How Much Salt Are Water Softeners Made Of?
Water softeners are designed to remove the hard minerals in your water, such as calcium (Ca2+) and magnesium (Mg2+) ions. It works by replacing them with sodium ions.
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Salt is one of the most important components of a water softener system, and it’s crucial to understand how much salt you’ll need to use. The amount of salt you need will vary depending on the size of your family and how often your water softener regenerates.
How Salt Works
The water that enters your home passes through a series of resin beads, also called ion exchange beads. These polystyrene beads have a positive charge and are charged with sodium ions. As hard water flows over these beads, the calcium and magnesium ions are attracted to the sodium ions and then pushed out of the tank.
It’s a simple process, but it’s effective in reducing the number of hardness minerals that are present in your water. It makes it easier to lather soap and detergents, reduces scale buildup in your plumbing and appliances, and can even help improve the appearance of your hair and skin.
Sodium Doesn’t Add Too Much To Your Diet
As a general rule, if you have hard water in your area and your water softener is not running at full capacity, the salt that is added to the brine tank will be very low. In fact, each 1 mg/L of calcium carbonate water hardness removed only adds 0.46 mg/L of sodium.
This is far less than the amount of sodium that you would normally find in a glass of milk, and it’s a fraction of the recommended daily intake for most Americans.
The salt is used to regenerate the resin beads, which means they have to be cleaned and replenished periodically to continue removing the hard minerals in your water. Without salt, the resin beads will stop working and your water will become hard again.
If you have a large family and you use a lot of water, your salt needs will be higher than someone who lives alone. This is because your water will need to be regenerated more frequently than an average family’s, so your brine tank will need to be topped up more often as well.
What’s More, if your water is extremely hard, the amount of salt that is produced will be very high. This is because the resin beads will grab hold of the hard minerals in your water and release a significant amount of sodium into your water during the ion exchange process.
You may be wondering what happens to this salt once it’s gone. It goes back to the brine tank, where it will be regenerated again, and that cycle of regeneration is what softens your water.
It’s a good idea to check your brine tank for salt levels once per month, but if you don’t keep track of it then you could forget to refill it and you’ll need to pay to have your water softener replaced. The good news is that most modern water softeners are relatively inexpensive to buy and operate, and they have very little maintenance requirements.