Water Softener Salt Guide – Everything You Need To Know

A lot of people have a water softening system installed in their homes. When you have a water softening system, you have to keep topping the salt in the brine tank.

However, you may have wondered what this water softener salt is or what the salt does in your softening system. 

Water Softener Salt Guide - Everything You Need To Know

In this article, we have put together the ultimate water softener salt guide. You will learn everything you need to know about salt in your water softener system. 

What Is The Salt Used In A Water Softener?

Some people suffer from hard water, which is water that has a build-up of minerals. This can cause negative effects on your appliances and can cause dry skin or hair when used for bathing.

Therefore, households install water softening systems to help combat the hard water in their homes. There are various models of these systems around, yet they all do the same things. 

All water softening systems use a brine tank and solution. This solution helps to keep the resin beads in the tank working. The resin beads remove the minerals in the water that cause hard water.

The brine solution used in all water softening systems is a mixture of salt and water. Occasionally you must top up this solution to keep your system working effectively.

The best salt to use in your brine tank will vary depending on the model of your system and the manufacturer’s requirements. 

How Does The Salt Work In The System?

The resin tank is where the hardness ions, like calcium and magnesium, are removed from your natural water and it becomes softened.

This happens when the hardness ions pass by the sodium ions and cling to the resin beads, removing them from the water. This is how hard water becomes softened. 

As this process happens, the resin beads will eventually become saturated with hardness ions. This is why it is important to keep topping the tank up with salt.

Otherwise, the beads will stop working and the system will become ineffective, leaving your water hard instead of soft. 

The brine tank is a, important component of the water softening system. During the regeneration process, salt ions are pumped through the resin beads.

This desaturates the hardness that has built up in the resin beads. To keep the regeneration process happening regularly, maintain enough salt in the brine tank. 

How Much Salt Do You Need To Use?

The manual that comes with your water softening system will advise you on how much salt to add to your system.

However, the amount of salt you add, and how often you will need to add it, depends on your household’s water usage. 

For example, a typical household with a family of 4 people will use around 300 gallons of water daily. However, how much salt you need depends on how hard your water is and the requirements of your water system.

Ideally, you should check the salt levels of your water softening system at least monthly. Then refill the brine tank when necessary, to keep it working properly. 

Different Types Of Salt You Can Use

There are multiple types of salt that you can use in your system. However, the two most common salts are sodium chloride (table salt) and potassium chloride.

Potassium chloride is more expensive to use and is seen as less effective than table salt. With table salt, it is recommended to use block or tablet forms. 

Generally, tablets are sold in small pellets in sacks. They can be used in the majority of water softening systems. Also, you can purchase block salt, which is slightly more expensive than tablets, but they last a lot longer. 

When choosing your salt, always follow your manufacturer’s advice. 

Can This Extra Salt Be Harmful?

Naturally, you want to be careful about how much salt is in your diet. However, small amounts of salt added to your system clean the resin beads of hardness and very little ends up in the softened water.

For those who need to be careful about how much salt they consume, consider the following:

  • Avoid processed foods.
  • Install a separate cold water tap, which isn’t connected to the water softening system.
  • Install a system that uses a minimal amount of salt. 

Is This Salt Safe For Pets?

Is This Salt Safe For Pets

As long as you follow the manufacturer’s advice, then this salt is safe when used in a water softening system. Don’t use this salt as an alternative to cooking salt. It shouldn’t be cooked or eaten.

Some species of fish react badly to softened water. Therefore, it is best to seek advice from a professional, about your fish’s needs before giving them softened water. 

Salt for a water system should be stored out of reach of children and pets, and only used in a water system. 

Can You Use It In A Dishwasher?

Dishwashers that use softened water will make your dishes cleaner and sparkle more. Some dishwashers will naturally soften the water, which asks for you to use dishwasher salt.

Thus, you could use softener salt in your dishwasher, but you don’t need to, as your system will have already softened the water. 

Other Uses For Softening Salt

Water softening salt is used to make softer water. Never use it for cooking purposes. However, this salt can be used to melt snow or ice, kill weeds, and clean metals. Moreover, it can be used as a slug repellant, too. 

Can The Salt Expire?

Store your salt in a dry place to make it last longer. If you notice a thick sludge or hard crust in your brine tank, then this could be a sign that your salt is bridging.

This is a salt barrier that will prevent the water and salt from mixing in the brine tank. 

Seek advice from an expert if you notice salt bridging and how to avoid it happening. 

Can You Recycle Water Softening Salt Bags?

Everyone is becoming more environmentally friendly, and as you use a lot of salt, you may have wondered whether the bags can be recycled.

Due to salt being very soluble in water, the packaging used has to keep the salt dry. This is to protect it, so it will last longer. 

As a result, the majority of the packaging that the salt comes in is not recyclable due to being made with different types of plastics that not all facilities can recycle at the moment. 

Final Thoughts

Salt is a really important element in your water softening system. You must keep the brine tank topped up with salt so that the system will continue to work effectively and soften your hard water.

If you have issues with your water softening system and the salt, then you should seek professional advice. 

We hope you have enjoyed this article and guide. Now you have a better understanding of the salt used in a water softening system and how it works.


Mandy Anderson
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