Salt is an important part of keeping your water softener functioning properly. When the salt levels get too low, the water softener can’t do its job and you’ll start to see problems with your water quality.
If your salt wasn’t stored properly or was exposed to moisture, it can form clumps that are difficult to break up. Sometimes, the salt in your brine tank will form a crust on the top or a block of salt at the bottom. When this happens, you’re probably wondering is there some way you can crush the salt and use it?
Water softener salt can be crushed and broken up easily by using a mallet, a blender, or by dissolving it in water. You can avoid the need to break up your salt by buying quality products, storing it properly, and keeping enough salt in your brine tank.
In this blog post, we’ll show you how to crush your water softener salt so that it’s easy to pour into the softener. We also explain how to break up salt bridges and clumps that form in your brine tank. This will help you keep your water softener running smoothly and ensure that you have clean, safe drinking water!
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The Best Methods to Crush Softener Salt
Normally you won’t have to crush the salt used in your water softener, but if you ever find yourself in that situation, it’s helpful to know how to do it quickly and safely. Here are some tips on how to crush up the salt for your water softener:
1. Stay safe while crushing the salt
Before we can begin, it is important that you take the necessary safety precautions while handling salt for a water softener. Be cautious when using any of the methods in this article to avoid injuring yourself or damaging your softener.
Here are some pointers to keep in mind:
- To protect your eyes from flying debris, always wear safety glasses or goggles. If you get anything in your eyes, contact your doctor immediately.
- Do not let the salt enter your mouth for any reason. If you do unintentionally ingest the salt, get medical help right away.
- To be on the safe side, wear gloves while you are handling the salt. Salt is a skin irritant.
2. Break up salt with a hammer or heavy pipe
If you want to pulverize any material, the best way to do so is by applying force with a mallet or heavy object.
Before you start using this method, it’s important to think about safety. By exerting force and hammering the pellets, it is probable that debris will be scattered everywhere. The pellets should be placed in a disposable bag, like a ZipLock, so the crushed particles don’t go flying all over.
You can use a mallet or any other heavy tool you have to break the pellets into smaller pieces.
Always do this on a flat surface that can withstand the hammering and banging. Don’t use a brittle surface such as natural stone or glass because it might break and create sharp shards.
3. Grind the salt
Did you know that you can grind salt into a powder using everyday appliances such as a blender or coffee grinder? However, you may find that the salt dulls the grinding blades and it might not be as effective in the long run.
If you do use a blender or coffee grinder, make sure to clean it thoroughly afterwards. We recommend using a different appliance for grinding coffee or spices to avoid cross contamination.
If you’re worried about spending too much money, your best bet is to use an old blender or grinder that’s almost at the end of its lifespan. This way, you won’t have to replace a kitchen appliance later on.
In either case, this method does work rather effectively to help create a uniform size that you can then add to your water softener.
4. Create a salt solution
Finally, one of the best ways to deal with clumps of salt is to dissolve it in clean water.
The process of doing this is simpler than you might think. You just need to place the salt pellets in a clean tank of water and leave them for an hour or two until they are dissolved. Stirring will speed up the process.
Once the pellets have completely dissolved, you can then add the solution to your brine tank. This is a great method to use if you want to avoid having to handle the salt directly.
Once the salt is thoroughly mixed into the water, you can then transfer the entire solution into your water softener. Be sure not to overfill the tank to avoid using too much salt in the regeneration cycle.
The Purpose of Salt in a Water Softener
The salt in a water softener is essentially the star of the show on the machine – the salt allows for something known as ion exchange. This means that the minerals in the water that make it hard, calcium and magnesium, are removed from the resin and replaced with sodium from the salt. This process regenerates the resin and restores its capacity to continue removing hardness from your water.
The quality of salt you use is very important. The most common type used in water softeners is pellets. You can also use granular salt, but this type can form a bridge in the brine tank.
Read my article on water softener salt.
When Will I Need to Crush Salt for a Water Softener?
You will generally not need to break apart salt pellets when you get them for your water softener. However, there are some situations where this may become necessary.
1. A salt bridge forms in brine tank
If you add too much salt to your brine tank, a condition known as salt bridging can take place. A salt bridge is when the salt pellets clump together and form a hard crust on top of the water.
When this happens, you don’t have enough salt dissolved in the brine and the ion exchange resin doesn’t get fully regenerated. This can lead to partial treatment and hard water getting into your home’s plumbing system.
If you’ve encountered this problem, here’s a helpful video for you:
You can also find good information in my article – Standing Water in Your Water Softener Salt Tank? 12 Solutions
2. Your salt forms clumps from moisture
Water softener salt comes in 50-pound bags. If you don’t use a full bag of salt, then you’ll have an opened bag laying around. Humidity and moisture can cause the salt to form clumps inside the bag.
These clumps can eventually become hard and difficult to break apart. When this happens, you’ll need to break up the blocks of salt so it can be used.
The best way to avoid this is to store your salt in a cool, dry place. We recommend using an airtight container to keep the moisture out.
In summary, there are a few different ways you can go about crushing salt pellets for use in your water softener. You can break it up with a mallet, a bat, or a piece of metal pipe. Grinding it in a blender or coffee grinder works, but you’ll need a dedicated unit to avoid getting salt in your spices or coffee. An easy way to deal with unruly salt is to simply dissolve it in water.
And, of course, always remember to properly handle and store your salt to avoid any issues in the future.