Can A Water Softener Affect Water Pressure?

Perhaps your home has hard water, which led you to purchase a water softener. While you enjoy the benefits of the added system, you begin to notice issues over time. For instance, you might notice your water pressure slowly tanks several months after installing your water softener.

Key Points:

  • Low water pressure can be a result of having a water softener unit too small for your home or improperly installed.
  • Potential causes of low water pressure unrelated to the water softener include blocked pipes, municipal water issues, and leaks in plumbing.
  • Homeowners may need to seek professional help after pinpointing their issue to resolve it.

Is there a connection between the two? While the possibility is there, it could also be something else in your home. That said, the water softener is a good place to start, so here’s what you should know. 

Does My Water Softener Reduce Water Pressure In My Home?

A water softener can potentially reduce the water pressure in your home. However, this doesn’t usually happen unless the unit is undersized or installed incorrectly. When the system is too small for the water demands in your home, it might not be able to keep up, leading to a noticeable plummet in water pressure. 

On the flip side, if the softener is installed incorrectly, its improper function may lead to issues down the road, including lowered water pressure. If the water pressure drops immediately after installing the unit, there’s a good chance the culprit is incorrect installation or a defective unit. 

If the problem gradually worsens, there’s a chance the particle filter or resin bed is blocked. These filters are designed to trap particles from hard water in your home, preventing them from reaching the fixtures throughout your home. Over time, these particles accumulate, potentially causing issues like low water pressure and poor water flow. 

How Do I Check If My Water Softener Is Causing Reduced Water Pressure In My Home?

Before you start turning your home upside down in an attempt to isolate the problem, check the water softener itself. In some cases, the water softener might be an innocent bystander, but it doesn’t hurt to start there (especially if the problems started after installing the unit). 

The easiest way to check if the water softener is the issue is by switching the bypass valve on the unit to the “on” position. The water moving through your home will bypass the system, allowing you to isolate whether this is the issue or not. Check the pressure on various fixtures throughout your home, such as the showers, kitchen faucet, and bathroom taps.

If the water pressure magically improves, you’ve found your culprit. On the other hand, if the water pressure remains low, the issue is somewhere else. A few potential causes leading to low water pressure that are unassociated with your water softener include:

  • Blocked pipes: When the water pressure in your home gradually worsens, and it isn’t because of your water softener, you should check the plumbing in your home. In some cases, hard water flowing through the plumbing can leave behind minerals that stick to the sides of the pipes. Over time, the minerals accumulate, slowing the flow of water (or cutting it off entirely). The same thing can happen with pipes prone to corrosion. 
  • Municipal water issues: Sometimes, the problem isn’t isolated to your home; instead, the issue lies with the municipal water supply, leading to problems throughout the city. Check with your neighbors to see if they’re having water pressure problems. If so, contact your utility. 
  • Leaks: If you notice a sudden drop in water pressure, it could indicate a plumbing issue. Leaks in the plumbing can cause a sudden drop, as the water isn’t reaching where it needs to. Instead, water leaks out at a random location in the pipe system, preventing the full amount of water from reaching the faucet. If this is the case, you need to address the problem immediately, as water damage can be catastrophic if left unchecked. 

How Do I Fix Low Water Pressure From My Water Softener?

Once you determine the water softener in your home is causing the problem, there are a few things you should check. Many homeowners can isolate the problem themselves but may need a professional’s help to fix it. That said, some problems are easily fixable without professional help, so here are a few things to check:


One of the most common reasons for issues stemming from your water softener is improper sizing. Without enough capacity to accommodate your family’s needs, the system will fall behind, leading to chronic water pressure issues (and potentially other problems). 

This culprit is relatively easy to isolate, as you’ll notice the problem right away after installing the system. You’ll likely notice water pressure issues immediately after installing the new system. However, it is possible to outgrow the system over time as your family grows. 

If this is the root of the problem, you’ll need to upgrade to a larger unit. We recommend enlisting the help of a professional for this part, as they can advise which size is best for your home based on the size of your family, water usage, and degree of water hardness. 


Homes relying on well or spring water commonly experience hard water issues. This water is often full of naturally occurring particles and grit, which can end up in your water supply. This sediment can clog fixtures, valves, and irrigation systems, not to mention the detrimental effect it can have on water heaters and other appliances in your home. 

Over time, this sediment can accumulate, causing issues throughout your home, including water pressure issues. Your softener filter or resin bed may become clogged with this sediment, leading to a drop in pressure. 

Unclog The Valve Injector

Once you discover the clog in the water softening system, you need to isolate and clear each of the pipes to resolve the issue. Start with the valve injector – when debris clogs this part, it affects your water softener’s ability to support the brine cycle suction. 

When this happens, the softener can’t regenerate properly, preventing your water from getting softened. You can determine if the injector is clogged by looking in the brine tank – if it’s full, there’s a good chance the injector is blocked. 

Here’s what you need:

  • Needle nose pliers
  • Safety pin or needle

Start by removing the injector with needle-nose pliers. Inspect the injector, looking for debris and buildup. Try to look through the hole in the injector. If you can’t see through it, use a needle or safety pin to push the debris out of the injector. 

Reinsert the valve injector, then move on to the next potential problem.

Check For Salt Bridges

Next, check for the formation of a salt bridge. This happens when the water softener is clogged with salt, resulting in a hard crust that separates the salt from the water. The crusty layer prevents the salt from dissolving into the water to form the necessary brine. 

Salt bridges may form as a result of seasonal weather changes or high humidity, leading to clumps in the brine tank that eventually lead to a full-fledged salt bridge. They can also occur from using poor quality salt in the system. 

Additionally, look for salt layers on the bottom of the brine tank. Their presence can deteriorate the unit’s performance, so getting rid of them is essential. Salt mushing happens when the salt forms a sludge at the bottom of the tank instead of creating a crusty layer (salt bridge).

Here’s what you need to fix the problem:

  • Broom handle
  • Fresh salt

Fixing these problems is relatively simple and doesn’t require the help of a professional. Simply use a broom handle to break up the salt bridge, then drain the brine tank. Clean the tank thoroughly, then refill the tank with fresh salt to eliminate salt mushing.

Replace Resins And Reset The System

After checking for salt bridges and a clogged valve injector, your next step is to replace the water softener resins. These are responsible for trapping minerals in the water and softening it via ion exchange technology. When these resins degrade, the capacity of your water softener drops. So, you need to replace the resins periodically to prevent these issues. 

If you notice sand-like particles in the system’s resin tank, you need to replace the resins sooner rather than later. Generally, resins have a lifespan of about two decades, but the presence of chlorine shortens this lifespan. 

Enlist The Help Of Professional

While fixing your problematic water softener is easy in some cases, this doesn’t always happen. Sometimes, you might need to enlist the help of a professional. For example, maybe you followed the steps above, but the softener is still causing pressure issues. It could be due to a clog in the brine line, which can be a trickier fix. 

If you can’t isolate the problem or nothing seems to help, contact an expert for assistance! 

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