What You Will Get Here
- What Exactly Does Water Softener Salt Do
- How Much Salt Do You Need?
- Things to Consider When Buying Water Softener Salt
- Our Top 7 Product List
- Editor’s Choice: Morton Salt 1501
- Top Softening Pellets: Morton Clean And Protect II
- Best Salt for Rust Removal: Morton Salt F124700000g
- Top Natural Salt: Morton U26624S
- Great for Bathing: Cargill Salt 7304 Water Softener Salt
- Top KCL Softening Salt: Diamond 40lb K-Life
- Water Softener Salt for Dishwashers: 4.4 LB Softener Salt by Impresa Products
- Other Tested Products
- How Do You Add Salt To A Water Softener?
- Brine Tank Maintenance Tips
What Exactly Does Water Softener Salt Do
Let us consider the water cycle. As rain falls, it is soft water inherently. The water then percolates through layers of gypsum and limestone, picking up appreciable quantities of magnesium and calcium carbonates, bicarbonates and sulfates. Hard water is preferred for drinking because of its high mineral content and flavor. Soft water tastes salty. So what is all this hoopla about soft water? Hard water is what comes out of your taps. Boiled, it assumes a different avatar. It evolves into a tiresome devil. The clothes come out of the wash looking pretty dingy, a bath is a sloppy affair, soaps don’t lather, your hair feels terrible your bathtub starts building up a thin film of hard scum, and more trouble.
For household use, the water has, has to be soft. Simply put, the sodium has to be retained and all other traces of magnesium and calcium removed. And that is the realm of Water Softener Salts.
A water softener is loaded with resin beads. The calcium and magnesium ions percolate through the resin beads. An exchange of ions takes place by a process called reverse osmosis wherein the magnesium and calcium are neutralized leaving the sodium back. The resin beads are negatively charged. They hold the potassium or sodium ions depending on which you have chosen. They draw in the positively charged calcium and magnesium ions exchanging them for potassium or sodium ions. The water is thus rendered soft.
How Much Salt Do You Need?
In America, the incidence of hard water is as high as 90%. That’s way high. The first step is to get a qualified analyst to take water samples and arrive at what type of hardness you are up against.
Okay, the water is hard, very hard according to the analysis. What next? You can go and dunk a whole lot of rock salt from Trader Joe’s or whatever into your tank. Is that what you were thinking? Well, think again. This by itself, is going to clog up the system as the impurities will settle. What you need is a salt that charges the water and does not leave any traces. We intend clearing up one problem, not creating another.
To recharge the beads, the average household in the US requires about 40 pounds monthly. There are a lot of manufacturers for these salts which we will get to, but they are essential in keeping the plant going efficiently without fouling.
Things to Consider When Buying Water Softener Salt
You need to consider a number of points carefully before opting for the best water softener salt for your home. Of course, professional help is always around but why not have an informed opinion on the subject. Some pointers:
Salt Crystals Vs Salt Pellets
A high concentration of dissolved minerals makes water hard. These can be eliminated by using
salt in either crystal or pellet form.
Salt crystals are basically seawater or mined sodium chloride, exposed to the sun and by solar evaporation reduced to 99% moisture-free crystals. These coarse crystals are suitable for households with less than average water consumption.
In households where the water consumption is high, salt crystals result in a phenomenon called ‘bridging’. Bridging occurs when a layer or crust of hardened or consolidated salt forms at the surface of a brine tank leaving a void space below where the salt has been depleted. The obvious result is that water passes through the tank without being softened.
Water softener pellets bypass the bridging effect. Additionally, they are infused with citric acid, a cleansing agent that protects against plaque build-up in piping and keeps your appliances protected.
- Evaporated Salt Pellets- Evaporated salt is of 100% purity, the purest form of all sodium-based water softener pellets. It is derived by reducing raw crystals to pure sodium chloride using special heaters to get rid of moisture completely. Of a high purity, it is suitable for numerous uses. When used in water softener pellets it is highly effective.
- Solar Salt Pellets- Tapping seawater in salt pans and allowing the water to evaporate naturally results in the formation of solar salts. The derived crystals are about 99.5% pure, highly soluble and when used as a water softener is usually as pellets.
- Rock salt- This forms over centuries as underground salt deposits and is mined. Because of its other considerable mineral content, there is a lot of debate on its suitability though manufacturers are of the contrary opinion and main it is perfectly suitable as a water softener. It is fairly low-priced.
- Block salt- Very pure salt is utilized to make block salt and it is widely used in the food industry and as a water softening agent for human consumption as also for the food industry. It has many various uses such as food salt, deicing, swimming pools, bath salts, etc.
1. Purpose- Potassium Chloride has of late become the choice and gaining ground as a water softener. This stems from the niggling reservations people harbor about sodium chloride. The answer is in not choosing sodium, but potassium instead. My plumber was not wrong after all when he grinned and said, ‘potash’. Potassium based crystals are particularly relevant for those who have health issues, and secondly, sodium is not environmentally friendly. Potassium has many positive health benefits and is an essential nutrient, not only for human beings but also a vital role for the growth of plants. A potassium imbalance in your body can cause a life-threatening situation. However, potassium pellets come at a slightly higher price. We, after adequate research, think it to be a good choice.
2. Environment- Sodium infiltrates and primarily causes dehydration, going on to foliage damage. Osmotic stress deprives roots of nourishment, leading to stunted growth and improper fruiting. Salt disrupts a plant’s natural ability. Nutrient absorption is hindered, it causes the damage to seed germination and flowering capacity cycles. This paves the path for salt-tolerant species like cattails to take over. Many manifestations of aquatic life are threatened by water sources that have chloride which is a toxin. They are a serious worry for fish, macroinvertebrates; in general, non-human life species. Sensitive aquatic forms of life are severely affected by salinity stress which in turn takes its toll on aquatic diversity.
3. Health and Purity- People have reservations about sodium chloride. Low sodium in drinking water is desirable for hypertensive people. Secondly, excess sodium leads to kidney stone formation. The US Environmental Protection Agency has capped sodium content at 20mg sodium per liter. Water hardness has a direct correlation.
Of special concern here is your pet health too. Deicing salt combined with rainwater, runoff from melting snow, road splash and so on, find their way into vegetation and groundwater. The poor chump will lick the water and then his paws which are contaminated from water contact, with disastrous consequences.
4. Performance- Needless to say, a good water softener system should have quality constituents. A complete assay by a qualified expert will determine what kind of plant will be ideal. A metered-style valve is a vital part. That way, your system will be in peak performance conditions, wastages are minimized. Top-quality components will be a bit more expensive but over time will pay for themselves. The metered style valve gives you the freedom to adjust levels of hardness, depending on how many people are at your home. When set optimally, the system will self-adjust cleaning times automatically making it super-efficient as also cost-effective.
5. Softener maintenance-
- Check salt levels. This is of paramount importance as otherwise, with depleted levels of salt, you will start gathering hard water. The recommendations are to check every four to six months. But the frequency of inspection depends on the type of equipment, the hardness strength and so on.
- Salt Bridges Formation. With regular use of the softener, a hardened strata called a salt bridge may be noticeable. This is usually the result of high temperatures and humidity as well as the use of sub-standard salt. These salt bridges bar the resins from regeneration. The solution is to inspect and clean the tank at regular intervals to prevent the formation of salt bridges. Exercise caution when cleaning the brine tank as improper methods may damage the softener walls.
- Brine Tank Cleaning. In modern softener systems, a brine tank rarely needs to be cleaned. However, to work around any problems, it is a safe practice to clean the tank regularly. The approved interval for cleaning is every 6 months or yearly.
- Inspect Water Purifier Routinely. Checking the level of the salt level alone does not guarantee an efficient system. Close-up softener inspection should be done every 3-4 months.
- Pick The Correct Salt. Many folks are wont to use any kind of cheap salt available for their water softener. This is a cardinal mistake. To achieve choice results, the right type of salt must be used either in the form of cubes or crystals. Your plant instruction manual will tell you which to use.
- Resin Bed Flushing. Resin beads derive their charge regularly from the salt. Using a water softener cleaner, you should once every while flush the bed of resin. A water softener because of iron present, as well as organic compounds, and heavy metals gets compromised in functioning effectively. Flushing a resin bed will ensure continued smooth performance.