When to Add Salt to Water Softener: 3 Important Things to Pay Attention In

If you are concerned about the question: “When to add salt to water softener so that your water will always be of excellent quality?”, worry no more! You are at the right blog post.

Read on to learn the best time to do this, and the purpose of adding salt to your water. Moreover, I will share secrets on how to detect low salt levels and the correct amount you need to append when maintaining. Let’s get started!

When to Add Salt to Water Softener: The Ideal Time Discussed

The purpose of adding salt to the water softener is to facilitate the regeneration process. The following are some guidelines that might assist you to determine the perfect timing:

When to Add Salt to Water
  • General regeneration timeframe: Regeneration is cleaning the resin beads that carry out the main water-softening process. During its work, this resin can be overfilled with debris and minerals. Therefore, we add salt to regenerate it. Most softeners need to add salt after every 4-8 weeks for regeneration.
  • The salt level is low: Water softener may not work effectively if the salt layer goes below the fill line or one-quarter of the brine tank. If salt levels are below the recommended levels, add more salt. However, the tank shouldn’t be filled to the mouth to prevent the formation salt bridge.
  • Adding salt based on Type: Lastly, keep in mind the salt’s quality and kind. Generally, solar or evaporated salt pellets are used. Solar salt needs salt every 1-2 weeks as there are impurities in it. The evaporated salt needs to regenerate for around 4-6 weeks, as it is more soluble as it doesn’t contain much impurities.

For further insights, check out this helpful video.

Now that you have learned about when to add salt to water softeners, let’s shed some light on 5 easy ways to detect low salt levels.

Detecting Low Salt Levels in Your Water Softener (Brine Tank)

Sometimes, your softeners may run out of salt, and you may only realize it once it leads to problems due to hard water. The following signs can help you know when your water softener salt is running out and you can act quickly: 

hard water problems
  • Abnormal water flavor: If your water has a metallic or harsh taste, it’s more likely that the water softener is not effectively removing the minerals present in it.
  • Softener effectiveness issues: If you notice that neither the soap nor the detergent are working effectively as they should. This means that the water softener is not doing its job properly of removing the soap scum and scale created by hard water.
  • Mineral deposition on pots: When you frequently notice a film on your dishes, it indicates that your water softener might be failing at its job of removing hard water deposits.
  • Staining of clothes: Coarse texture on garments indicates the inability of water softener to function properly. As a result, clothes can be unpleasant to the touch and may even have stains on them.
  • Damage to skin and hair: If you experience dry or inflamed hair and skin, it signals that there are still impurities present in your water. This also means that your water softener is not doing its job very efficiently.

How to Check Current Levels to Add Salt?

As explained earlier, a low salt level can cause various problems. Therefore, regular checking is necessary. The following methods can help you on how to check levels to add salt to the brine tank:

1. Manually Checking

Manually checking involves inspecting the brine tank by yourself. If the level is below one quarter or the fill line(brine tanks have a mark that indicates a low level), it’s time to refill your tank. 

2. Digitally Checking

Some devices can help you check when to add salt without physically opening the brine tank. The following tools will be helpful in this regard:

  • Franklin Automatic Salt Monitoring Device;
  • The Kinex Salt Monitoring system;
  • EZsalt Sensor 2.0.

You can simply put it in the brine tank of water softener and connect to it with your smartphone. Moreover, many water softener comes with built-in salt level detectors. They can connect wirelessly to your phone via an app, and you can easily check the salt level.

General timing of salt regeneration

Adding How Much Salt Made Simple: Here’s How

Adding water softener salt is not rocket science. If you are sure that the salt level is low in the tank, you can refill it easily.

  • First, determine the salt that goes well with your softener, then throw the salt pellets. You can use a scoop or a funnel to pour the salt.
  • Make sure that the salt is spread evenly in the tank, and that no mount is in the center.
  • Also, don’t fill the brine tank to the mouth; leave some space between the salt and the top of the tank.

Is It Recommended To Fill the Brine Tank to the Top?

Ideally, you should never fill the softener with salt to the top. This can cause overflow and lead to salt bridging in the brine tank and ultimately results in the malfunctioning of the tank. 

  • You should follow the manufacturer’s guide while filling the tank.
  • Usually, the salt level depends on the hardness of the water and are filled quarter of the tank. 

Explaining The Right Amount Of Salt

As I explained in the above section, the amount generally depends on the water hardness and the type of softener. 

A water softener of medium capacity that is to serve a family of 4 members needs 1-1.5 bags of 40 pounds of salt every month. Also, ensure that this salt level should not exceed one-quarter of the brine tank. 

Adding water softener salt

Advantages of Regular Maintenance Inspections

Performing regular maintenance checks is a top-notch strategy to guarantee optimal performance of your water softener. I would recommend you inspect your brine tanks on a monthly basis.

The following are benefits that you can get if you go for periodic checks:

  • Prevention of salt bridges or mush: You can keep your water softeners from problems like the formation of the salt bridge (caking of the salt), salt mush (blocking the salt at the bottom), or valve clog.
  • Increase the life of the water softener: The proper checks will ensure that your water softener keeps on working without the worries of changing the unit.
  • Save your money: You can save money on salt and water by making sure your softener uses the right amount of salt and water for renewal.
  • Prevent damage to supplies: Keep your pipes and unit from getting damaged by hard water and decrease the need for cleaning supplies and detergents.
  • Get additional benefits: You can enjoy the benefits of soft water, such as smooth skin and hair, soft clothes, and clean food. 
check the salt tank

Exploring 4 Types Of Water Softener Salt

When topping your water softener with salt, you should always choose the right type in quantity. There are various types of water softener salt available, some of them are given below:

4 Types Of Water Softener Salt
  • Solar Salt: It is produced by evaporating seawater or brine from salt lakes. It is 85% pure and may be found as crystals or pellets. While solar salt is the most affordable option, it may not be compatible with high-efficiency softeners or extremely hard water due to its sluggish dissolution rate.
  • Rock Salt: This type of salt is mined from deep inside the earth. Rock salt comes as chunky grains or chunks. In contrast to solar salt, it dissolves more quickly in water. It could work best with extremely hard water or a water-softening system with a high-efficiency rating. 
  • Common Salt: Common salt or sodium hydroxide is the salt we put in our foods. It is one of the most frequently used salts for our softeners. It also comes in alternate shapes like potassium chloride pellets or sodium chloride, which are more expensive and less efficient. 
  • Evaporated Salt: It is made by boiling pure brine solution until all the water is gone. The pellets or cubes are 99.9 percent pure. However, evaporated salt is the most costly and difficult to come by. Moreover, it dissolves quickly and has the fewest impurities. 

To find the right type and how much salt is needed for your unit, consult the manual or any expert. Moreover, ensure that the salt you have chosen is certified by the Water Quality Association or NSF International, guaranteeing its authenticity. 

For further insights, check out this helpful video.

Frequently Asked Questions 

What happens if salt is too low in a water softener?

If the salt is too low in the softener, it may lead to improper regeneration of resin beads, and the quality of water will be low. As a result, you may experience metallic flavor in water or mineral deposits on dishware.

Does a water softener use salt all the time?

No, a water softener doesn’t use salt all the time. It only needs the salt or brine solution during the regeneration period when the resin which removes the hard water needs to be cleaned. 

How long should a bag of salt last in a water softener?

A bag of salt should last as per the softener’s capacity and the water’s hardness. For example, if a typical softener uses 10 pounds of salts per regeneration per week, it would consume 40 pounds of bag once a month.

Should there be water in my salt tank?

There should be water in your salt tank, but it should never fill it. Logically, the water in your brine tank should not exceed 6 – 10 inches from the bottom or 3 to 6 gallons. 


Summing up, water softeners remove the hardness of water and the minerals. In order to function properly these softeners use salts as an integral component. The normal salt level should not exceed one-quarter of the unit.

Depending upon the type, you need to add the salt in 1-2 weeks if using rock salt. On the other hand, evaporated salt should be regenerated less frequently usually after 4-6 weeks. Moreover, you must check the brine tank every month and refill it if the salt levels are below the fill line.

The proper maintenance check results in the increased life span of the softener and other water-using equipment. If you do not add salt in time, you will experience an abnormal water taste, mineral buildup on your pots, and dry skin and hair.

Amy Grant

Amy Grant has a degree in journalism and has worked as a freelance writer and author for many years. She is passionate about clean drinking water and has written many articles on this subject. Amy enjoys hiking and water skiing with her husband and is grateful to have the opportunity to help others learn more about the importance of clean drinking water. Follow Amy on Twitter.

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