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Thread: Kenmore water softener not working properly (no soft water) (no suction)

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member Jelloalien's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2014

    Default Kenmore water softener not working properly (no soft water) (no suction)

    Hello all, great informative forum!

    So, we moved into a new home in July that had a kenmore water softener waiting for us.
    I noted It had salt right to the top when we moved in.
    Shortly after I noticed salt going down but then just stopped altogether....what I discovered was a salt bridge with lots of mushy salt on the bottom. I cleaned it all up, added fresh salt, and the tank started flooding with every regen. So I cleaned the Venturi, but thought I broke something else but unsure what....

    So I did the kenmore troubleshooter and thought I again fixed it (cleaned the Venturi, etc) thought I had everything a-ok again...but I don't believe it's been working properly ever now.


    Essentially once I added the new salt I noticed the salt never was going down and I don't feel like our water is soft as it should be, or at all.

    I investigated tonight again by doing a manual regen. Cleaned the Venturi again for good measure. I noted a few things.

    When it's in the brine mode, am I wrong in thinking that this is when it should be sucking water out of the tank? I loosened the bring line connection at the Venturi and water is streaming out of the Venturi rather then suction back in (ie filling the tank in brine). Is this correct? (FYI I'm not an expert and learning as I go).

    I also am confused at the float assembly. The t-rod seems to get stuck in the "up" position. When I have it in brine it appears to be sucking but I don't think it actually is. If I push the t-rod down however it gets noisier and starts filing the tank. For some reason I believe I have a faulty float/t-rod. Any ideas on that?

    Anyway, I'm frustrated and out of ideas (other than buying a new one cause I'm not paying a service call).

    Any help or advice would be most appreciated towards me getting this think back in action. Any questions, please ask

    Last edited by Jelloalien; 01-08-2014 at 08:49 PM.

  2. #2
    DIY Senior Member mialynette2003's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Ocala, Florida


    When it is in the brine cycle it should be pulling water from the brine tank. When you push down on the t-rod (float assembly) and you hear water rushing in, it is filling the brne tank. If you look at where the motor is mounted there are 2 silver headed screws and 1 black headed screw. Remove the 2 silvier screws and loosen the black one. Swing the motor place away to expose the cam. Turn the cam slightly clockwise. Check to see if the unit is now drawing. If it does start drawing, replace the rotor and seal kit.

  3. #3
    DIY Junior Member Noyzee1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2013


    My Kenmore is almost DRY between regenerations, except for about 2-3" on the very bottom of the brine tank. Keep that in mind...
    Other than the venturi being worn or dirty, the valve body o-rings are worn, or your drain line is blocked. I think that's about it.
    Get yourself a water test kit. Quantify the hardness; don't rely on the water "feeling soft". A cheap pool test kit from Ace Hardware is what I initially used- it's about $7 or $8. When the softener is in brine rinse or "brining", don't be afraid to taste the water coming out of the drain to see if it's salty (spit it out, of course!). Do this 10 minutes or so after the brining cycle starts. Read your Sears manual to get the softener in "service mode" first, and increment it to the brining cycle. Since you already removed the brine line from the tank when suction should have been occurring, you already verified that there's no suction. You also can try putting the whole valve & float assembly in a bucket of water to see if the level goes down while brining, but it's probably not happening.
    My guess is that something's dirty or the o-rings in the valve body are bad. Like already mentioned, don't worry too much about the float assembly because it's only a fail safe unit in these models.
    The nice thing about this softener is that a TON of information is available online and parts are plentiful.
    The bad thing is that the Kenmore/Ecowater models seem to be less reliable than the Flecks, Clacks, and Autotrols.
    Your mileage will vary according to your mechanical skills and willingness to tinker more frequently.

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