and leaking out of the overflow.
Morton Salt Inc...
on May 17, 2016