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  • Take The SOFTENER FINDER Quiz

  • September 19, 2022 2 min read

    A dead display on your water softener can have a few different causes. If the display on your softener isn't showing anything, have a look at the following potential causes and fixes:

    Is the Softener Plugged In?

    Ya, I'm sorry you had to read that. But hold on! Make sure it's plugged in and make sure that the outlet hasn't failed or is turned off (some outlets in utility rooms have wall switches). Try plugging another appliance into the outlet to make sure the outlet is working.

    Water Softener A/C Adapter Failure

    You'll need a multimeter to check this one. A/C adapters can fail and when they do, your water softener display is going to go dark. Most water softeners have a port where the A/C adapter plugs into the water softener controller:

    water softener ac adapter

    Unplug the port that connects to the water softener. Then have a look at the label on adapter and see what voltage it's supposed to output - it will show you. Turn your multimeter to the voltage setting. Put one probe into the hole of the adapter plug and the other on the outside metal sheathing. Make sure the reading you get is the same as what the a/c adapter is supposed to output. If it's not, there's your issue!

    Water Softener Circuit Board Failure

    If the A/C adapter is fine, the next thing to have a look at is the water softener circuit board. For some water softeners the circuit board is really easy to access. This is true for the vast majority of Fleck and Clack and Autotrol softeners but there are others where this is true too. There are, however, some softeners where the circuit board is buried inside the control valve and virtually impossible to access without breaking the plastic cover (think Fleck 5600). If you can access the circuit board, you want to have a look for any obvious signs of damage. Look for any area of the board that looks "cooked" and/or have a look for any signs of water damage. If you can find either of these, the board is likely the cause of your water softener display failure.

    Cabinet Style Water Softeners

    If you have a dead display on your softener and your softener is a cabinet style system, stop trying to figure out what's happened right now - the circuit board is fried.

    cabinet water softener

    Cabinet water softeners (see image above) combine the brine tank and the media tank into one. The electronics are housed in the upper section of the housing and are exposed to brine tank vapour that contains salt. This makes short work of the electronics and a failed circuit board is probably the most common technical issue with these system. If you have a cabinet softener and the display is dead, the circuit board is dead and you'll have to replace it. Unfortunately, many of these cabinet style systems don't have a serviceable board.