What Type of Salt is Used in Water Softeners?
If you’ve purchased a water softener, you might be wondering what type of salt is best for it. Salt can be purchased in a number of different forms, from pellets to crystals. The type you choose depends on several factors, including the amount of water you need to soften, the size of your household, and the type of water you have.
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Buying salt in bulk is one way to save money, but you should always be aware that the quality of the salt you purchase can vary. For example, evaporated salt is virtually 100% pure, but it’s also the most expensive form.
Sodium chloride is the most commonly used compound in water softening systems. Potassium chloride is a cheaper alternative, but it’s not as efficient. You can opt for a less expensive salt, such as evaporated salt pellets, if you want to avoid the sodium content.
Whether you’re choosing a pellet or a crystal, you need to make sure it’s pure. Pure salt will remove impurities from your water and increase its ability to soften the water. Some brands will include additional additives and cleaners, but they’re typically more expensive.
The most common salts for water softeners are evaporated salt pellets and extra coarse solar salt. Evaporated salt is the most purified and effective form of salt. It is made by evaporating salt water in outdoor ponds. This process exposes the brine solution to wind and sunlight.
Evaporated salt pellets are a much safer choice for water softeners. Unlike crystals, pellets are larger, which prevents bridging. However, the pellets can lose structure when they’re not being regenerated often. When the salt level in your softener goes down, it can cause the pellets to become mushy.
Rock salt is the cheapest form of salt for water softeners. It’s extracted from underground salt concentrations, which can be contaminated with calcium sulfite. Calcium sulfite can clog the softener, and can result in costly maintenance issues.
Extra coarse solar salt is a good choice for most types of water softeners, but can cause a brown ring to form in the brine tank. This can be hard to remove, especially if you use a more coarse grade.
Table salt is usually sold in crystal or block form. Although these are more common, they’re not as effective as pellets or evaporated salt. They can clump, become mushy, and even break down. Also, it’s more likely to create a salt bridge, which can affect the functioning of your water softener.
In addition to ensuring that the salt you use is of a high purity, you should check to see if the manufacturer you’re buying it from offers customer discounts and deals. Oftentimes, manufacturers will offer money-off coupons to customers who purchase certain brands of softening salt.
While a few brands are more expensive than others, it’s worth it to invest in a quality product. Buying a high-quality product will save you from having to replace it after a while.