Kenmore Water Softener How to and Troubleshooting Guide

kenmore water softener how to and troubleshooting guide

Kenmore water softener is from a famous home appliances brand Sears. The brand is from the United States and aims to provide safe water to the community. The company’s water softener reduces the amount of salt in drinking water. However, even the best Kenmore water softener can malfunction.

Therefore, there is a need to learn how to fix various water softener issues. Sometimes the water softener repair bill could cost you a lot. Consequently, you should understand the essential tips to diagnose and troubleshoot a problem.

Keep reading through to learn more troubleshooting tips for your water softener.

Why is My Kenmore Water Softener Full of Water?

Your tank being full of water is a common issue with Kenmore water softener. Your salt tank may have problems, and the best solution is to dismantle it. While disassembling it, you should be careful, but it’s best to call a professional technician if you fear breaking the parts. Some of the areas you should check to include;

  • Water softener float may be set too high-  check the float and change its settings. The float controls the water levels in the brine tank. So, if it’s set too high, extra water may accumulate, and the unit may fail to release it all at once.
  • Remove the water level indicator- dismantle it to check if the valve requires cleaning due to clogging.
  • Check water level valve- clean if it has debris within.
  • A broken valve that controls water entry at home- fails to regulate water entering the unit.
  • Your water softener unit is degrading- if you have used your unit for more than eight years, it’s time to replace it. Failure to replace may result in the softener experiencing some issues. But if the problem is in non-essential parts like O-ring, try to repair them.

How Can You Tell Your Tank is Full of Water?

Check for the following signs;

  • your softener is draining salty water
  • there is brine in water lines
  • faucets clogged or water flow weakens
  • a clogged toilet

To prevent the water softener from becoming full or overflowing, follow these tips;

  • let the salt deplete fully before adding more
  • always examine the valves at the  entry and exit of water softener issues for issues
  • use a mirror and flashlight to help look keenly at the valves

Why is My Kenmore Water Softener not Working?

If your water softener isn’t working, it means it’s not regenerating. The following could be the reasons why the softener isn’t working;

  • a broken timer
  • there are leaks in the tubing from the salt tank
  • incorrect time settings; you may have accidentally adjusted the time and date.
  • There is a salt bridge or mushing
  • Too much or less water levels in the salt tank
  • Clogged brine injector or venturi valve

How Long Should a Kenmore Water Softener Last

Kenmore water softener has a life expectancy of 10 years. However, if it’s well maintained, it can last up to 20 years. But, again, your water lifespan will depend on how frequently you use it and your water quality. If you use your unit more regularly, it will degrade quickly and have so many issues.

Kenmore Water Softener Not Regenerating

If your unit isn’t regenerating, try the following troubleshooting tips;

  • There is a broken timer- set the regeneration cycle to daily. Check if you can hear or see the system regenerating the next day. If it fails, you need to replace the timer.
  • Your timer is misconfigured- this is another issue you may be having a clock not configured correctly. Check the operational manual and change the settings.
  • Clogged injector- check the brine injector that sucks brine into the resin tank. If clogged, remove any debris inside or salt deposits.
  • Restricted drain – clear the blockage in the drain to enhance the smooth flow of brine.
  • Less water in the brine tank
  • Salt bridging means the salt level isn’t reducing; thus, no salt is being used. The salt bridge forms when a rigid salt crust settles at the bottom. The crusts prevent salt from dissolving in the water to form brine, and resin fails to regenerate. So instead, try to crush the bridge and other large lumps with a blunt wooden tool and start a manual regen cycle.
  • Salt mushing occurs when salt dissolves and recrystallizes to form a thick sludge layer at the tank’s bottom. The mush can cause the water level to rise with each cycle and reduce the salinity of brine.  To correct the issue, use a wooden tool to break the mush and scoop it out. Then, again, you can dissolve the much in hot water and clean the tank.
  • Dirty or worn-out resin-  is an essential part of the water softener, and if it fails, there will be no regen cycle. In addition, the resin may get dirty through the build-up of impurities which may clog or foul the bed.
  • Always clean and sanitize your unit.
  • Shorten the regen cycle duration
  • Lower slat dosage as necessary
  • If the resin has failed, replace it  
  • Motor failure – in case a motor fails, the best remedy is to replace it. Though this is a rare incident, you should contact your repair shop for a replacement.

Kenmore Water Softener not Using Salt

The leading causes of softener not using salt include;

  • Salt bridge in the water tank – when salt particles cake up in the brine tank, they prevent the brine water from using up the salt. Break the salt bridge and remove the lumps.  
  • The bad timer fails to run the regeneration cycle.
  • Valve motor failure – will prevent the brine-making process and salt usage. Therefore, it’s best to replace the valve.
  • Faulty rotor valve – will prevent water from flowing into the salt tank. Replace it if damaged.
  • Clogged venturi-  won’t allow water to flow to the brine tank. Check if it’s clogged and clean it.

Kenmore Water Softener no Water Flow

To get your soft water flowing again, carry out the following fixes;

Clean the salt tank

Ensure that salt hasn’t formed a crust at the bottom of the tank. The dome occurs when you keep adding too much salt or adding frequently. So first, clear any salt deposits and any other sediments. Later clean the tank thoroughly using mild soap and rinse it well.

Clean the foul resin bed

If your water has iron impurities, it will foul the resin bed.  Therefore, you need to refresh the beads and then run a manual regeneration to get rid of wastewater.

Clean the resin tank injector

The injector may clog due to the accumulation of dirt and sediments. For you to clean it, engage the softener’s bypass valve to turn off the water. Later run the unit through a manual regeneration to relieve water pressure. Finally, remove the caps on softener heads and thoroughly clean the injector and injector screen head.

Kenmore Water Softener Buttons not Working

Here are steps to try if your water softener buttons are not working;

  • Inspect the connectors plus to the control board – the problem may be the control head face or cover not well seated or connector. Try to remove and re-connect each plug connector.
  • Check the position and mount of the control board- if not well-positioned, the indicators on the control head face may fail to push the buttons. Therefore, ensure the control board is mounted, well-positioned, and secured.
  • Press the buttons directly
  • Switch off the power
  • Remove any plastic cover over the buttons
  • If there is any dirt, debris, clean it.
  • Switch on the power and try repressing the buttons. If the buttons work, it means the control board is the one having issues.

How to Reset Kenmore Water Softener

  • Press and keep holding the Regen button for three seconds or until it beeps.

All Kenmore Water Softener Error Codes, Meaning, and Fixes

Error codes indicate something is wrong with your water softener. The following are the error codes that occur in Kenmore water softener;

  • Error code1 means there is a valve motor failure. Try the following troubleshooting steps;
  • Disconnect your softer from power, then plug it again.
  • The softer should solve the error through a test mode that takes around 8 minutes.
  • If the error persists after the test, remove the caps, and clean the valves, screens, and drains.
  • Unplug the unit and connect it back; the error should disappear if the cleaning step worked.
  • If the error is still present, check the inside switch if it’s working. You can consider testing it with a multimeter. If the switch is faulty, replace it.
  • If none of the steps fails, contact a professional to resolve the issue
  • Error code 3 – shows there is an issue with the switch or switch wiring. The problem results due to a faulty faceplate. Check if there is flow in the switch and wiring. If the wiring is okay, replace the faceplate.

How to Tell If My Water Softener is Clogged

You will notice the following signs for a clogged water softener;

  • A high volume of water in the brine tank meaning the injector has a blockage.
  • A change in the softness of the water; becomes salty.
  • Presence of chalk deposits on the fixtures and dishware
  • Laundry issues and your clothes get wrinkles
  • Water fails to foam while washing
  • Low water pressure or flow

Kenmore Water Softener Resins Beads in Water

 A  cracked upper distributor can lead to this issue. A broken or failed seal in the upper distributor will allow resin beads to get into the water supply. So, try the following tips to resolve the issue;

  • Inspect the water distributor components and, if damaged, replace the screen.
  • Replace the screen seal if damaged.
  • Replace the upper distributor if it has cracks.
  • After repairing the components, add the resin beads to the filter.

Kenmore Water Softener not Automatically Regenerating

Your softener may fail to regenerate automatically if the resin tank can draw brine from the salt tank. Again, if the valve in the salt fails to move, it will affect the automatic process. In addition, if the water pressure in your house is too low, it could be another cause of the issue. Also, any blockages in the whole unit may still affect the automatic regen cycle.

Check this too: Pelican Water Filter How-to & Troubleshooting Guide

How to Manually Regenerate a Kenmore Water Softener

To do a manual regeneration, remove the cover and locate the regeneration knob. Then, using a flat-blade screw drive, press the knob and rotate it counterclockwise.  The unit starts to regenerate.

Water Softener Maintenance Tips

  • Use pure salt that is for the water softeners. Avoid using table salt because it has so many impurities.
  • Avoid adding extra salt until your softener has used up all the salt.
  • Avoid adding too much water; the salt level should be 2/3rd  of the tank.
  • Always clean your brine regularly.
  • Replace any damaged parts, and before replacing the softener, have it checked out first.