Kinetico Water Filter Troubleshooting

kinetico water filtration system

Kinetico water softeners feature non-electric operation. They are powered by water flow (kinetic energy) instead of electricity unlike other water softeners. Before contacting your dealer or customer service for issues with your Kinetico unit, it helps to try some basic troubleshooting procedures to see if the problem resolves. Doing so can save you both time and money. The following is a troubleshooting guide for common Kinetico water softeners issues that you can use to learn how to fix problems with your unit.

How to Troubleshoot a Kinetico Water Softener

If you notice household soap is no longer lathering well, or you have a scummy buildup on your skin after showering, these are some of the signs that you should troubleshoot your softener. Below are the troubleshooting steps to follow:

  1. Check the by-pass valve on your water softener to see if water is by-passing the system. On newer models, the Kinetico by-pass valve would be turned to yellow if this is the case. Move the valve to green to return the softener to an operating position.
  2. Look for salt in the brine tank. If you see crust, wash it way with mild soap and water. Rinse the area with plain water to remove any residual soap.
  3. Check to see if there is formation of a salt bridge over the water in the tank. This affects the saturation levels. Break up the salt by carefully poking with a stick or broom handle to allow it to saturate properly.
  4. Check your filters for clogs. Replace a clogged filter with a new cartridge.
  5. Check for salt-crusted plugs at the connection areas between the mineral tanks and resin. Clean the area around tanks using soap and water to remove crust.
  6. Inspect the drain lines for kinks or pinches. Smooth out the lines and rearrange as necessary to remove areas of restriction.
  7. In case of a tank overfill or a continually running system, call Kinetico at (800) 342-5684 and put your system on by-pass.

Check this too: Culligan Water Filter How to & Troubleshooting Guide

How Long Do Kinetico Filters Last?

A Kinetico system can last as many as 20 years. The Kinetico pre-filter is made of washable material so you don’t have to buy a new one every few months.  These filters need to be maintained annually. Depending on application, you may need to wash them quarterly, or every six months. A typical sign that the filter is clogged and needs to be washed is when the water pressure decreases throughout your home.

How Long Does It Take for Kinetico to Regenerate?

Kinetico water softeners regenerates based on real-time water use and guestestimating, and it can regenerate anytime day or night and never stop softening. Automatic regeneration will usually take around 30-60 minutes depending on the size of your softener. It will not advance to the second tank until sufficient water has been run through the unit.

Check this too: Alexapure Water Filter Troubleshooting & How to Guide

How to Change a Kinetico Water Filter

Occasionally changing the filter will help keep your Kinetico water softener performing at is best. To change your filter, follow the instructions below:

  1. Shut off any water supply valves connected to the pre-filter. The configuration may vary depending on the Kenetico model you have.
  2. Place a bucket under the pre-filter to catch draining water.
  3. Push the red button on top of the filter compartment to pressurize the softener.
  4. Twist the filter compartment cover clockwise to unscrew it. Then lift out the filter.
  5. Place the new filter inside the compartment. Twist the compartment cover securely into place.

Kinetico Water Softener Maintenance Tips

  • The SuperSoft is designed to accommodate two 4 kg blocks of salt in the front compartment although you can use a good quality tablet salt if desired.
  • Never use rock or granular salt in your system. It contains impurities that can interfere with performance.
  • If your salt storage tank runs out, you will need to add salt then manually regenerate your water softener. Wait at least 3 hours after adding the salt before you regenerate the unit. If you prefer, you can wait for the system to manually regenerate, although you may have hard water in the meantime. To manually regenerate your system:
  • Using a Philips head screwdriver, push down on the actuator and slowly turn clockwise until the actuator has advance the indicator dot to the “BRINE” position. Never turn the actuator counterclockwise.
  • You should hear at least 5 clicks while turning the actuator before the indicator reaches the “BRINE” position. At this point you will hear water flowing to the drain. This indicates a you have successfully initiated a regeneration.
  • Repeat the above procedure after the water flow stops (approximately 11 minutes) to be sure both resin tanks are regenerated.
  • If the inlet water supply’s safety is compromised for any reason, you should by-pass the system until bacteriological safety has been restored. Then contact your Kinetico dealer to sanitize the system before returning the system to service.
  • If the inlet water supply contains iron, it is recommended you use salt that contains an iron cleaning additive to prevent iron from fouling the resin and keep your system in optimal condition. Alternatively, you can add iron cleaning agents in powder form to the brine tank when you replenish the salt supply.
  • If the regenerant in the brine tanks solidifies carefully poke salt with a stick or broom handle. This is known as salt bridging and can be caused by high humidity, low water and salt consumption, or use of potassium chloride (KCL).
  • To minimize the potential of salt bridging, fill the brine tank to the halfway point with regenerant. You can also use the K-Spray Brine System that virtually eliminates salt bridging.
  • If you have installed your unit outside or in an area that is not heated, take precautionary measures to prevent damage to the unit from freezing.
  • When you need to shut off the water supply to your entire house, put the by-pass valve to the “OFF” position. No water will flow through the house. To restart the water, set the by-pass valve to the “SERVICE” position.
  • You can put the softener into by-pass at any time, if necessary, by putting the by-pass valve into the “BY-PASS” position. You will still get water throughout the house, however all of the water will be untreated. To return the softener to service, set the by-pass valve to the “SERVICE” position.

How to Adjust a Kinetico Water Softener

Since the Kinetico water softener is powered by kinetic energy from moving water rather than electricity, there are no timers or buttons to set. Your water softener runs itself working on demand. However, there will be times when you need to manually regenerate your softener, like after adding more salt to the salt storage tank.

To manually set your Kinetico water softener:

  1. Turn the by-pass lever on your Kinetico water softener to the “OFF” position.
  2. Open a soft water faucet inside your home to help clear the water pressure.
  3. Push the water softener valve screw in firmly using a screwdriver, then turn the screw clockwise slowly (NEVER counterclockwise) until you see the tab reach the black indicator dot in the Brine position. As you turn the screw, you should hear about 5 clicks as you move the tab before the indicator dot reaches the Brine position.
  4. Turn the by-pass lever to the “SERVICE” position, which allows water to flow to the faucets throughout your home. You should be able to hear the water flowing. If you cannot hear, this means you did not turn the indicator dot far enough to the Brine position and you will need repeat the manual process.

Why is My Kinetico Water Softener Overflowing?

The mains water supply could be turned off and water from your property could have back-filled into the water softener’s cabinet. To fix this, restore the water supply to the property when the water softener next regenerates. This will bring the water level back down to normal.

If the mains supply is turned off in the future, bypass the water softener to prevent it filling up. To bypass your water softener, follow the hoses from the water softener back to the plumbing and put the valves in the bypass position. Be sure to put the valves into the service position when you have finished.

Kinetico Water Softener Hard Water Troubleshooting

Water meter disc not turning

The following are the possible causes for this problem and their fixes:

  • Bad meter drive pawl. To fix this, replace meter drive pawl.
  • Meter drive spring is not seated properly. To fix this, reinstall meter drive spring.
  • No back pawl is missing or broken. To fix this, install new no back pawl.
  • Damaged gear in gear stack. To fix this, re-gear Level 1.

Unit will not regenerate automatically

Below are the possible causes for this problem and their fixes:

  • Meter disc not turning. Troubleshoot this problem following the instructions on step 1 above.
  • Control disc will not advance out of service position. To fix this, replace regeneration start pawl.
  • Damaged teeth on control disc. To fix this, replace the control disc.
  • Control valve will not open. If so, check for debris and clean if present.
  • Drain line/backwash flow control restricted. If so, remove restriction/ change backwash flow control if necessary.

No vacuum in brine position

Below are the possible causes for this problem and what you need to do fix them:

  • Check balls or stems are missing or not seated properly.  To fix this, replace or reseat check balls or stems.
  • Check balls or stems missing or will not move freely. Replace or clean check balls or stems.
  • Venturi is plugged. If so, clean flow control, venturi throat and nozzle. Do not use paper clip.
  • Flow control/drain line is plugged. Clean/replace flow control/free obstruction from drain line.
  • Outlet main valve seat seal is damaged. If so, replace main valve seat seal.

Over/under dosing of salt

The following are the possible causes for this problem and their fixes:

  • The brine drum/valve is not level. If so, level the brine drum/ valve.
  • Bridged salt in drum. If so, break up the solidified salt by poking with a stick or broom handle.
  • The brine valve is not set correctly. If so, set the brine valve correctly.
  • Faulty brine valve. Replace the brine valve if faulty.
  • Dirty brine valve. Clean the brine valve if dirty.
  • Venturi nozzle is plugged. If so, clean venture throat and nozzle.
  • Brine screen/fitting is plugged. If so, clean brine screen/fitting.
  • Brine flow control is plugged. To fix this, clean or replace brine flow control.

Open or leaking by-pass

The following are the possible causes and their fixes:

  • The by-pass could have been accidentally left in “open” position. If so, close the by-pass valve.
  • The seal/spool in the by-pass valve is damaged or the ball valve in a three way by-pass configuration is bad. If so, repair/replace bad valve(s). To check for internal leak in by-pass valve, open a soft water tap and run water, with the unit in the service position disconnect the brine line from the brine elbow. If this water is soft and the water at this tap is hard, replace/repair the by-pass valve.

Why is there Salt Water in My Kinetico Water Softener?

Several reasons may be causing this problem:

Overdosing on salt

This can happen due to the;

  • The brine valve is set incorrectly. Make sure you set the brine valve correctly.
  • Brine valve is not seated properly. Replace the brine valve.
  • Rubber band is not removed. Remove rubber band from float cup.
  • There is a leak in brine valve. Repair the leak/replace the brine valve.

Restricted drain flow

This can happen due to the following;

  • The drain line is kinked or clogged. Clear obstructions and ensure drain flows smoothly and clearly.
  • Backwash flow control is restricted. Clean or replace backwash flow control.
  • Long drain tubing run. Shorten the length of tubing or increase size of drain tubing.
  • Drain tubing rises higher than 8 feet. Reduce rise of drain tubing to less than 8 feet.

Low water pressure

This can be cause by;

  • A plugged prefilter. Change the prefilter.
  • Pressure setting is too low. Increase feed pressure.
  • Fouled or damaged resin bed. Replace resin.

Kinetico Wate Softner Taste, Color and Odor Issues

Chlorine/ Chloramine taste and/or odor in water

This is most like from chlorinated/chloraminated municipal supply. To fix this problem, install a dechlorinator/CRS.

 Yellow tint in water

This may be caused by tannins present in raw water. Install a tannin softener if tannins are present.

Rotten egg taste/ odor in water

This could indicate presence of Hydrogen Sulfide in water.  Install Sulfur Guard system after softener.

Also, (hot water only) Anode rod I water heater may cause reaction causing odor. If this is the case, try using alternate rod material.

Kinetico Water Softener Noises

If the unit makes squealing noise during regeneration, the control disc is not flat or sealing properly against the ceramic disc. To fix this, you may need to replace control disc, balance piston spring and balance piston o-ring.

If the unit makes gurgling, hissing, or bubbling sound, a small amount of noise during startup and refill is normal. Otherwise, there may be several possible causes for the noises:

  • There could be trapped air in piping following installation. In this case, you need to make sure you release all trapped air from piping.
  • There is air being drawn into piping. If so, you need to identify source and fix air leak.
  • Brine line and/or valve not air checking. Identify and replace faulty parts to fix this.

If there is groaning while water is being used, this is likely caused by high feed pressure. Reduce feed pressure to fix this.

Kinetico Water Filter Regenerates More Frequently Than Necessary

The unit is demand operated and therefore adjusts to your water usage. If you do not think that your water usage has increased due to extra house guests, more laundry or for any other reason, check for dripping taps or running toilets, all of which can contribute to more frequent regenerations. If water usage is not the cause, the following are other possible reasons:

  1. Incorrect meter disc installed. Make sure you install correct meter disc.
  2. Meter disc is not moving and regeneration start pawl in gap.
  3. Check the meter drive pawl and replace it if it is bad.
  4. Meter drive spring is not seated properly. Reinstall meter drive spring.
  5. Check if no back pawl is missing or broken. If so, install new no back pawl.
  6. Check for damaged teeth on meter disc. If damaged, replace the meter disc.
  7. Check for damaged gear in gear stack. Re-gear Level 1.
  8. The control valve is stuck in “Open” position (causes continuous regeneration) due to debris under seal or stray pressure signal. Remove debris if present or replace level 1 (stray pressure signal due to poor seal under ceramic disc).
  9. Incorrect meter gearing. Rework the meter gearing.

Kinetico Water Softener Leaking Problems

  1. If there are leaks between the levels;
  2. The main valve screws are not tightened. Depressurize the unit and tighten the main valve screws.
  3. One of the level seals is pinched, broken, or missing. Replace the faulty or missing seal.
  4. There is a crack in seal area near screw hole. Replace faulty level.
  5. Actuator O-ring is missing or leaking causing water to drip down and appear to be leaking between the levels. Replace the actuator o-ring.
  • If there are leaks at cap area
  • One of the screws is stripped. Replace Level 1.
  • Actuator O-ring is damaged or missing. Replace and lubricate O-ring.
  • Cracked cap. Replace cap.
  • Feed water pressure too high
  • Pressure regulator is not installed. Install pressure regulator.
  • Pressure regulator is broken. Replace pressure regulator.
  • Leaking at tubing connections
  • Tubing connections over or under tightened. Tighten tubing connections correctly; make a fresh cut 1” off the tubing.

Check this too: Aquasana Water Filter Troubleshooting

Why is there High Salt Usage in My Kinetico Water Softener?

Generally, an average water user will use about 4 kg (one block) per month. This will vary depending on the amount of water actually used. If you are a high water user you will use more than 4 kg salt. If you find your salt usage has suddenly increased and you are not using more water, check the following:

High water level

Remove one of the salt blocks from the water softener and check if the level of water is higher than one inch above the salt platform on which the salt sits. A higher water level will cause the unit to use more salt.

If the mains water supply has been turned off, water from your property may have back-filled into the water softener’s cabinet. Restore the water supply to the property, when the water softener next regenerates it will bring the level back to normal.

In the future if the mains is turned off, by-pass the water softener to prevent filling up.


Your Kinetico water softener meters all the water through your home, therefore check for signs of overflowing loft tanks or toilets. If you are certain that nothing is leaking or using excess water, contact your Kinetico dealer to investigate the cause of the increase in salt usage.

Outside tap

If your softener is supplying your outside tap, using it will cause the water softener to use more salt than needed. So remember t by-pass your water softener before using your outside tap.

Kinetico Water Softener Stuck in Cycle

If the unit is stuck in regeneration/backwash cycle, it could be due to the following reasons:

  1. The control flow path is plugged at the regeneration nozzle or regeneration flow control. To fix this, clean the regeneration flow path.
  2. Regeneration drive pawl and/or spring are weak or broken. If so, replace the regeneration drive pawl.
  3. Damaged tooth on control disc. If so, replace the control disc.
  4. Eccentric pin is worn or damaged. If so, replace eccentric pin (snap fit).
  5. On backwashing filters, low pressure may cause plugged bed. To fix this, increase pressure and/or backwashing frequency. You may need to re-bed.
  6. The regeneration gears are not moving. If this is the case, free obstruction or impediment to gearing.

If your Kinetico unit is stuck in service cycle, below are the possible causes and what you need to do to fix them:

  1. The regeneration start pawl is broken or missing. If this is the case, replace or install regeneration start pawl.
  2. The unit will not regenerate automatically. To fix this, refer to the previous instructions on troubleshooting the same.

Check this too: Kenmore water softener how to and troubleshooting guide