If you live in an area with hard water, you probably have a water softener. One of the common questions all of us with softeners have is what type of salt should we use.
Salt pellets work very well in water softeners because they are uniform in size and shape, dissolve easily, and are readily available. They are more expensive than other types of salt and the binder used to make them foul your brine tank.
In this article, we will explore the ins and outs of salt pellets for water softeners, including how they work, the pros and cons, and how to choose the best salt pellets for your needs.
Read my comprehensive article on water softener salt.
Table of Contents
How Salt Pellets Work in Water Softeners
Before we dive into the details of salt pellets, let’s take a look at how water softeners work in general. Water softeners use a process called ion exchange to remove the minerals that cause hard water. The water flows through a resin bed that contains tiny beads that are coated with sodium ions. The hard water minerals, such as calcium and magnesium, are attracted to the resin beads and stick to them, while the sodium ions are released into the water.
Over time, the resin beads become saturated with minerals and need to be regenerated. This is where salt pellets come in. When the resin bed needs to be regenerated, the water softener flushes it with a brine solution made from salt pellets. The sodium ions in the salt pellets replace the hard water minerals on the resin beads, which are then washed away with the brine solution. The resin bed is now ready to start the ion exchange process all over again.
How to Use Salt Pellets in Your Water Softener
Using salt pellets in your water softener is easy, but there are a few things you should keep in mind to get the best results. Here are some tips for using salt pellets in your water softener:
- Choose the right type of salt pellets for your water softener. There are three main types of salt pellets: solar salt, evaporated salt, and rock salt. Solar salt is made by evaporating seawater, while evaporated salt is made by mining salt deposits and evaporating the brine. Rock salt is mined directly from underground salt deposits. Each type of salt pellet has its own pros and cons, which we will discuss in the next section.
- Check the salt level in your water softener regularly. Most water softeners have a salt level indicator that will tell you when it’s time to add more salt pellets. You should aim to keep the salt level at least half full to ensure the resin bed can regenerate properly.
- Add salt pellets to your water softener as needed. When you need to add more salt pellets, simply pour them into the brine tank. You should never let the brine tank run completely empty, as this can damage your water softener.
Comparing Salt Pellets to Other Types of Salt for Water Softeners
As mentioned earlier, there are three main types of salt pellets: solar salt, evaporated salt, and rock salt. Let’s take a closer look at each type and their pros and cons:
Solar salt is the most popular type of salt pellet for water softeners. It is made by evaporating seawater in large open ponds, which allows the salt crystals to form naturally. Solar salt is typically the purest form of salt available, with a purity level of 99.6%. It also dissolves quickly and doesn’t leave as much residue as other types of salt pellets. The main drawback of solar salt is that it can be more expensive than other types of salt pellets.
Check out my article on solar for water softeners.
Evaporated salt is made by mining salt deposits and evaporating the brine in a vacuum. This process creates pure, high-quality salt pellets with a purity level of 99.99%. Evaporated salt is also less likely to contain impurities or additives, making it a good choice for people with health concerns. However, evaporated salt pellets can be more expensive than other types of salt, and they can leave more residue in your brine tank than solar salt.
Rock salt is the least expensive type of salt pellet for water softeners, and it is readily available at most hardware stores. It is mined directly from underground salt deposits, which means it may contain impurities and additives. Rock salt also takes longer to dissolve than other types of salt pellets and can leave more residue in your brine tank. If you’re on a tight budget, rock salt may be a good option, but keep in mind that it may not be as effective as other types of salt pellets.
Block salt is a compressed type of salt that comes in small cubes and can be used in compact water softeners. It’s more expensive than other salt pellets but is convenient for tight spaces. However, it may contain impurities that can cause more residue in the brine tank. Check with the manufacturer to ensure it’s compatible with your model.
Potassium chloride offers an eco-friendly and health-conscious alternative for water softeners, matching the effectiveness of conventional salt while efficiently regenerating ion exchange resin. It is compatible with most water softening systems and provides environmental and health benefits, despite being slightly more expensive than sodium chloride.
The Pros and Cons of Using Salt Pellets in Water Softeners
Like any product, there are pros and cons to using salt pellets in your water softener. Here are some of the most important things to consider.
|Salt pellets are effective at removing hard water minerals.||Salt pellets can be expensive, especially high-quality types.|
|Salt pellets are readily available.||Salt pellets can leave residue in your brine tank and pipes, which can be difficult to clean.|
|Salt pellets are easy to use.||Salt pellets can contribute to high levels of sodium in your drinking water.|
Can I Use Salt Pellets in My Water Softener?
Yes, you can use salt pellets in your water softener, as long as they are compatible with your specific model. Most water softeners are designed to work with a variety of salt pellets, but some may have specific requirements. Be sure to check your owner’s manual or contact the manufacturer before using any type of salt pellets in your water softener.
What is the Best Salt for Water Softeners?
The best type of salt for water softeners depends on your specific needs and budget. If you’re looking for a high-quality, pure salt pellet, evaporated salt may be your best option. If you’re on a tight budget, rock salt may be a good choice, but keep in mind that it may not be as effective as other types of salt pellets. Solar salt is a popular choice due to its high purity level and fast-dissolving properties, but it can be more expensive than other types of salt pellets.
Brands of Salt Pellets for Water Softeners
There are many brands of salt pellets available for water softeners, each with its own pros and cons. Here are some of the most popular brands:
- Morton Salt
- Diamond Crystal Salt
- Cargill Salt
- Windsor Salt
- North American Salt Company
FAQs About Using Salt Pellets in Water Softeners
How often do I need to add salt pellets to my water softener?
This depends on how much water you use and the size of your water softener. Most experts recommend adding salt pellets every 4-6 weeks, but you should check your salt level regularly and add more as needed.
Can I use table salt or sea salt in my water softener?
No, you should only use salt pellets that are specifically designed for water softeners. Table salt and sea salt may contain additives or impurities that can damage your water softener.
How do I know if my salt pellets are working properly?
If your water softener is working properly, you should notice softer water and less mineral buildup in your appliances and plumbing fixtures. You may also notice less soap scum and a reduction in spots on your dishes and glassware.
Key Takeaways About Salt Pellets for Water Softeners
|Salt pellets are an effective solution for removing hard water minerals from your water supply.|
|The three main types of salt pellets for water softeners are solar salt, evaporated salt, and rock salt.|
|Choose the right type of salt and check your salt level regularly for best results.|
|Popular brands of salt pellets for water softeners include Morton Salt, Diamond Crystal Salt, and Cargill Salt.|
|Keep in mind that salt pellets can be expensive and may contribute to high levels of sodium in your drinking water.|
If you’re struggling with hard water, a water softener can be a great investment. Salt pellets are a proven and effective way to regenerate your ion exchange resin.
The three main types of salt pellets are solar salt, evaporated salt, and rock salt, each with their own pros and cons. To get the best results, choose the right type of salt and check your salt level regularly. Some of the most popular brands of salt pellets for water softeners include Morton Salt, Diamond Crystal Salt, and Cargill Salt. However, it’s important to keep in mind that salt pellets can be expensive and may contribute to high levels of sodium in your drinking water.