Why is My Water Softener Making Noise? 8 Reasons & Solutions

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Water softeners are technical systems, so you might be concerned if you hear your softener making a noise that you’ve never heard before.

Our water treatment experts have been testing and using water softeners in a professional and personal capacity for decades, and in this guide, we’ve shared with you the 8 reasons why your water softener might be making noise.

Here’s a quick overview of these 8 reasons:

  1. Regeneration cycle
  2. Loose parts
  3. Valve issues
  4. Cracked fittings or drain/brine lines
  5. Worn gear
  6. Water softener timer
  7. Water pressure issues
  8. Low salt
Why is My Water Softener Making Noise_ 8 Reasons & Solutions

🤔 Are Water Softener Noises Normal?

Some noises from a water softener are completely normal. For instance, rushing water and mechanical whirring usually sound from a water softener during the regeneration process. But if these noises are persistent, or you’re hearing unusual sounds like banging, hissing, or noises you’ve never heard before, your water softener might have a problem.

Water softener Regeneration cycle

🔊 8 Reasons for Water Softener Noises

  1. Regeneration cycle –The occasional sound of running water in your softener is a sign that it’s performing a regeneration cycle. You’ll also hear the motor humming and the gears clicking in the valve. Constant flowing water in your water softener suggests it’s stuck in regeneration mode – often caused by sediment or water hardness minerals in the water lines. Shut off the water system and unclog the blocked pipe.
  2. Loose parts – A rattling or banging noise may be caused by loose parts vibrating in your water softener. Check for loose or damaged components, including the resin tank, the brine tank lid, and the bypass valve, and repair/resecure them if necessary.
  3. Valve issues – A quiet trickling noise issuing from your water softener suggests that a valve isn’t sealing properly, causing excess water to trickle down the drain pipe. Similarly, a squeaking, banging, or squealing noise may be caused by a sticking valve that’s only allowing a small amount of water to flow through. The noise is the sound echoing from the water chamber inside the valve. Lubricate the valve to stop sticking or replace it if it’s worn.
  4. Cracked fittings or drain/brine lines – A hissing noise from a water softener is usually caused by a crack in the brine line, allowing air into the line. Repair or replace the cracked pipe to resolve this issue.
  5. Worn gear – A clicking noise coming from your water softener may be caused by a worn gear or broken gear tooth. Water softeners are mechanical units that rely on motors, gears, valves, and other moving components to function effectively. If the gear teeth break or become worn, they won’t make secure contact with other working parts, causing them to slip. Resolve this issue by lubricating the gear and piston or replacing the worn gears.
  6. Water softener timer – If you have a timer-based electric water softener, you’ll hear the ticking or clicking of the timer motor slowly turning if you get close to the unit. This is a normal noise and doesn’t usually suggest that there’s a problem.
  7. Water pressure issues – If the water pressure in your plumbing system is low or the softener’s sediment filter is clogged, you may hear the clunking or banging of parts banging against each other, or whining caused by air being drawn into the tanks. Very high water pressure can cause vibrations and put stress on the softener’s components. Install a pressure booster pump to solve low pressure, or a pressure-reducing valve for high pressure.
  8. Low salt – A beeping or alarm sound from your water softener is most likely the system’s low-salt alert for the brine tank. This alarm may sound periodically to remind you to check the salt levels in the salt tank. Most softeners have an “enter” or “off” button that turns off the salt alarm when pressed.
Low salt in softener brine tank

📑 Final Word

We hope this guide helped you to determine whether or not your noisy water softener is a cause for concern, and troubleshoot the cause of the noise.

To reiterate, the most common loud noise in a water softener is the regeneration process, as water flows through the resin bed and down the drain line. The most common water softener regeneration cycle frequency is about once a week, and most water softeners regenerate at night. If your water softener is keeping you awake, schedule the regeneration process to take place in the day.

But more unusual noises, like banging, hissing, and squealing, indicate an issue with – the water lines, valves, and gears, which could be affecting the system’s ability to function properly.

Regular maintenance and servicing should help you avoid most of the unwanted loud noises in your water softener. Consult your user manual or contact the manufacturer if you can’t troubleshoot the issue or you need information specific to your softener model.

  • Brian Campbell
    President & CEO, CWS, CWR

    Brian Campbell, a WQA Certified Water Specialist (CWS) and Certified Water Treatment Representative (CWR) with 5+ years of experience, helps homeowners navigate the world of water treatment. After honing his skills at Hach Company, he founded his business to empower homeowners with the knowledge and tools to achieve safe, healthy water. Brian's tested countless devices, from simple pitchers to complex systems, helping his readers find the perfect fit for their unique needs.

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