How many salts Do Water Softeners Add to Water?
A lot of people are concerned about the amount of salt that water softeners add to their water. This is especially true for those who follow a low-sodium diet or have high blood pressure.
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The short answer is yes, a water softener will add salt to your water supply, but it doesn’t have to be a big deal. In fact, according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, an average 250ml glass of softened water will only contribute a small amount of sodium to your daily intake.
Depending on the hardness of your water and your salt usage, you’ll need to monitor how much salt you use. For example, a typical Kinetico water softener that has a capacity of 10 grains per gallon will use between 3 and 6 bags of salt each year.
This is because the salt in a softener is used for two purposes: to make the brine and to regenerate the resin. Using too much salt will cause a buildup of mineral deposits in the resin and increase the cost of your system. Using too little salt will also reduce the effectiveness of your water softener and may cause it to malfunction.
Most water softeners come with a brine tank that is drum-shaped and larger than the twin resin tanks. This tank is where you will find the salt that you use to regenerate the resin (Figure 1).
You’ll want to make sure the brine tank has enough salt in it, so it can effectively remove the hard minerals from your water. The best way to check this is by removing the lid of the brine tank and checking the level of salt.
The amount of salt you use to soften your water should be based on the level of hardness in your water and the number of residents in your home. The average family of four with 7-10 grains of hardness in their water will typically use about 10 lbs of salt each week. This amount will be about one 40-lb bag of salt each month.
A high-quality granular evaporated salt is the best type of salt to use in your water softener. This type of salt dissolves more easily in water, making it more effective at removing the hard minerals from your water.
When purchasing your salt, be sure to check the purity level on the package. The higher the purity, the better quality it will be. Often, lower-quality salts contain impurities that can cause your softener to malfunction or even damage the system.
Regeneration and Backwashing
Most water softeners will regenerate on a pre-determined schedule, such as every 20 gallons of water that have been softened. This is useful if you have a fluctuating water use pattern. Alternatively, some models have electrical and mechanical sensors that automatically regenerate after a certain amount of gallons have been softened.
During regeneration, the resin in your water softener will swap out ions with sodium ions. These ions replace the calcium and magnesium that caused the hardness in your water in the first place. This process can take up to a few days. Once your water softener has finished regenerating, it will stop releasing ions and you can start drinking the softened water. The amount of sodium that is added to the water will vary by softener brand and model, but it should not be a significant addition.