When it’s time to add salt to your water softener, you may be surprised by all of the choices you have. Which is the best water softener salt to get? We’re going to look at the options and go over what you need to know.
Water Advisor Recommendations:
- For typical homes, the product what we recommend is Morton Pure and Natural Water Softening Crystals.
- If your water is high in iron we would get the Morton Salt Morton Clean & Protect/Rust Defense Water Softener Pellets
- If someone in your household is on reduced sodium intake then you should get Morton Potassium Chloride Pellets.
Best Water Softener Salt Buying Guide
We’ll get into the various products available here. There are two main types of softener pellets or crystals to choose from.
Sodium Chloride (Salt)
Sodium chloride is the substance that we generally refer to as salt. This is what most people will use in their water softener. (Important: If you need a product meant for people on low sodium intake then skip to the Potassium Chloride section below.)
There are different forms that salt can be found in, which are crystals, pellets, or blocks. We won’t be discussing rock or block salt since it is generally not ideal. Rock salt can cause problems in terms of maintenance due to high calcium sulfate content. Block salt should only be used if you’re having a tech set it up for you in your brine tank; the water level will need to be adjusted, otherwise you’re inviting problems.
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Buy High Quality Salt and Avoid Equipment Trouble
One thing that’s very important about buying water softener salt is to spend a little more and get a higher quality product. You can sometimes find less expensive salt at the local home improvement store, but the quality can be lower than what manufacturers recommend.
Low quality salt means more impurities. Impurities lead to buildup, and this can cause your equipment to malfunction. In addition, when you have more impurities and water-insoluble matter coming from low-quality salt, you will also find yourself having to clean your brine tank a lot more often,
Evaporated Salt Pellets
Evaporated salt pellets are the most expensive pellets you can buy for your system. The high price is due to the fact that evaporated salt pellets are the most pure at 99.9 %. Like we mentioned above, higher purity means less buildup in your tank. If you have very hard water then this is the type of salt that will give you the best results.
Solar Salt Pellets or Crystals
Solar salt pellets or crystals are made by evaporating sea water. This form of salt is more common than the evaporated and slightly less pure at 99.6% in most cases.
Do You Have High Iron Water?
Many homes have water that’s high in iron. A product like Morton Salt Morton Clean & Protect/Rust Defense Water Softener Pellets is designed to prevent those unsightly rust stains in your kitchen and bathroom. (Having dealt with this in the past, I wish I’d known there was a product that would have alleviated the problem. I was new to hard water at the time.)
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Potassium chloride pellets are what you need to use if someone in your household is on restricted sodium intake. Though it can be more expensive than buying regular salt pellets, health matters always justify the extra expense. Though we don’t normally refer to potassium chloride by the name salt, it is technically a type of salt.
Morton Potassium Chloride Pellets – 40 lb. bag
Morton’s potassium chloride comes out above the rest due to some of the other brands having issues with caking. This product is 99% sodium-free. Potassium chloride pellets can be harder to find, and in fact even shopping online presents few purchase options.
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What is Hard Water?
Hard water is water that is high in minerals. Some areas are known for having hard water and therefore most homes are equipped with water softening systems to alleviate some of the issues that can arise.
Some of the most common mineral ions found in hard water include calcium and manganese. Iron, aluminum, and manganese are present in some areas as well.
Hard water can be inconvenient and problematic in your home. Soap does not produce a lather in hard water, making it more difficult (and somewhat unpleasant) to use for bathing and cleaning. Soap scum is prevalent with hard water as the water’s ions counteract the soap’s surfactant capability.
Minerals in the water cause scaly buildup in plumbing and fixtures, which can over time lead to serious problems such as reduced efficiency and worst of all, clogs. Corrosion can also occur in addition to the mineral buildup.
Hard water also has a mineral-rich taste to it, which some people find more objectionable than others.
Water softeners are recommended in order to prevent the issues that can wreak havoc on your plumbing, fixtures, and appliances.
When Do You Need to Add Salt?
It’s recommended that you check your water softener at least once per month. Make sure the salt level is at least three to four inches above the water level. Break up any masses of salt that have formed around the perimeter of the tank before you add new salt.
If bridging has occurred (one large mass of salt has formed), break the salt up into small chunks. Pouring hot water over these salt masses will help you with this process. If you’re getting a lot of buildup then you will need to check the tank and break it down more frequently than once per month.
If you run your system completely out of salt, once you replenish the salt it can still take a couple of days before the water in your home is softer again. This should be a good incentive to make sure you keep up on it. Mark it on the calendar, whether it’s a paper one or your smart device!
How Much Salt Will My Water Softener Use?
If you’re trying to figure out how much salt your system will use and how often you will need to purchase a 40-pound bag, the answer is, it depends. First, the degree of water hardness will be a factor in how much salt you’ll need.
Secondly, your family size and habits will also factor in. But to give you an idea, there’s an industry rule of thumb that says that a family of four with water hardness rated at “average” will go through one 40-pound bag of salt per month.
How Does a Water Softener Work?
In a nutshell, a water softener works by exchanging the sodium ions in the salt for the hard water ions. This quick video from Diamond Crystal explains it nicely.
It’s important to use quality salt with a high purity rating in your water softener. By doing so you can avoid the headaches that come with excessive buildup in your brine tank. Lower purity salt means you need to check the tank and break up salt masses a lot more frequently. This is a situation where spending a little bit more can give you better results and less hassles.