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Can I Drain My Water Softener Outside: Everything To Know

If you live in an area where hard water is common, it can be quite dangerous to consume that water. In this case, it’s best to get a water softener to make the water soft and safe. Draining the softener can be a bit confusing, though, as it’s not always clearly stated where to drain it.

This is why many people ask, can I drain my water softener outside? Sadly, no, you can’t. Draining a water softener outside can harm the local treatment systems for wastewater and the ecosystem. Because of this, it’s highly recommended to use a dedicated draining outlet for it.

Draining it wrong can often lead to problems, and you might even need to replace it completely. So today, we’ll go over all the water softeners, how you can drain them, where to drain them, and much more. Let’s get straight into it.

Can I Drain My Water Softener Outside?

No, you can’t drain your water softener outside. This is because the water softener residuals can cause a lot of issues outside, often, and can even damage the area you drained it in.

Can I Drain My Water Softener Outside

So you should make sure to always use a dedicated drain for draining it. Even the drain in your bathroom works, but it’s recommended to have a half-inch polypropylene pipe for draining. This will make sure that you don’t damage the pipes that you’re using for draining the water softener.

Along with that, it’s actually illegal to drain your water softener outside in a lot of areas. But even if it’s not illegal in your area, you should still refrain from doing it always and just use any floor drain in your house. Thus, it’s not the best option to drain, but it’s still better than draining outside.

How to Drain a Water Softener Properly?

If you already have a water softener, you’ll obviously need to drain it every now and then. But if you don’t know how to drain it properly, here’s a step-by-step guide —

Step 1. Press The Regeneration Button

If you have a newer model of a water softener, you might have a “regenerate cycle” button. This will automatically drain the water for you, and you’ll need to press the button again to stop it.

The process might vary slightly for different models, but generally, you’ll always have a button. If you don’t, you can, of course, manually drain it following the steps below.

Step 2. Get The Water Out Manually

  1. First, you’ll have to take a bucket and manually scoop the water out.
  2. Then you can dump the bucket in the drain, which is far easier than taking the whole softener.

Step 3. Use A Vacuum To Get Small Areas Of Water

You can’t manually scoop out every little nook and cranny of water, so you should use a vacuum that can pull the water out instead. A “shop-vac” vacuum is specifically designed to get water out, so you should consider using that if a store nearby is selling it.

Step 4. Dump The Already Softened Water

Now, you can dump the already softened water, or just store it somewhere. To do this, you’ll need to take the cylinder out in your softener, which has the float, and you should disconnect the fill tube.

Now you can access the brine tank and store the softener water somewhere or just dump it.

How to Keep Your Softener Working Properly?

Even if you drain your softener often and maintain it, you’ll still need to fill it with salt for the softening process every now and then. And if you don’t have at least a quarter of the brine tank full of salt, the softening process won’t work properly.

So make sure you follow up this process.

  1. Fill it up with salt until it’s around 5 inches below the top.
  2. It should always be above the water level.
  3. You should check the brine tank at least once a month.
  4. And see if it has enough salt and make sure there’s no salt buildup either.
  5. If that happens, manually push the salt down.


Here are a few other relevant questions that we get asked a lot. It can help clear up further confusion —

Q: How often should I drain my water softener?

It depends greatly on where you live, and how hard the water is. But as a rule of thumb, it’s recommended to drain the water softener every 3 days.

Q: Can you drain a water softener in your septic system?

No, you can’t. Some laws in your area might actually make it illegal to drain it into your septic system, but even if it is legal, you shouldn’t do it. You might damage the septic system, and it’s overall not optimal.

Q: Do you need to clean your water softener often?

No, you generally won’t have to manually clean your water softener even after a few years if it has no problems. But it’s still recommended to clean them every 5 to 10 years.

If you have a really old softener, though, you should clean it every year. This is more common if you live in an old house.


Wondering the question, can I drain my water softener outside? You can’t, as it’s hazardous. Some areas have it illegal to drain it outside too, but even if it’s not illegal, you shouldn’t do it. You can use any type of drain instead, such as the floor drain in your bathroom.

The optimal pipe for draining a water softener is a polypropylene pipe which is 0.5 inches in length. You should generally drain the water every 3 days, or more often, depending on where you live throughout that optimal pipe.

Likewise, make sure to put enough salt in the brine tank too. The height of the salt should be around 5 inches below the top. Check it every month to see if there are any problems With all that said, good luck, and cheers!

Further Read:

Why Is My Pressure Tank Not Filling Up With Water?

Can I Add A Tankless Water Heater To Existing System?

Replaced Pressure Switch And Still No Water: Find Problem & Solution