How to Add Salt to a Water Softener! The Importance of Adding Salt in Water Softener

Salt is vital to every water softener. Although its absence does not cause any harm, it is required for the device to perform its softening function effectively. 

Softener functions just the way cars do. Cars can only work as far as the fuel will allow. The same goes for  softeners, as they cannot soften your water without salt.

Our research revealed that most people face the challenge of how to add salt to water softener, and others don't even know how often to add salt to a water softener.

So, we have put together this article to ensure you get the best advice and guidance on water softener usage. You will also learn how to run your water softener effectively without risking hard water from flowing through your pipe.

How Do Water Softeners Work?

The water softener works by an ionic exchange of minerals such as calcium and magnesium in the water.

To eliminate these hard minerals from the water, the system has a resin tank containing plastic beads made from polystyrene. And a brine tank where the salt stays and water for cleaning the system every few days.

How Do Water Softeners Work

When hard water enters the system, it gets to the mineral tank where the plastic beads are. These plastic beads are negatively charged anions. The beads work on the calcium and magnesium in the water, which are cations (positively charged).

Then, they attract the magnesium and calcium ion and remove them from the water, while leaving behind the hard mineral. This happens as the water passes out through the mineral tank. Soft water then flows, which passes out to your faucet, showers, and wherever as needed in your home.

How Often Should Add Salt?

Water softeners work effectively with salt. Below are three phases that will help you discern when and when not to fill your salt pot.

How Often Should Add Salt?

Phase One-Full Salt Pot 

In this phase, the salt pot is always full. How often you should fill it depends on the frequency of usage. If you use lots of water in your home, your water softener will use more salt and vice versa. Most water softener pots contain 200 to 300 pounds of salt, so you don't have to add salt to the system. You may fill it two to three times a year.

Phase Two-Half Full Salt Pot

At this phase, the salt is being used, so it starts reducing over and over again. Most times, it gets so low that it starts submerging under the water. It is best to add some salt to top it up at this time. 

Phase Three-Empty Salt Pot

In phase three, the salt pot is almost empty. All you can find inside will be water. At this time, salt should be added immediately to rest assured of soft water production. Running out of salt for your softener means running out of soft water for your home.

How Much Salt Should I Have in My Brine Tank?

The amount of salt to put into your system must be sufficient for the water softening process to end effectively. We recommend that you keep your brine tank filled with salt to at least one-quarter of water softener salt every time. And it should not get below six inches underneath the tanks for maximum functioning.

How Much Salt Should I Have In My Brine Tank

Be sure the salt level of your water softener stays some inches above the water level. Before refilling new salt pellets into your brine tank, make sure you remove any encrusted salt that may be found sticking to the tank walls. Additionally, break off any large pieces of salt on it too.

In some cases, the salt forms a solid mass called bridging. If this happens, break up the salt block manually by pouring hot water on it; this makes it easier to break and extract.

How Much Salt Should My Water Softener Use?

How Much Salt Should My Water Softener Use

The amount of salt you should use on your water softener depends on your system's water usage and the size. The optimum salt needed for a residential system will amount to approximately 10 pounds of salt weekly, or 40 to 50 pounds monthly. Also, ensure to check the salt and water level of your softener, at least once every month.

How to Tell If You Need a Water Softener

A water softener helps to remove hardness from water. The concentration of water hardness minerals in water is rated in grains per gallon (gpg) or milligrams per liter (mg/L).

How To Tell If You Need A Water Softener

According to the Water Quality Association and NFC International, water is soft or hard according to the following prescription.

  • Soft water is lesser than one gpg or 17.1 mg/L
  • Slightly hard water ranges from 1.0 to 3.5 gpg or 17.1 to 60 mg/L
  • Moderately hard water ranges from 3.5 to 7.0 gpg or 60 to 120 mg/L
  • Hard water ranges from 7.0 to 10.5 gpg or 120 to 180 mg/L
  • Very hard water is greater than 10.5 gpg or 180 mg/L

We advise that you always monitor your brine tank's salt level at least once in a month. However, in more frequent usage, you may have to check and add salt to the tank more often.

What Happens If My Water Softener Runs Out of Salt?

What Happens If My Water Softener Runs Out Of Salt

When the resin bead in the water softener gets filled with hard minerals, it needs to be regenerated. So, water flows from the brine tank into the resin tank, which triggers a reverse ion exchange. Then, the bead gives up the old mineral ion, accepts a new ion, and drains the mineralized water from the tank.

But if there is no salt in your softener, the softener resin will remain saturated. And this brings the ion exchange to a halt and allows hard water minerals to gain access to your pipe and fixtures.

Water Softener Maintenance Checklist

For practical usage and functioning, here are some maintenance tips:

Always check your salt lever as it will help to prevent any hard water issues. As a rule of thumb, you are to check your salt level every four to six weeks. However, it may depend on factors like the level of hardness, equipment size, and some other factors.

Water Softener Maintenance Checklist

Inspect for the presence of salt bridge. Salt bridges may result from low-quality salt, humidity, or high temperature. This may deter the resin bead of the softener from regenerating. So, ensure to check and clean the brine tank frequently.

We advise you to clean the brine tank every six to twelve months. Before cleaning the brine tank, consult your user manual to know the container's best cleaning method.

Ensure to use the right kind of salt to get the best of your water softener. You can also check the manual to know the right one to use. The best salt for a water softener is those that come in Cubes and Crystal.

Flush and rinse the resin bed using a water softener cleaner. Flushing it once in a while will maintain the efficiency of the water softener as iron and heavy metals can affect the effectiveness of the softener.

How To Add Salt To Water Softener FAQs

There Is Always Water In My Brine Tank, Should There Be? If So, How Much?

Several gallons of water will usually be inside your brine tank. However, it's usually not more than twelve inches high. 

Why does hard water feel slimy on the skin?

Typically, calcium and magnesium are inherent in the minerals that cause water to be hard that make water hard usually contain. These two elements are known to hinder the effectiveness of soap and detergent in water in water. When calcium and magnesium are found in water, and one uses detergent, they form a scum that does not melt in water

However, you get can your way around this by adding extra soap to make the soap effective. However, in some cases, these two minerals make the clothes that have been washed look discolored. A permanent solution to this is to get a water softener that will be linked with the pipes that supply you water. The water softener will take out the magnesium and calcium and replace it with sodium, which does not hinder the effectiveness of soap and detergent. This will reduce the stress one has to go through when washing

Is putting my water in a water softener the guarantee that my water will be safe to drink?

No. It won’t. It is essential to ensure that the water you are going to put in the water softener is safe to drink before putting it in there. It is necessary to know the functions of the water softener. The water softener is meant to remove hardness from the water and not to purify it. This is why it could be disastrous to put water that is not safe to drink in a water softener

At what point do resin tanks need to be replaced?

Typically, if a water softener is well maintained and cared for, there will be no need to replace it. The lifespan of the resin tanks cannot be given a one size fits all time. However, to ensure that the resin tanks stand the test of time, ensure you pretreat your water.

What kind of salt should be used by a water softener?

One should ensure that the salt that is going to be put in the water softener is almost, if not clean. Also, ensure that when you put the salt into the tank, it is only half or a bit more. This is to ensure that you can monitor it when the water softener renews 

I am using a water softener, but I still get stains. What could be the issue?

If you are having this issue, then it could be that your water softener has run out of salt. This is sturdily advised against, as it would mean that you are still going to be getting hard water. Also, ensure that between the hours of 1 am-3 am, no one makes use of water. This is because this is the period when the water softener is going to renew itself must not be interrupted to stop the stains you are getting.

Watch How Much Salt Should be in Your Water Softener

Wrapping Up!

We are sure that you now have full knowledge of how to add salt to water softener, and other useful information to help you use your water softener to its fullest.

With a water softener, it is goodbye to hard water. The process is easy, but ensure to observe the instructions given by your softener manufacturer.

However, periodical checking and cleaning of the water softener will ensure safe you softener form issues and that it works effectively.

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